The Urban Wanderer

Crossing Borders ~ Bridging Cultures ~ Traveling Responsibly

Cape Town Continues to Impress

 Day 3 in Cape Town and this place does not get old. It blows my mind actually, because this city is the exact opposite of any image you have in your mind when you think of Africa. It’s roads and infrastructure are like any first world western city. (Maybe even a bit better)  I am told that this is the direct effect from apartheid. Only the privileged had access to this part of the city. The city was built for the white upper class, and when you leave the ‘bubble’ you are suddenly faced with shanty tin squatter shacks that line the highway for miles. How is it possible that a country that seems so affluent by the looks of its clean city streets be a place of complete and utter poverty? Humanity is extremely unfair! Spending the last few days with Marlan and picking his brain has been fascinating. It makes me appreciate Canada and how accepting we are of everyone. (not to say we don’t have our issues, but this just is on a different scale) Racism and segregation breeds poverty. Lack of education and access to it causes further divide. I am told that there is a shift and change is slowly happening. They are trying to build low income housing near the squatters.  What I found so bizarre are the tin shacks that are squatting on government land have a spider webs of electric wires coming from the roofs. So my question is who is paying for electricity? Boggles my mind.
Anyway…on to less serious differences. When my vegetarian pizza had toppings of baby marrow and brinjal I was stumped as to what this could be. Any guesses? Baby marrow is zucchini and brinjal is eggplant. Who would have thunk? As well, aluminum is more expensive than tin here so all their pop cans are made of tin. Crazy huh! Try crushing a can on your forehead here and you will walk away with a headache!
Ok…pause. Must go to sleep. I will continue this rant tomorrow.caracal
Yesterday was pretty spectacular. Marlan picked me up and we headed outside of the city to the Stellenbosch vineyards for a little wine tasting. He got a little turned around and instead of finding a winery we stumbled across the coolest thing. A cheetah sanctuary! Here I got to get up close and personal with a bunch of different wild cats. Yes…my kind of heaven! The primary reason for the decrease in population for cats like cheetahs and caracals in this region is that these cats come on to farm land and raid the livestock. Farmers end up shooting or poisoning them. So this sanctuary raises big Shepard dogs to protect the livestock. The program pays for all food and vet costs of the dogs for one year.If after a year the farmer wants to keep the dog they would take on the cost. The cat population has steadily increased since. Genius! So to my delight I got to go in the enclosure one on one with the handler and the big cats. I spent time with baby and adult cheetahs as well as the pointy eared Lynx-like caracal. It was madness!Cheetah Encounterscheetah
Of course in the end we did find some vineyards and I got rather tipsy from all the tasting! At one place, a tasting of 6 wines (glass half full) cost a mere $1.50 cad!!!!
Today I had booked a trip to Robben Island. This is where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned. I was very much looking forward to this experience however things don’t always go according to plan. The winds picked up today and they can’t get boats out due to large swells. Grrrrrr.
Instead today will be a day of chilling out before meeting up with my tour group tonight. One thing I have to say is that this massive world of ours is very small. Remember when I lived with a group of girls in Australia back in 2001/2002? We called ourselves the Bondi Babes and have kept in touch ever since. Today I will be meeting up with one of the ‘Babes’ parents. Jeni from England’s parents live here a couple of months out of the year and I’m lucky enough to have a visit today. Tomorrow I will start the next chapter of this journey by leaving the beautiful oasis of Cape Town and heading north through South Africa.

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