Cape Town with Rob D.

The 2inn1 Hotel sits at the base of Table Mountain next to the Premier’s house. It’s a quiet neighborhood with lush trees and shrubs lining the street. Not a bad place to wake up this morning.

Rob Davidovitz, of Beautiful Cape Town Tours, arrived promptly at 9 with maps and suggestions for our day together. We ended up deciding on a driving and walking tour of the city and an abbreviated peninsula tour. Rob was a great guide -quite candid about the recent history of apartheid in South Africa and how the city has changed since then. He is very chatty and talked for at least a half hour about the new bus system implemented when South Africa hosted the World Cup. But overall he gave us a thorough and insightful view of this city.

We strolled through the Company Gardens, had a too short visit to Kirstenbosch gardens, ate lunch at a vineyard in Constantia, and visited the T Bag craft company . Here we met Jill Heyes, a former art teacher who has dedicated her life to helping the poor people in the neighboring township. Her shop employs 18 people who create beautiful art out of used tea bags. The impact she’s had on the township has been incredible. She showed us through the two buildings currently used as a workshop and studio, where we met several young people obviously proud of their work.

The township visible to us was no more than tin shacks. Apparently newcomers to the area, mostly refugees from Zimbabwe, etc., have to wait for seniority to get a home from the RDP, a regulatory agency. When their turn arises, they can build their own home, finish an incomplete one, or rent one. The agency pours the foundation and puts in the connections for the plumbing and electrical. The rest is up to the home owner. These houses are built at the center of the community so were not seen by us.

Return to Cape Town-

Dave finds Cape Town to be very similar to San Francisco. The weather is variable and often foggy, the roads are hilly and vineyards thrive in both areas. And of course both feature a prison off shore.

The contrast between this Africa and the Africa of Zambia and Botswana is dramatic. Cape Town is a ‘first world’ city. The buses run on schedule and all bathrooms have dual flush toilets. There are ‘eyes in the sky’ monitoring you wherever you go and alerting security if the need arises. This program is paid for, not by the government, but by the merchants in the area,

Both Rob and Rhino Africa dismissed the waterfront as touristy, but as tourists ourselves, we decided to head that way for dinner. We had a great time, enjoying the music, shops and great eating in an area similar to Quincy Market or Navy Pier. We ate at the Belthazar steakhouse, where we both ordered the smallest steak and both ended up leaving half.

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