Well, the first half of our South African sojourn has been pretty good. We spent the first week with my paternal uncle and aunt in Cape Town, or, to be more accurate, alternating between two points on either side of the city — Gordon’s Bay and Bloubergstrand.
We also spent a night at Lanzerac Manor, which was absolutely stunning — fantastic food, accommodation, and service. We both indulged in a massage at the Lanzerac Spa, which was great. That’s the beauty of the RSA-Aus exchange rate — five star hotels and spas suddenly become affordable.
[Pictures coming when we’re back in Australia]
South Africa is a strange country — everywhere you look there is a stark contrast between rich and poor. There’s an awful lot of wealth, but there’s far more poverty — real poverty — than there is wealth. At nearly every traffic light in town, groups of people hawk goods — from phone chargers to rubbish collection. The slums, or “informal housing” areas stretch for miles — there’s one particularly large area just outside the Cape Town airport, which you see both from the air and driving down the motorway.
At the same time, though, there’s an awful lot of good going on — the country town of Paarl has built brick houses to replace the vast majority of tin shacks in the “informal housing” areas, and many country towns have a similar “scheme”. Also, because of the World Cup Soccer soon to be played out in South Africa, you can see that there is a concerted effort to “clean the place up” — there’s very little rubbish on the sides of the streets, and large infrastructure works and repairs are under way. This means more jobs, less poverty, and more traffic jams, so on balance it’s a good thing.
We’re now in the small country town of Tulbagh, near Ceres, roughly 200km inland from Cape Town. It’s nice, but unfortunately has an exceptionally high pollen count, which has pretty much left me debilitated, although it’s left Ariel unfazed.
As I pointed out earlier, we’ll be uploading photos when we get back to Australia — for now, the internet connection we’re using here, in a small internet cafe, is too abominably slow to do anything much.