The Victoria and Albert Waterfront is Cape Town's commercial showcase, with malls, restaurants and a lively promenade. Rotary makes it mark there, sponsoring a signpost that shows you exactly how far you are from most of the rest of the world.

Friday was a perfect day, mild temperatures, low humidity and a gentle sun. Today it's back to winter. Not bad, very San Francisco-like. Cool with cloud cover and rain expected later on.

We took the ferry to Robben Island today. It's an island about 13 kilometers from Cape Town, where the former apartheid regime kept its political prisoners. Former inmates talk about their experiences, and what it was like in one of the world's most notorious prisons.

Nelson Mandela spent 27 years in custody, the bulk of that time at Robben Island, where he and other resistance movement leaders spent their days quarrying limestone under very harsh conditions.

The leaders were kept in small cells, in a high security section of the prison. Sometimes sleeping on the cold floor for years at a time, very few privileges. Tuberculosis was a risk, eye sight damage from the constant limestone glare was common.

The prison was shut down with the end of the apartheid regime. Now it's a world heritage site, and a living memorial.

Arrived in Cape Town this morning after a 12 hour flight from Heathrow. Picked up a car, stopped at our hotel for a quick shower, then headed over to the Royal Cape Yacht Club for the Rotary Club of Signal Hill meeting.

Good fellowship and interesting conversations. Their scheduled speaker didn't show up, so I gave a quick overview of our project, and we talked about it some. One good piece of advice was to take a close look at the distribution logistics in Huambo when we get there. They've had experience with similar projects in South Africa and elsewhere. Told us one story about seed left rotting by the side of the road because no one had a truck. Some of it was dragged out on skids, but most of it was left behind.

We talked with PDG Peter Hugo, currently foundation chair for District 9350, and also a member of the Signal Hill club. He gave us some good background information about the district and the Luanda club. Had very good things to say, and offered to help out if he could.

Another excellent bit of advice, which we took, was to waste no time in taking the cable car ride up to the top of Table Mountain. Today is a rare, warm and clear winter day in Cape Town. The clouds that usually wrap Table Mountain this time of year were nowhere to be seen this afternoon.

Kristin Pires, Rotary Club of Tulare Sunrise, on Table Mountain

It was spectacular. 360-degrees of visibility, with perfect views of Cape Town itself, Point Cape, the Atlantic coast and the mountains ranging south and inland.

Steve Blum, RC Monterey Pacific, overlooking Cape Town from Table Mountain

Had a quick dinner at our hotel, and now two days of travel and a nine hour time change are kicking in. There's a 7:00 am Rotary Club meeting -- RC Capetown Waterfront -- tomorrow. Might or might not make it, depends on how the jet lag goes.

More pictures from Table Mountain, courtesy of Kristin Pires...

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