Cape Town, South Africa, Thursday 17 September


We were disappointed to learn at breakfast that we would not be able to go to Robben Island because of high waves. Frank made a few calls, though, and soon we were on our way to the Street Wire Project. It is a small enterprise in which unemployed people are taught the skills to create artwork from beads and wire. They'll make anything on special order and they have clients all over the world. We all shopped in the retail area.From there we drove to Kirstenbosch Gardens. It's a wonderfully peaceful, beautiful place. We particularly enjoyed seeing the "Fynbos" area -- the native species of plants. Like so many other parts of the world, South Africa is trying to cope with invasive species that drive out the native plants. These hardy natives hold ou the best hope of reclaiming the area. Plus -- good shopping in the gift shop. We continued on to the V&A Waterfront where we dispersed to find lunch. Then 8 of us continued to the District 6 Museum, where we learned about the effects of Apartheid policies that dictated separate residential areas for different racial groups and forced relocations. There were tears as we realized what it had meant for the families and individuals who had lived in this vibrant, diverse community just over 20 years ago. From there we walked to the Jewish History Museum, which was fascinating in a rather different way -- and quite beautiful. It depicts the history of the Jewish community in South Africa. We walked back to the hotel through the Company's Garden. The evening activity was dinner at the South African Gold Museum. It began with a tour of the museum's collection of gold artifacts (with a glass of bubbly) and continued with a "tapas" style African dinner in the courtyard. There was wonderful music, singing and dancing to entertain us while we ate. Afterward we had a drink with M-E and Dave to finish off the evening.
Click for larger view with Captions.

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