Saturday, March 19, 2011

It's a sign

We just returned from a fabu holiday in Cape Town, South Africa.  (Above, the sign at the lighthouse which was decomissioned soon after it was installed b/c it was too high and usually too fogged in to be useful.) There was something incredibly amusing about the Afrikaans language and we found a lot of signs that tickled our funny bones.  Besides all the unfamiliar place names (we stayed at a B&B off Katzenellenbogeng Weg in Nordhoek, for example.) the signs always had us laughing.  Here are a few:

 On the train

At the beaches (gorgeous, white-sand...), they fly different color flags depending on shark sightings. The area is famous for both surfing AND sharks, go figure.  Green means GO - spotting conditions are good and there are no shark sightings.  Black means that spotting conditions are poor.  Red means there are sharks in the area. White (accompanied by a deafening siren) means GET OUT OF THE WATER.  We opted for surfing with the black flag flying.

Finn took the position of penguin-checker for the week.  In Simon's Town the penguins have a few beaches which are protected during the breeding/nesting/molting season but most areas are open for people and penguins.  The people respect the 'stay on this side of the barrier' rules but the penguins are not, they are waddling around all over town.  The kids got their shoes pecked unexpectedly more than a few times.

The polite words for essential bodily functions are "poo" and "wee" but it still makes us giggle. (He said "POO!!!")

There is a sign at the Cape of Good Hope (the south-western most point of the continent -- NOT the most southern point) with English and Afrikaans.  There is a small parking lot at the beach here where the tour buses full of drunk people of all nationalities (but, we observed, one nationality per bus) doing the Cape Town tour (enjoying the amazing South African wines, hence the tipsiness) come to take photos.  They come in, wait politely in queues and have their photo taken at the sign and get back on the bus).  We opted to stay a while and do some hiking but it was funny to see all the buses of people come all that way for a 5 minute stop and a quick photo.   Been there, done that.  But we still can't say Kaap Die Goeie Hoop with a straight face.  (I think it reminds us of one of the kids' favorite books, "Martha Speaks" about a dog who eats alphabet soup)

This last sign is actually from Zambia -- it's from our smallest national park and is of course a list of what NOT to do, but it reads like a list of suggested activities:

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