Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Vegan in Cape Town

Hello everyone!

I'm fully 32 now and loving it. The weekend in Franschhoek was fabulous. Good wine, beautiful countryside, and good company. I didn't get to go horseback riding. Again. I'm cursed.

I'm at an internet cafe in CT, as the sun begins to set. I hoped to attach pictures today, but this computer won't take my flash drive and the other ones won't take my camera. So tough luck.

I experienced one of the highlights of my trip yesterday. I passed a health store with a big sign: "Tofu sold here." It's the little things that make a trip good :).

Forget people, culture, landscape. It's food that really matters! The vegan options in South Africa, like the US, have improved over the past eight years. I do admit to having to eat quite a few meals of salad and fries (chips). Tofu is the most difficult thing to find in South Africa. However, find it I did. I can't tell you how good that tofu sandwich tasted today. I could go on and on and on and on about how good it was. And I have more in the fridge...

Okay, on to other things that won't cause you all to roll your eyes at me...

I've been seeing museums in Cape Town that I didn't see on my last few visits over the years. As I blogged last week, I went to the National Gallery to see some Pre-Raphaelites. There were three. The South African National Gallery is one of the most interesting art galleries I have ever visited. There was one room devoted to European and British art. You know, the usual: portraits, paintings of Jesus, Jesus and Mary, landscapes with a classical tint, a few bronzes, etc. It's everything you've seen everywhere else. Yet, the other four rooms offered fantastic collages of South African paintings, sculpture, modern art, and photography. There was one room full of large photographs of important women to South Africa. Lovely. The most aggravating thing was not being able to buy postcards of things I liked in the museum store. I love these. The best souvenirs for my scrapbook!

Yesterday, I went to The Slave Lodge. An interesting, sad museum. It reminded me of South Africa's early history and how that history haunts South Africa still today. The US isn't much different, I think. Horrible tales of suffering and cruelty. A few years ago, South Africa gave a few posthumous medals to some of these early slaves in recognition of what they gave this country. Some of them were the ancestors of important history makers.

Today I went to the Castle of Good Hope. Another interesting experience. With Table Mountain covered in thick cloud, the castle felt like a castle should: wet and dreary. I did feel strange seeing a castle in South Africa. In March I toured castles in North Wales, and there castles fit. Here it seems a strange part of the tourist agenda. Like the National Gallery, this had eclectic displays. First, there is the standard military museum, dominated by uniforms of the Cape Town Highlanders (kilts, of course) and other British based military groups. Then, there is the museum with old furniture of the 17th and 18th century-mostly Dutch and British. Then, a gallery with interesting paintings by artists depicting maritime and landscape scenes. Last but not least, there was an exhibition on basket weaving in Southern Africa. Eclectic.

The castle guide monitoring the basket room said that I took longer than anybody to go through the small exhibit. Those of you who have been through a museum with me are probably chuckling. I compulsively read all the plaques in museums. You never know what important information you'll learn. The baskets were gorgeous, and I couldn't resist finding out all the details of how and when and where they were made.

Then, in typical Maureen fashion, I went to the cafe and had a cup of tea. I can't visit a castle and NOT go to the tea room. I mean, really.

Tomorrow, I will hopefully go on a township tour. Then, Thursday I am packing up my box of stuff that I can't bring on the safari and doing something with it. Friday, Kenya.

I hope you are all well. Hugs and love,

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