Friday, April 13, 2007

Stop! Thief!!!

"Funny" thing happened on the way back from Cape Point today. Well, it wasn't so funny at the time... as a matter of fact, it was more than a bit terrifying and I nearly soiled myself!

I'd had a nice day driving along the coastline of Hout's Bay, through Chapman's Peak, and all the way down to Cape Point where the Atlantic and Indian oceans meet at the southernmost tip. Stopped several times for scenic shots and took a pretty leisurely pace. Cape Town is a nice enough city, but what REALLY sets it apart and earns it's title of one of the most beautiful cities on Earth are the magnificient views around the city. Did the cablecar ride up to Table Mountain yesterday which was splendid, and decided to hit Cape Point today.

Someone had told me Cape Point was nothing special and just a view of the ocean no different than others. Boy were they wrong! It was one of the most dramatic vistas I've seen to date.

After an exhausting afternoon of climbing all the stairs and pathways around the Point, I relaxed for a bit in the park restaurant and had a couple glasses of wine. Got a few nice snaps of other tourists relaxing.. finished my wine and began the drive back to Cape Town. I'd seen baboons along the roadside just walking along like any other local resident, and really wanted a nice shot of a baboon. But, everytime I saw one there was never anywhere to pull over. There were signs all around Cape Point warning that baboons were dangerous, etc. But, I'd not seen one in the park.

One the way out of the park there was a van stopped on the road and I noticed two baboons just lounging roadside. I waited my turn and pulled up to get MY shot. Only everytime I tried to get a shot, another rude tourist would pull up right beside me to take a snap themselves and always blocking the shot. I had my window down to shoot from the bucky since I didn't know if these fellas were really all that dangerous.

After the third rude tourist pulled up, I decided to get out and walk over to one of the baboons to get a closer shot and prevent any other tourist from blocking me. I snapped off a few while he/she (couldn't tell the gender) just sat there, picking his/her rear... looking around.. and seemingly not even noticing I was there.

THEN, it got up and started to walk across the road. I followed it in my camera's viewfinder... until I realized it was heading straight for the bucky. Surely it would just pass on into the bush. But no, it jumped right into the bucky!!! I panicked and ran over to the bucky where the baboon was rifling through papers and grabbed my camera bag. Oh no!!! My recently changed airline ticket and passport were in there along with most of my camera gear. Still, I don't know why I didn't just put the camera down and deal directly with the present threat, but I just kept snapping away. After the flash went off the baboon looked stunned for a moment and I reached into the cab to try and knock it away from my camera bag with my camera. BIG MISTAKE! When the beast hiss and opened it's mouth wide.. Jeezus-age-Christ! I had no idea their teeth were that long. It lunged at me with the camera bag in it's paw and I fell back into the side mirror to try to get out of it's reach and gleaming fangs. My back still hurts from hitting that side mirror, but no worries... it snapped right back on later and wasn't broken. ;-)

There was a van of tourists behind me all screaming and rolling up their windows. Gee thanks for the help people!

There was one guy passing in another bucky who jumped out and tried to help me wrangle my back away from the baboon. It almost made it... was halfway out of the window with my bag in it's paw when I snapped another shot. The flash stunned it again, and it dropped the bag and jumped up on the roof.

Still shaking.. I jumped back into the bucky and rolled up the window. About 30secs down the road as I realized what had just happened... and that this dumbass was still taking photos... I couldn't help but laugh hysterically outloud. Please excuse the poor quality of the baboon thief's photos.. I was shooting on manual and was took distracted to reset for a better exposure.. but you get the idea from the photos below. ;-)

I realized I've mostly been showing you detail shots, so I included a few scenics in this round. Hope you enjoy!


Blogger Tierra said...

Great story...and beautiful photos.

WinterpegMan aka Darryl

April 13, 2007 8:30 PM  
Blogger feitpingvin said...

Heh... don't mess with the baboons...

April 14, 2007 9:46 AM  
Blogger david said...

Just discovered your site; amazing photos and story! I can't wait to read more!

April 18, 2007 1:33 PM  

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