Reflections on Cape Town

If you haven’t been to Cape Town, get here. It’s a wonderful city even though “Call Me Maybe” is playing in the restaurant where I’m sitting now. Oh, wait. New song…”Truly, Madly, Deeply” by Savage Garden.

Really?

Well, at least you don’t have to hear it. However, sadly, you’re also not having the best lamb I’ve ever had in my life. It’s unbelievable. Springbok, according to the waiter. Apparently, there are more than just sheep out there…and I haven’t even been to New Zealand, yet!

[By the way, sorry for fewer pictures today. I’m having some trouble uploading them.]

But I digress…

Were some thorough doctor to tell me that I had 6 weeks to live, my first stop would be Table Mountain. I have never seen anything like it. And the people! The residents here have more pride in their city than any group I’ve people I’ve met yet.

Wow! That’s the so-called Table Cloth rolling in.

The history here is fascinating, too. The Slave Lodge, for example, illustrates the excruciating experiences of  the slaves brought here by the Dutch East India Company from India, Indonesia, and Malaysia. Their middle passage was the single largest and unaccounted for loss of human life in human history. Thankfully, the trade was made illegal here in 1807 and slavery was abolished in 1834.

The District 6 Museum tells the story of one neighborhood that was destroyed during Apartheid. During my visit to the museum, I was guided by Tahir Levy [click the link for a video]. Tahir proudly says that he is “coloured,” which means that he descends from the slaves I mentioned a moment ago. The 78 year old former — and in some ways current — activist wanted to show us the ways he was mistreated.

He told us, by way of example, about his schooling. In order to learn the Queen’s English, he was forced to say – over and over again – “How now brown cow” and “The cat sat on the mat.” A whipping was earned if his vowels weren’t right.

In order to illustrate the humiliation he experienced, he asked an American to raise his hand. Sadly, I was the only one willing to step-up-to-the-plate. He asked me to read a newspaper clipping about Apartheid in a British accent. Wasn’t he surprised with my spot-on impression! Only the Scots were offended. They promptly left when I told them that July 4, 1776 was one of the great dates in world history. I should be more courteous.

Tahir did have some…well, they were strange observations. For example, he told us there are 14 million Americans literally standing in bread lines today. And, according to Tahir, “marriage is like a besieged castle. Those on the outside want in. And those on the inside want out.” He also described women as a “dangerous species.” He’s been married for 45 years.

I was fortunate because our dear friend Phillip offered Tahir a ride to his house in the car I’d rented. I was happy for the company. And richly rewarded! Tahir showed us around District 6. Wow! As he was offering his tour, he was responding to people shouting, “Hey Tahir!” Apparently, I was in the presence of a local celebrity.

“Stop here, Phillip. That’s where I lived until they bulldozed it, Jeff.” He said that four times. Four. How many times has my house been bulldozed? The correct answer is none. And yours? Has your house been bulldozed?

We went on to have beers at Phillip’s house. Fortunately, Phillip didn’t have any beer, but he insisted that I have some. I think I have a friend here in this country. And I can’t wait to come back.

From here, I fly 12 hours to Amsterdam. Wait 12 hours there. Then fly about 14 hours to Hong Kong. It’s going to be a long couple of days. And you probably won’t hear from me. Sorry.

Time for me to catch a cab. Keith Urban’s “Kiss a Girl” has just come on. Goodbye Cape Town!

You may also like...

7 Responses

  1. November 29, 2012

    […] guy next to me on the flight from Cape Town was very talkative. At some point during the flight, he was complaining about his three hour […]

  2. December 3, 2012

    […] without much heart. Maybe it has to do with its colonial history? Although I don’t think so. Cape Town was full of heart, but with a much more brutal colonial history. So, I’m not sure, but […]

  3. December 9, 2012

    […] struggle getting used to doing things differently. Take driving on the other side of the street. In South Africa, Hong Kong, Australia, and New Zealand, the driver is on the right and their cars “keep to […]

  4. December 16, 2012

    […] since Cape Town have I been so impressed by a place. Especially Queenstown and the South Island. The terrain is […]

  5. July 19, 2015

    […] is an incredible place. Not since Cape Town have I been so amazed by a city. Table Mountain is still my favorite spot from this journey, but […]

  6. August 7, 2015

    […] Paris is known for kissing, Copenhagen for bikes, Cape Town for Table Mountain, and Hong Kong for shopping. Then, Sydney must be known for beer. Because they […]

  7. August 7, 2015

    […] In what I think will be the final act of this RTW adventure, I headed to Raleigh a couple of days ago to pick up a package I sent myself from Cape Town. […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *