South Africa #2: What are these things?

   I swear to you all, I spend most of my time here working. I'm actually making solid progress on my project here, which is calculating and validating ionospheric number densities from high frequency radar data in Antarctica. But you're all going to read this blog and think I'm on some kind of 4 month holiday vacation... well, it's kind of true because I love my job and I love hiking, so I guess I'm always on a vacation :)

This week was the week of stalking tortoises, picnics, internet outages, hikes around town, beach walks, penguin colonies, and settling down to my new life here. I think this week's blog post is going to be mostly about animals..

Rock Dassie stare down
The Rock Dassies are a common sight on my walks in the morning along the coast. They're a cross between a marmot and a woodchuck. I have not determined yet if the Dassies are friendly or psychotic like marmots. Every time I see one, they stop and engage in a stare down... but they are kind of adorable... but then again, they also have this penetrating look that goes straight to the soul. My South African friends are not too keen on them, so we're going to go with that the Dassies are probably more on the cat spectrum than the dog one.

And then there was the penguin colony... Awesome Amore' planned a trip for Ella (summer student), her brother, and I to go see the penguins about 45 minutes from Hermanus. I had been to a penguin colony before in Chile, but we were on a boat and could 'see' the penguins. Here... we could smell the penguin poop and could practically touch them. I thought I was flying I was so happy.
He's trying to escape because he loves me and wants to be closer to me. Obviously.
I would have died of joy if a penguin bit me.

AH! SO cute!!!

Please bite me penguins!
Brad, you're looking a little desperate
Beach time!!!
Despite my pleading, Amore' assured me if I jumped the fence and ran to commune with the penguins, the police would take my VISA away and ban me from the country. I decided, against better logic, to concede to her wishes for a tranquil, non-illegal activity day. From the penguin colony, we did the typical SA thing, you know,  the beach and then go to a vineyard/beer garden. Sexy Brad made an appearance too, because he loves a party especially when said party involves wine.

The rest of my week was day hikes in the mountains and along the coast when the internet would go out which was frequently. It was kind of a mixed blessing... "Bummer no work... but... HIKING!" I think I'm finding a good balance here between work, play, and making sure I stay healthy (my vegetable intake has doubled!). I wish you all could be here with me :)

Just another day in Hermanus :) 

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