The Townships of Cape Town

Trip Start Jan 12, 2008
Trip End Oct 01, 2008

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Flag of South Africa  ,
Friday, February 8, 2008

We oversleep and the thought of hitting up Table Mountain falls away due to timing, but breakfast in bed reinvigorates us and we decide to head to a winery that Christine had told us about where they serve chocolate with the tasting. The Waterford Estate ( was our last and my favorite winery we went to.  The wines were all tasty and the chocolates provided a welcomed change to the monotonous, yet extremely fun, sipping we had been doing all along. The Mediterranean Estate was beautiful and it was far enough off the beaten path (we had to take a dirt road to get there) that we felt like we were so much further away from the rest of civilization than we were as it only took us 20 minutes to get to the airport from there.

After seeing Jen off, I found my way to Noah Scovronick's apartment (we grew up playing soccer together in Princeton and he was the goalie at Emory for a year while I was there).  He also had an unbelievable view of the city bowl and table mountain from his living room, balcony and bedroom, and I was beginning to think that my one-of-a-kind view from my apartment in New York wasn't one-of-a-kind!

Noah takes me to a township and we visit the Philani clinic and employment project where local women are employed to weave while theirs and other malnourished kids are treated and schooled for free.  The whole effort is amazing and seems like an oasis in this desert of poverty and crime. It is so shocking to see the level of disparity between downtown and the township and you can't imagine how bad it is even though you 'know' what it looks like from the outside.  I feel so badly that I'm enjoying the finer things in life and there isn't much I can do to help these people, at least at this point.  Noah and I go to a butcher shop and order some meat.  Turns out you take the meat around back where they cook it for you and then you eat using your hands and a knife if you've ordered steak. We mistakenly get livers, but they turn out to be quite good anyways and then we bring some food back to the clinic.  I buy some of the woven place mats and bags they are selling at the clinic as well as giving waters to the kids and feel good about contributing to a worthy cause.  The kids there are so innocent and clearly have no idea how bad their situation is.  They are all smiles and high five me before asking me for food and water.  Noah is much darker than I am and I am the only white person I see for the 3 or so hours we are in the township and I finally feel what it's like to be an outsider.  I ask if its ok for me to get a haircut at one of the local barber huts and they say that its probably not a good idea, plus they would have never cut white hair before.  I contemplate going anyways, but don't want to offend anyone so we move on.

Back in Cape Town I meet up with my old Emory soccer coach, Mike Rubesch, who has taken a job coaching at Ajax Cape Town, the local pro team who is top of the South African league this year.  We have a wonderful seafood dinner despite the hurricane force winds!  It is hot outside and the winds are blowing with more force than I've ever experienced anywhere.  Apparently this is a common thing in Cape Town and no one is bothered by the fact that tables are getting knocked over and you have to have a double door with one sealed before you can enter or exit the balcony into the restaurant!

I crash on Christine's couch and catch up on a bunch of writing that I've been neglecting while enjoying myself to the utmost in South Africa!  This 2 week segment will be awfully hard to beat as I travel around the world...
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