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