Sunday, June 29, 2008

Freedom! Hurray!! I Have a Car!!!

Freedom! Hurray!! I have a car!!!

This is the new Cape experience, since yesterday I am the proud renter of a VW Golf Chico, about 20 years old, with a pretty nasty smell, but running! And despite my anxiety driving and shifting on the freaking other side, it turned out half as bad.

First thing I took a little round trip: right turn at Kirstenbosch exit, cutting through Table Mountain, to Hout Bay. The sun was out between clouds, lighting up the mountains and the harbor at a low afternoon angle. I got out of my stinky car at a little fish-shag at the end of the commercial harbor where more and ‘different’ aromas engulfed me, a mixture of fish processing factory and town sewage.

SA has given me quite strong olfactive impressions already, some like the fynbos (honey sweet mixed with spicy herbs) are really wonderful, and then the others, one does not even want to describe.

From there, north along the tall cliffs of the Atlantic – YES – this is what they mean by spectacular! I stopped at a little outlook, and I could have sworn I did see some whales, blowing and all, but me idiot did leave the binoculars at the cottage, so no confirmation of what I saw.

At Camps Bay, across from the beach, a little strip of some very chic cafes and bars offering great sunset views; I will definitely go back there for a ‘sundowner’.

With the row of Palm trees and the way people dress and behave this could be anywhere in Florida.

Coming closer to the city again, one might as well drive along the French Riviera.

Architecture from beautiful contemporary to horrendous Mac mansions, mostly white structures glued to the steep coast, and all of it very exclusive. I have to admit I wouldn’t mind enjoying these views through the panorama windows of my living room, steched out on a large sofa with a comfy little fire in the chimney behind…

Then shopping at Victoria Warf, a nondescript (0-8-15) mall that could be found anywhere, where I bought me a new pillow so I wont dream of things living below my face, and a salad bowl, so I don’t have to make salad on little dishes in several batches. I am trying not to buy much and stick to the basics, but easier said then done with those 41/2 dishes, 2 forks and 1 knife found in the cottage kitchen. I might sound really old now, but I could not live with ‘young’ folks like that for any longer time. Their culinary sense of elegance moves between KFC and a particular pizza joint in Clairmont. Brrrrrrrr.

Last week I went with Trevor Adams, who is my supervisor, to Rondebosch Commens, a large open area in this rather affluent suburb, where there is an initiative to rehabilitate the flora from grasses back to indigenous plants.

You see a previously prepared site, where volunteers, Trevor and I planted small plants that where raised at Kirstenbosch from cuttings taken right here.

Some sections were already showing a mix of beautiful wildflowers, this is a rather common 

    Oxalis purpurea, Oxalidaceae

On Friday Andrew Jacobs, the brother of Clive the propagation foreman, gave me a small tour through parts of the garden I had not seen yet. A huge and very neat compost facility and the cut flower section, with mostly Proteas. They used to produce a lot for sale, but this is being faded out. There are still some, and this is the flower of the 
King Protea, Protea cynaroides.

It is incredible what the black Africans have to say about Apartheid. Andrew spent most of his life under conditions a modern person of the 20th century can hardly realize as real. He told me that he dared to look a white person in the eyes only 14 years ago. And he related the biggest unjust of the system to the severe restriction of education, making me think he was also talking about his own life and the huge loss of potential, and the things he might have been able to accomplish if not for people who seriously think that black Africans have small brains and therefore lack capacity for learning. ! .

(Didn’t they say that about women too?)

WHAT WERE THEY THINKING? What are they thinking now? Everybody acknowledges things have changed, but it does not feel like there is much justice happening yet. Everywhere I look I see the same pattern; white sitting – black standing, white driving – black walking, white supervising – black working, white eating – black serving, e.t.c.

And then, to mirror the attitude towards women, I read yesterday in a Cape Town news paper about a survey done here, where 36% of people questioned said, a woman wearing a mini skirt being raped, was asking for it…

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