As I write this, I’m sitting on the aeroplane somewhere east of Madagascar, on my way back to Australia. My voyage to South Africa is complete – all that now remains is the (lengthy) flight home.
We spent the second half of the holiday based around Tulbagh, a small country town near Ceres, north of Cape Town; my grandfather lives just outside the town. Tulbagh is a very small, and quite pleasant little town, with only one (albeit sizeable) apparent problem: hayfever.
I have never had hayfever quite so bad as that I experienced in Tulbagh. I ended up using both pills, nasal sprays, and even a surgical mask to attempt to alleviate the symptoms. And I’m not alone – not only did both of my parents also succumb to it, but a sizeable proportion of the local population also suffer from it.
Apart from the hayfever, however, I really enjoyed it. I got the chance to essentially meet my grandfather and his wife for the first time. He has quite severe cancer, and the chemotherapy has rather unpleasant side-effects, for all its efficacy. Surprisingly, however, he was in much better shape than I had anticipated – he spends his days doing quite hard manual labour on his small-holding, growing lots of fresh produce and tending to seven dogs.
My grandfather’s wife, Esti, is a fantastic cook, and, fortunately for us, insisted that we take most of our meals with her. It was great. 🙂
Coffee in South Africa
Tulbagh, and the various country towns around Tulbagh, are very quiet, sleepy places – a far cry from the cosmopolitan Stellenbosch, where, incidentally, I discovered the only café that I think worthy of that appelation in South Africa. In Australia, where there is a strong Mediterranean influence, the coffee culture is quite vibrant, and there are a multitude of cafés that actually only concern themselves with coffee. By contrast, the “cafés” in South Africa were essentially miniature restaurants, nearly all with pretty terrible coffee. As I say, I could only find one café that actually was about coffee: Vida e Café (or something similar) in Stellenbosch. Check it out if you get a chance.
Ariel and I also went to drop a few things off for a friend at their parents’ house, and, wonder of wonders, they had an espresso machine. With decent beans. I had two cups – I really had been starved of good coffee, and their house was like a desert oasis. It actually made the three hour round trip to Piketberg to deliver chocolate biscuits, shampoo, and lollies worthwhile. (But seriously – chocolate biscuits, shampoo, and lollies. Sigh.)
I’m going to start culling and processing the photos we took on the trip when I get back to my desktop computer at home, and then I’ll put them up here. I might even put one or two up on Facebook for the very lazy, who I can safely insult, as they will never read this. It should all be up in a day or two.
And hey, if you’re lucky, I might even include more of my rambling ruminations with the photos.
[Posted a day after writing]