Tuesday, March 17, 2009

South Africa Recap

Biggest natural surprise: Plethora of birds at Joburg airport hotel.

Biggest man made surprise: Discovering someone using an acetylene torch to cut a hole in the side of the ship next to our cabin - while we were at sea. (The ship has some ventilation issues.)

Least pleasant experience (Donald). Trying to put on a 7mm wet suit that was too small.

Least pleasant experience (Esther). Exercising on the ellipse machine while cruising in heavy seas (resulting in uniquely unpleasant motion sickness).

Best bird: Saddle-billed Stork. (Runner-up: African Penguins.)

Best mammals: Baby Hippos. (Runner-up: More Baby Hippos.)

Best reptiles: Nile Crocodiles.

Best site: Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden. It's stunning (and a great birding spot to boot).

Important warning: "Baboons are dangerous and attracted by food."

Most intuitive warning: "Keep your hands and feet inside the shark cage."

Least intuitive warning: "Don't hold the handrail." (The gondola to the top of Table Mountain in Cape Town rotates during the ascent and decline, so you can't hold the handrail; one wonders what it's for.)

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