What Did We Do?

Dennis and Jenny Hacker's Year in Africa

Cape Town for Festive

December 10, 2017 | Festive is what South African's call the Holiday season.

After returning from Zambia. Thanksgiving is approaching. They don’t celebrate that American holiday here. It’s just another day. We decided to do our own celebration. Inviting our friends, Hans and Zainab, to go to the Delaire Graff winery to celebrate with a late lunch. What a beautiful setting. The vista is arguably the most beautiful site I’ve ever seen.

We had our meal in the Indochine Restaurant. Several glasses of champagne helped us to celebrate Turkey-day. Jenny tried on a 10 carat yellow flawless diamond ring.

The cost of this meant that she didn’t get it to take home.

Volvo Ocean Race

There is a round-the-world boating race on-going. The Volvo Ocean Race is really an awesome athletic event. The yachts are passing directly in front of our flat.  The first to arrive is the Mapfre boat from Spain. This was about 3 in the afternoon on November 24th.

Second, was the Dongfeng boat. It arrived after sundown, 4 hours later. Very close for 7,000 nautical miles of racing.

Then the Brunel and the Vestas. We saw the Malfre and DongFeng come in but the other two came in during the middle of the night.

We walked to the docks to see the boats which were taken out of the water and cleaned and polished.

Here the boats are being cleaned and Table Mountain is in the background.

The other boats came in 4 days later. Now, the crews are resting and getting ready for the next leg to Melbourne starting from 10th of December.

It hardly seems possible that it is December 10th already. We walked to the Victoria and Albert mall today to do some shopping. Most of the roads were shut off. There is a rugby 7’s tournament yesterday and today at the stadium and there are at least 60,000 attending that. As we had to carry some stuff back, we decided to take Uber back. The driver had a hard time getting to us which I attributed to the rugby tournament. Not so! The next leg of the Volvo Ocean Race was starting. The Volvo boats were out in the bay sailing around most of the late morning as were hundreds of other boats. There were hundreds of people watching from the sea wall as well.

About 1:30, they started going in what I suspected was a course to start the next leg. Sure enough, all of a sudden, all 7 boats were going around a course and then…off they went! Really interesting.

Festive Season

It is so strange to have Christmas (Festive in Africa) when it is warm. Watching TV, we have noticed the difference. There is virtually no television ads pushing purchasing of Christmas merchandise. No car companies telling you to buy your loved one(s) a car for Christmas. It is such a cultural shock.

Amy’s Coming

Our friend, Amy, is arriving on the 16th of December until the 30th. We’re going on a trip to Victoria Falls and to the Sabi Sands area outside Krueger Park in South Africa. We couldn’t let her come to Africa and not go on safari. We hope she has a good time.

Gobsmacked!

Wow! There comes a time in life when people you know, have known, or have just met begin having serious problems. News has reached us of a friend from my veterinary school days dying of pancreatic cancer, friends who have dementia with Lewy bodies, metastatic melanoma, people with Parkinson’s disease, recurrent metastatic breast cancer, dementia, metastatic lung cancer or other problems. These just seem like body blows coming at us fast and furious in a boxing match. Another shocking bit of information received today. To some degree, it makes Jenny and me feel very lucky that our health problems are as minor as they are. Yes, atrial fibrillation isn’t trivial, but it can and is handled. Jenny needing a hip replacement isn’t trivial, but the surgery is being done daily around the world and is easily handled.

On the other hand, it can also lead to a mindset that is: what difference does it make. Eat, drink and make merry for tomorrow… I’m really bummed today. Wish it wasn’t so, but that’s the way it is.

After a 4 mile walk, I feel much better. I’M able to walk. Life will go on with me or without me. Everyone must die. It’s the living that is the key to life, not the dying. Tell those people who mean something to you that you love them. Enjoy life

‘And now, for something completely different’

Just a few days ago, the weather here was wonderful with a high about 68 F (20 C). Today, it’s 86 F (30 C)! No gradual warm-up, just turn on the blast furnace. Totally zapping! We’d thought of getting a portable air conditioner, but we’ll wait and see. It’s a good thing that the Volvo race started today and not yesterday. December 9th, we had 50 mph (80 kph)winds. It would have been dangerous, but I guess that’s what they’re used to.

My brother, Steve, asked me what was the most remarkable thing that’s happened to us in the 7 months we’ve been here. I told him a couple things, but I guess the trip that was the most remarkable, so far, was the Uganda trip. Physically, it was also the hardest trip. Having a mountain gorilla reach up and take my arm in it’s hand and then lean into me and hold my leg was beyond thrilling. It really made the fatigue of climbing the mountain ALMOST go away. Feeding a bush baby in Zanzibar was also thrilling, BUT my all time favorite was being in a cage with a Cheetah and rubbing her back while giving her subcutaneous fluids. Now that was awesome!

Well, I’m going to publish this and take a break from writing until Amy gets here on Saturday. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all of you!

FILED IN: Travel Notes, This and That

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