South Africans = Friendly Folks

Trip Start Nov 10, 2010
Trip End Nov 26, 2010

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Flag of South Africa  ,
Friday, November 12, 2010

After a night of fitful sleep (no doubt due to an eight hour time zone change) I was up at six only to discover that my computer battery had died overnight. It seems that my charger plug is malfunctioning. I borrowed another one from the hotel but had to do a makeshift rigging to get it to work. So far, so good.

Breakfast was fine and Brian from Thompson's Africa Tours arrived right on time to pick me up for a half-day Cape Town City Tour including a trip up the cable car to the top of Table Mountain, a flattop mountain overlooking the city. We also tour "The Company's Garden" (nice), the Malay Quarter where brightly colored houses predominate, the "Castle"--which is the oldest European building in Southern Africa and the scene of the South African version of "The Changing of the Guards," and a trip bar cable car to the top of the fabulous Table Mountain. The top of the mountain was partially enveloped by a cloud making it surreal. In the afternoon, we headed for Stellenbosch (wine country) with stops at Vergenoegd Wine Estate and Neethlingshof Winery. Vergenoegd won out with its lovely Pinotage and a delightful Cabernet while both did well with Sauvignon Blancs.

In the afternoon, I was accompanied by a lovely couple from the Murray Hill neighborhood of New York City, Mona and Eric, and an equally lovely couple from Edinborough, Scotland, UK, Matt and Donna. They adopted me as a surrogate papa and a good time was had by all.

The people are marvelous. The scenery is on a par with New Zealand (and that's saying something) and the wine is excellent. I saw a lot of SAB Miller activity and Coke predominates. There is no apparent evidence of Pepsi in Cape Town although I am told that they are a factor in Johannesburg. I didn't see any Dr Pepper Snapple brands but I am certain that 7Up is here; I just haven't seen it. Budweiser is not to be least by me. One gets the impression that spirits and beer volumes are negatively impacted by wine consumption.

I had lunch at the Clock Tower in Cape Town and dinner at Caffe Balducci. I tried to dine at Baia (a recommendation of Kathy Sudeikis) but they wouldn't let me eat at the bar which meant I would have had to look like a loser at a table for two for one. I don't do that so they don't get my money. Balducci was very nice.

Before dinner and after our wine country tour, Mona, Eric, Matt, Donna and I stopped for a sunset bottle of wine at the Pepper Club on the Beach. Again, take note: wine and spirits predominate with beer on draught being rare to unavailable.

I recommend Cape Town; it is quite nice in every way.

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AFS on

Photos are awesome; keep 'em coming, so that I can be there vicariously.

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