Capetown – a city of contrasts

LOCATION: Capetown, South Africa
WEATHER: Mostly cloudy. Light rain most of the day. High 68

Day #2 using the Hop-On-Hop-Off bus – have to get our money’s worth!

We walked to a neighborhood near the waterfront to go to their Saturday Farmers’ Market. Wow! It was full of stalls selling baskets, flowers, and interesting food

In addition to the regular market, there are food truck-like stalls selling yummy looking food. It was not time for a meal, so we didn’t eat, but lots of locals did at the outside patio – must be a Saturday morning ritual…

Then we hopped on our bus and went on a different route, this time to the outskirts of the city. We hopped off at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, named the most beautiful gardens in Africa. It is called a floral kingdom as it packs in thousands of varieties of plants.

Since today is Saturday, it seemed that most of the visitors were local. Many came loaded down with picnic hampers and coolers. They set up on the lawns…

We ducked into a thatched roof tea house for a bit to wait out the rain. Then, we had our own picnic on a bench, starting with this ostrich billtong (jerky)

We realized that we were really lucky that we went to Table Mountain yesterday, as this photo shows how cloudy and overcast it is today – probably no visibility from up top at all.

We walked and walked……and walked. The place is huge. It would take days to see it all. This was our final walk, through a canopy of hugh camphor trees

We hopped on the bus again, and hopped off after a few stops at one of Capetown’s townships (slums). What a contrast! One of the residents met us at the bus stop and took us for a walking tour of the town. The neighborhood holds about 6000 families.

Our first glimpse of the community….

This is the grocery store….

Most of the houses are small lean-to huts built out of tin or wood pieces

The guide took us into one typical house. Tiny – one bedroom and one area that serves as living room, kitchen, and dining area. They have running water and electricity, but share toilets with 20 other households. They bathe in a big washtub that was hanging on the wall. Here is our guide in front of the toilet block.

We learned that a wealthy Irishman has donated a lot of money and the community is using it to build regular houses with the donations. We went into one of those houses. These girls were working on their hair inside….

There were several beauty shops around

There were some takeaway shops,too, this one featuring chicken feet….

I was proud to see that Rotary (I am a former member) has done a lot for the community – a clinic and a community center.

At the center, some residents make crafts out of cardboard boxes and plastic shopping bags. They are trying to deal with 50% unemployment.

There was a meeting going on at the center. Our guide told us that it was community leaders discussing how to deal with some recently-arrived refugees. They have 15 African countries represented in the community, and try very hard to keep discrimination at bay

Back on the bus, passing beautiful beaches, luxurious homes, and beach-front bars and restaurants. Again, just a mile or so away from one of the slums. We stopped at one of the beach stops, and found a great seafood restaurant where we had some really tasty oysters for an appetizer…

DINNER: We were very tired after a full day sight-seeing, so it was nice that we had enough food at home to toss together for a meal. I boned the rest of the chicken wings and added onions, mushrooms, and bell peppers and served in a yogurt/wine sauce over pasta. Salad on the side. Since we are here only a week, it is a bit challenging to buy just the right amount of food, without having a lot of leftovers when we leave.

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