Monday, October 18, 2010

southern south africa, in a nutshell

it's lame, but here is a list of stuff i've been up to the past few weeks (if you are so inclined to be interested).  i need time to process the things i have done, the people i have seen, and the thoughts i have thought over the past three weeks, but in the meantime...

cape town
  • i still love this city
  • i saw the colours, mosques, and unique architecture of the bo-kaap for the first time this visit
  • a trip up table mountain in the cable car is certainly worth it (and maybe one day i will hike all the way up the mountain)
  • staying at the westin grand was grand.  so was the spa.  and the waterbeds where you get to wait for your toes to dry after a pedicure.
  • weddings and dress fittings and chaos, oh my!
  • i could watch the boulders beach penguins for hours
  • entering the main central train station from the back makes you think you are in africa.  exiting it from the front makes you think you are in europe.
  • a few roads to nowhere that were there when i visited 5 years ago and are still there.  just unfinished freeways in the centre of the city, no big deal.
  • a farm town anywhere is a farm town everywhere.
  • protea farms are neato.  proteas are also neato.  buy one next time you see one in the shops (or shoppies as the south africans might call them) and rest assured that it will last 3-4 weeks (which might offset the guilt for purchasing a flower that had to be transported from so far away).
  • might i suggest staying at the sugarbird manor if you visit stellenbosch?  their staff are wonderful and their cats are so cuddly.  and watching the guinea fowl run across the lawn will make you giggle every time, i swear.
  • wine tasting at bilton was accompanied by chocolate, delicious.  i kept thinking that it was missing a G though and it should've been biltong as we are in south africa.
  • lunch at asara was also yummy.  the fish and chips were, as my mom put it, the best she's EVER had.
  • views every way you look, stunning.
  • lunch at jordan.  springbok tartar.  amazing.
  • zipping through the hills in our rented hyundai atos, otherwise known as the lunchbox.
  • the friendliest americans and brits at the guesthouse.
  • a place for foodies and for anyone who can appreciate a good meal and a glass of wine.
  • evenings of wine (and sherry) drinking with our hosts who provided us with a history lesson of rural south africa, both good and bad.
  • dinner at dutch east.  perhaps the best fish i have ever had.  ever.
  • a continuation of south africa's wonderful service.
  • even the pubs serve gourmet food, including the scrumptious burger at elephant and barrel, which we shared along with some much-needed pints of beer after all that wine!
  • one of the best meals i have ever had at reuben's.  ever.  see a theme here?!  a little piece of trivia - reuben is taking over from gordon effing ramsay at the cape town one&only hotel's restaurant.  yes, he's that good.  and so were the staff at his restaurant.
  • a wine tasting with hilarious scots at solms-delta was followed by an incredibly informative social history tour with johan throughout the winery.  this place is a must-see if you are in the area, it is the site of a san living site hundreds of years ago and then of a homestead of european farmers.  and i want to bottle johan's intelligence and enthusiasm for nature, people, and learning and sell it, it was that encouraging and inspiring.
  • this is where i lived 5 years ago.
  • it hasn't changed much.  a few new shops and some roadworks, but otherwise the same.
  • surprising aunty joey, the woman i lived with, was something i will never forget.  and i am certain, neither will she.
  • as happens in small towns, the phone was soon ringing with people confirming that yes, i had shown up unexpectedly.
  • and she baked me melktert.  whipped it up.  just for me.  i also want to bottle this 60+ year old's energy, love, and spirit.  but i am not sure i would want to share it with anyone.  it is that special.
  • my own milk tart, just to reiterate.
  • a trip to struisbaai and l'agulhas - the most southern point in africa!  as they do not hesitate to advertise everywhere.
  • fynbos.  and the some more fynbos.
  • whales!  whales from the coast and whales from a boat.
  • the wind returns.  eesh.
  • final bits of shopping.  woolworths.  pick n pay.  other shoppies.
  • a random siting of a woman i used to work with in kenya.
  • lunch at burgundy.  another delectable steak, cooked to perfection.
  • cape dutch and more cape dutch houses.
  • calla lilies and more calla lilies growing like weeds.


riena said...

Now I really want to go there.

Sara said...

it all sounds wonderful!