07 December 2007

Summer Holidays!


Starting tomorrow Daryl and I will be on holiday. We'll be picking up a rental car in the city and driving around to the local sights that we haven't yet explored. We'll drive out to Cape Town's Waterfront area and the famous beaches on the Atlantic seaboard, and then on to Chapman's Peak Drive and down to Cape Point - where Adamastor looks out to Antarctica! On Monday we'll have to bid adieu to Muizenberg and the new friends we've made here. It's the wrong time to leave - everyone comes here during the holidays to enjoy the beaches, walks, water park, etc. But we will head, exploring the coastal towns, and ending our drive in Durban where we'll join a safari tour. After that it's Christmas week with my family at the resort town of Ballito.

It may not be easy to keep in touch while we're on the road. So, I want to wish everyone a great holiday season.

06 December 2007

Cape Town Rocks!

Hey Friends,

While you guys north of the equator are huddled around fires, us folks in the southern hemisphere are in bathing suits lying on beaches. Ne-nene-ne-ne!! In the mornings it’s hard to stay in bed later than 7:00 with the sun so high in the sky. It’s also hard to be disciplined about working with so many wonderful distractions. One of the most enjoyable things we did was to go into wine country on Saturday. The Cape boasts about being home to the oldest wine farms outside Europe. We drove into Stellenbosch and started the day with breakfast at a wine estate called Delheim. From the restaurant terrace we had the most jaw dropping views of dramatic mountain slopes, vineyards, and lush forests. After feasting on healthy but delicious fruit, yogurt, and muesli, we wandered over to Muratie Wine Estate. This place takes pride in the fact they’ve been making wine since the 1600’s and they try to preserve a rustic, old look. So, eg. their walls are covered with gigantic spider’s webs! Cute! Anyway, we basically hopped from one magnificent estate to the next, tasting, buying, enjoying the beauty. And then we had a late, late lunch at Hillcrest Berry Farm, which also had a spectacular setting and top notch cuisine. While relishing their amazing cheesecake smothered in berry sauce, we saw a gorgeous little sunbird with irridescent green feathers sticking its long beak into a flower right near us. What a beauty!

On Sunday we hiked up a mountain above Kalk Bay. We walked through two beautiful forests and came up to an area called the Amphitheatre where there are several caves. The mountain is covered with enormous boulders and lots of colorful vegetation – mainly ericas and proteas. But we also saw daisies, everlastings, and freesias. Yellowwood trees provided shade in many parts of the trail which was well defined and lovingly maintained. Views all along were breathtaking. At the top we could see both the Atlantic seaboard and False Bay. This peninsula, I learned, is Adamastor according to some legends. When Zeus went to battle with the Titans he kicked Adamastor from Mount Olympia and he landed here and turned into this great rock. Standing at the top we were on Adamastor’s spine and the row of peaks in front of us were his vertebrae!

We did more entertaining in the last week. The Dugmores came over to our place for dinner. They are such a lovely couple and conversation with them flows inexhaustibly. We also had David, Juliet, and Isaac over on another evening. David made tortillas from scratch for all of us. Took him about half an hour. He’s amazing. We’re so lucky to have met so many wonderful people and I’m sure these will be lasting friendships.

Oh, big news! A letter of mine got published in the Cape Times last Friday. I had written a response to an article by a UCT law professor in which he expressed his grief and bewilderment at the recent murder of his colleague, Mike Larkin, a highly respected UCT professor. The incident had made front page news in the papers underscoring the high prevalence of senseless violence in this country. In this case Prof Larkin had been walking down his neighborhood street with a briefcase of exam papers. Two men descended on him and demanded his briefcase (unaware of its contents- useless to them). He didn’t hand it to them and so they stabbed him to death. In my letter to the Times I described my opinion of the phenomenon of senseless violence. Basically, that the dehumanizing effects of apartheid can’t suddenly be expected to disappear, and that current society still harbors practices that only fuels this behavior. It came as a shock to me that my letter was published!

Daryl and I had a great day in the City Bowl yesterday. We wandered around the many markets where we bought an African style shirt and African sandals. We walked around the Malay Quarter and then we had a leisurely lunch at Bukhara, an excellent Indian restaurant. The city center is very interesting with many old buildings, mainly of Victorian architecture, and a large variety of cafes, restaurants, pubs. It’s a great way to see a cross section of locals.

Our Cape Town phase is about to come to an end. We had many wonderful experiences here and I’m so glad I got to experience ‘living’ in South Africa again, this time in a democracy.