Friday, September 6, 2013

Wednesday, August 28, last day in South Africa

Our last day in Cape Town was spent in the rain. Well something had to happen to let us know we should think about ending this adventure. After breakfast at the hotel. Fareed drove us to the waterfront where we felt like tourists. The Cape Town waterfront reminds me a bit of the wharf in San Francisco. We went in several shops and bought a few things. This shopping didn't feel as good as the shopping we had done in the projects and studios, but it did fill in some gaps and was a reminder of what special opportunities we were offered on the rest of the trip.

At the wharf there is a diamond museum actually sponsored by Shafinsky Diamond Co. You are greeted by a lovely guide who takes you through their displays explaining the history of diamonds in South Africa. There was no mention made of working conditions in diamond mines or of slavery. at the end of the brief tour we magically ended up in a showroom of beautiful jewelry and at least three "hostesses" who served us sherry, wine and lattes. I enjoyed the hospitality and had a good look. Two of the five in our group actually bought some ridiculously expensive jewelry. They didn't even have sherry or wine!

Our 'guide' for the museum

Margaret and I enjoyed the drinks and she played with this ring for a while. It had a gorgeous tanzanite stone and the ring was studded with a gazillion small diamonds all around the ring on its edge. Never saw anything like it.

This is the men's ring to go with the one Margaret tried on.

Fareed took us back to the hotel where we all made sure we had our stuff together for the trip home. This is my big rhino bag which was a checked bag on the trip home. If you fly to SA on delta, you get to check one bag free on the way over and two on the way back. Most in the group were spending big bucks to ship things home. I was able to get everything in the rhino and my other checked bag. My carry on was heavy. It had all the jewelry. I paid $2.30 for the rhino bag in the first fabric store we went to. Before risking it on a plane, I covered it the all the duct tape ruth from Racine had and a whole roll of packing tape Sheri from new your didn't use.

Fareed made two trips to the airport. Karen, my roommate, was on the same 11:30 pm flight as I was, but she went with everyone else several hours earlier to try to upgrade her seat. She was able to get a few more inches of leg room for $200. I kept my economy seat and think I also got the extra room. I was just a couple rows back and could stretch out pretty well.

When Fareed took me to the airport, I was the only one left. Because I was alone, he parked at the airport, got a trolley and carried my bags to the check in counter. In SA he would be referred to as a colored (different from black) Muslim. The checking was smooth. I did have to take the rhino bag to a separate check in place because it was oversized.

After finding my gate, I got some dinner. Karen found me there and we spent a couple hours together waiting for our flight which was on time. Africa is soooooo big we were flying up its gut at 600 mph for 8 hours. Crossing the Mediterranean and Europe went quite fast. I spent three hours in Amsterdam and then another 9 hours to MSP.

Everything was on time. Immigration went as quickly as it could. Then to find the checked bags. My suitcase showed up quickly, but where was the rhino. When I was getting a bit nervous, I asked an airport worker. Seems the oversized bags are in a different spot. He was there and none the worse for ware.

Customs was quick until I was asked about the arts and crafts I wrote on the declaration form. Where are the baskets from. Zulu land was apparently not a good answer. Were there any seeds in those baskets? I was referred to the Dept of Ag guys who were very nice and passed me through quickly. I pushed my trolley through and headed for the curb which I didn't know how to find from this terminal. I found an elevator going down and took it. When the door on the other side opened I was Eric and Fiona on the other side of a glass door waiting for me. A wonderful surprise. Eric got everything packed away in his car and we headed for his house. I enjoyed Fiona telling me about the Minnesota state fair she had Eric had spent the day at. Hot dish on a stick with a gravy dipping sauce and pigs being born.

We found Liza and Ollie on their deck. Ollie was naked and enjoying his pool. After dinner I unpacked all I had bought and sorted it a bit. Some of the stuff I didn't even remember buying. I stayed over night as I thought it would be unsafe to drive. I was wide awake at 2 am. Finally got up at 4, drank coffee and after a brief visit drove to Irma. It was good to be home.

Location:Cape Town

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Tuesday, August 27, Cape Town Malay area

I had a bit of an adventure at breakfast today. At the buffet I put together a bowl of pesto, cheese and tomato and handed it to the omelet lady. I then started two pieces if beautiful bread through the toaster conveyer. It came out barely toasted, so I sent it through again. I could see the fire start and when my toast came out the bottom it was still on fire. I was very graciously given more bread. The second time was much better.

We got into Farieds van about 9 and drove around Cape Town downtown. This fort was built by the Dutch to protect the town from the British.

This is the city hall in downtown Cape Town. The balcony in the center is where Nelson Mandela stood to give his first speech since being released from prison in 1990

Our first crafting stop was at Monkeybiz which is an aids project. Workers are taught to make beaded animals and other items which are sold throughout the world.

Monkeybiz has a cool car

Their mission

Some of the beaded animals available for adoption. I bought an elephant which I bonded with right away.

This is a pile if beaded mats they made. Just beads and thread

Upstairs from Monkeybiz is carrol Boyes studio. She is an artist who casts primarily human firms into household objects. This bowl, fork and knife are cast in stainless steel. When they cast in stainless, the mold breaks every time so each piece required a new form. Way out of my price range!

It doesn't show up too clearly, but the handles are human forms

Around the corner we found Streetwires, another project to help unemployed to work.

They were working on a large order for these beaded baskets

This lion is totally beaded

We had lunch in the Malay area of Cape Town. Residents here like color! I loved the mix if color.

One more stop before lunch. This is another project which is run by a woman we had met in a town 1200 miles from here. She must happened to be in and showed us around three floors of art work. Below is one piece of a project she is doing. Each woman in the project was asked to embroider a self portrait. They were then interviewed. She is creating an archive.

The above woman's story

Lunch was in a Malay restaurant. Our waitress helped us chose which dishes to have for lunch. We ordered quite a variety. I liked it all

The menu

After lunch we went to the studio of a graphic artist who creates patterns with African motifs which and screened by hand and sold on the home dec market. Business called Fabricnation.

This is one if her designs. I bought a panel which has some beautiful animal images

Next visit to different project. Crochet circles make into scarfs. Didn't buy one. Maybe I will try to make one

Next to that is a clay studio which makes very thin ceramic items. Their work feels good when you pick it up. I think it must be pretty fragile

Cant believe i didnt take any pictures of the project which made teddy bears. i bought one which is totally embroidered. For dinner Kym, Margaret and I went it the waterfront and had a lovely seafood dinner with a bottle of rosé. It was sad to realize that this was our last evening, but I look forward to getting home.his name is Outie. He got his name when I was talking to a couple employees in the hotel. One if them called my bear a dude. I asked how to say that in African (not sure which language). Outie was the answer.

Location:Cape Town, SA

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

August 26, Cape Point and The Cape of Good Hope

While walking through the mall at the waterfront after dinner Sunday night it was drawn to these designs. I will quilt them some day.

After breakfast Monday we went to the Kirstenbosch Gardens. Oh my gosh are they beautiful. This was the view as we started walking one if the paths

The silver tree is found only here

The protea are just starting to bloom. It is very early spring

Still on the walking path

The fruits on the gardenia tree are the size of golf balls and are quite hard.

Gardenia fruit

I loved the sidewalk in the garden. These are rocks embedded in something.

This palm has the longest leaf of any plant anywhere

The big guy likes the garden to

On the drive out to cape point we stopped to visit the penguins at Simons Town. They are quite small, but so cute

This starling was guarding the restaurant as we ate lunch at Cape Point

This is it, The Cape of Good Hope. The terrain was beautiful, dramatic and quite rugged

Closer up

This is Cape Point, actually more beautiful than Good Hope

Robbin Island from the road. This is where the prison is that held Neksin Mandela. Sherri and I are going there Wednesday morning

This is the Malay part of Cape Town. Tuesday we will be visiting crafters there and having lunch.

Today started out beautiful, but by the time we returned it was quite cold and windy. Tomorrow will be inside activities and the weather is probably going to be the worst day if the trip. Our days have been remarkably free if bad weather. To date we have had one day if drizzle.

Location:Cape Town, SA

Sunday, August 25, traveling to Cape Town, wine and shopping

We landed in Cape Town about 10:30, met our new driver Fareed, and headed north from the airport to this winery for a tasting. It was quite a swishy place. It was warm enough to sit outside, enjoy the view and enjoy the wine. Wine in South Africa is good and amazingly inexpensive. At dinner a glass if wine is 250 ml and will cost about $3.

This is a real flower, a protea, in an arrangement on the reception desk at the winery. It is at least 7 inches across

As we left the winery, several if us walked part way down the drive to enjoy the flora. This is a bird of paradise

One if the vineyards

The floor in the winery was made of peach pits embedded in a resin. It was quite beautiful and a bit bumpy

Each type of vineyard was labeled

That evening we we on our own for dinner so Margaret and I took the hotel shuttle to the waterfront and enjoyed a light supper, more wine, and a beautiful view

The view from our table

We returned via the shuttle to get rested up for the surprises on Monday

Location:Cape Town, SA