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Day 13: The Wine Country

and the wrong choice for lunch


You know how beautiful I thought the beach area was? Well there is another side of Cape Town - the side you've seen on the news - the side left over from apartheid. On the outskirts of Cape Town, on the way to the wine country, we passed by ten or fifteen shanty towns. These are communities that grew because the poor non-whites had to live somewhere, and it had to be cheap. So they built their little homes out of scrap metal and cardboard one right beside another, and they barely subsisted. These towns are still there. The government is trying to build public housing to replace the towns, but there is not much tax income coming in. The unemployment rate in the country is 25% and of those working, only a small percentage make enough to pay income taxes. Plus, since S. Africa is considered "the USA of Africa" (because they do have social programs) a lot of refugees pour in. Private enterprise loves Cape Town, as evidenced by the upscale malls, restaurants, and hotels. Meanwhile, education, healthcare and housing suffer.

Farther on down the road, the shanty towns give way to vineyards and wealth becomes apparent again. We stopped at a small college town called Stellenbosch and went through four historic homes that are furnished as they would have been in the 18th and 19th centuries. To be honest, if I've seen one antique living room, I've seen them all. I can make very quick work of museums and the like. I prefer art I can own. It was kind of interesting but I never have to do that again.

Onward, to lunch at a very charming restaurant which boasts a duck and cherry pie as its special. (It's like a pot pie and the cherries flavor the sauce.) So I ordered it. It was very rich and kind of good. (not great, OK the glass of wine was better). I couldn't eat it all, though a couple of the ladies at my table did. By the time we got back on the bus, I was feeling too full and a little unwell. Our next stop was one of the things I had been waiting for, wine tasting. This was a wine and cheese pairing of six different wines and cheeses. The winery was beautiful and the pairing was conducted by a very knowledgeable and fun woman. It would have been great, but I just didn't feel up to it. I drank most of each wine sample but nibbled only a tiny bit of each cheese. Minute by minute I was feeling less well.

Our final stop was the prison that actually released Mandela to freedom. Everyone thinks he was freed from Robben Island but he was sent to another facility first. Outside this facility is a huge statue of him with his jubilant fist up in the air. A very popular photo of him was the inspiration for the statue. (Yes, I got emotional seeing the statue)

I had already told Rosemary that I wasn't joining the group for dinner because I wanted to shop. Several of us felt the same way because the dinner reservation was reduced from 16 to 6. When our bus got near the lovely waterfront shopping area, a bunch of us got off and a few stayed on to go to the hotel (and then dinner). But I was continuing my decline and after I wandered around the shops for about 20 minutes, I decided that I needed to go home and go to bed - which I did. I was sick all night and I blame that duck. I'm fine now, but I guarantee I won't be ordering duck any time soon.

Posted by Follow Carol 08:19 Archived in South Africa

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The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.
Pablo Picasso

by Gobears85

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