South Africa #9: Her name was Lola (Meet the Parents II)

The beauty queen
So my parents went off on their great adventure out East in South Africa this week, seeing elephants, zebras, ostriches, scummy backpacker joints, and having an awesome time while non-retired, trying-to-get-a-job daughter worked back at Hermanus. It's OK, Nadine comes next week (!!!) and we're off to a 10 day adventure of hiking, scummy backpacker joints, and not getting trampled by elephants. My parents did stop in town on Friday and we went for a quick walk in Hermanus and... SAW A WHALE! (actually several, and a herd of dolphins!)

Lola and the April Fool's Witch
To kick off this weekend's adventures, Amore' and I went to ballroom dancing (shameless plug, Lani is the best: and the April Fool's day party. It was a costume party, so Amore' and I, like 10 year old girls, donned wigs and went a little nuts with our costumes. I was some kind of flapper hot mess named Lola with an American accent ("I do not have the body type for these dresses! Dodged a bullet not being born in the twenties"). Amore' was a strung out (hot mess) beauty queen (I count three bows, you?). We had SO much fun it's unreal... there's a lot to be said for dressing up in a costume and pretending to be someone else to boost your dancing-self-confidence, haha!

But like Cinderella, Amore' and I left the April Fools Ball at 9:30 to drive to Cape Town to meet my parents. My parents wanted the abbreviated hiking packed Cape Town adventure, so we kicked it off hiking Table Mountain (again for me...). Fortunately, this time we had cloud cover the whole way up, resulting in some amazing views and not dying of heat stroke.

Trail up Table Mountain
Yoga pose on Maclear's Beacon for Kristie! 
Unfortunately, we had serious cloud cover and wind at the top, so we scampered down the cable car pretty quickly. Lots to do :) We gathered Amore' and then headed to the Botanical gardens. Once again, I had done this with Helen & co. in January, but my parents, Amore', and I were able to take a bit more time this time around.

Canopy walk
I think my favorite plant was the 'dead meat smelling plant' (attracts flies to for consumption). Another highlight was my dad seeing how many foul smelling plants he could sniff and then convince the rest of us to enhance our olfactory experience with (answer: all). We had a great time, and Amore' adopted a few plants (her 'first borns' :D).

We relaxed and recovered the rest of the night before waking up early to head to Cape Point, which is a huge National Park near Cape Town, and also the location of the Cape of Good Hope.

Please Bite Me Penguin!!! 
On our way, we stopped at Boulder's Beach, the other penguin hot spot near Cape Town. There were SO many penguins... and African Nature Preserve standards are a little different than the US ones I'm accustomed to. For example, you can actually swim with the penguins at Boulder's Beach. Like you can get in the water, run like a crazy person at the penguins, grab a penguin, run back to the car, drive off quickly, and then you have a pet penguin. OK some of that was exaggeration, but you can actually get close enough to touch the penguins and you can jump into the water and swim with the little African penguins :)

To the Point
We also got to see penguin eggs, penguin nests, etc. The highlight was watching one penguin call it's mate over. It looked at us, didn't like what it saw, made a barking noise, and then it's mate came rapid waddling over immediately. I must say, I've made fun of people for being whipped, but this penguin had his/her mate on a pretty tight leash ;)

Cape Point itself is a lot of driving, but it is really neat. You walk out on these sheer cliffs, and it's terrifying yet simultaneously Lord of the Rings epic. We hiked up the light house, down to an immaculate beach, and out to the Cape of Good Hope before taking a long coastal drive back that makes Highway 1 in CA look like small change. We also stopped for a bit to check out some pretty legit surfers (wipeout, man!). However, one of the best pit stops were at some Sand Dunes still in the Cape Point park. We wanted to hike the dunes, but when we showed up in the parking lot, we realized their were baboons ALL OVER the dunes. Like, 50+ baboons running and playing in the dunes (the baby baboons were adorable). They apparently eat shell fish and love to roll in the dunes. My parents had heard some baboon horror stories out East ("our guide told us baboons can bite the jaw off a lion"), so we were less keen on running into the dunes with the baboons.

However, I did get out of the car to take a few pictures. Conversation went something like this:

Me: "Man, these are some big baboons, oh no I just missed that one running"
Dad: "Well, if you want a picture of a baboon you should just turn around"
[Lola turns around - two baboons running between the cars about 3 meters away]
Lola: !#)#$*)@(#*#!!!!!

Baboons run this parking lot, yo. 20 minutes Free Parking or you better give us a banana. 

One more courtesy penguin photo! 
After that, we headed back to the guest house my parents were staying at and said our good byes. It was sad, and I do miss having my family around. I've been really lucky in the last month to see my cousins and Uncle/Aunt in the last month and now two weeks with my parents. However, I am getting to the point where I am a bit home sick. I have 1 more month here and then it's back to the United States, so I'll make the most of it :) But right now, I need to recover from the cold my dad gave me... [sneeze]
Safe travels mom and dad! 

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