About Me

My photo
Hello! Welcome to my online travel-food-life journal/virtual scrapbook. I am a poet, playwright, journalist, editor and basic jack-of-all-trades writer. I was born in El Salvador and raised in Minnesota. I have just returned home from a year and a half in South Africa.

27 July 2012

Road Trip!: Stellenbosch

Here's another post I kept meaning to ... post!

Just one of the many, many things we love about Cape Town is its proximity to so many amazing sites, parks, and other lovely cities ... like the town of Stellenbosch.

It's only a 45 minute drive from the Mother City and Aaron and I kept meaning, kept meaning and kept meaning to go.  So one random Sunday, we just took off.  And if ever you wanted to see a picturesque place, this is it.  

It's situated in the hills of the Western Cape's prime wine region and its old quarter is filled with Cape Dutch architecture, little shops, and tons and tons of restaurants:

It's also a university town, so it's kind of a happening place:

We spent the afternoon just strolling around, soaking it up:

We wanted to have lunch here:

Look at their amazing pizza oven!  WANT:

But they were closed, so we ended up here:

Aaron had the eisbein, a salted pork knuckle you see here all the time:

And I had some yummy chicken kebabs:

Just, you know, a quiet Sunday afternoon.  Stellenbosch.  Me & my dude.

Sigh.  I'm really, really, really going to miss South Africa.

25 July 2012

Cape Town: The Castle of Good Hope

Exactly one week from today, we will leave Cape Town.  We're going to Mossel Bay for 6 weeks for Aaron to finish up his analysis ... and then home!

I'm gonna wax poetic about Cape Town next week.  But first, I wanted to share one of our favorite places here in the Mother City:  The Castle of Good Hope 
I don't even wanna tell you how long I've been sitting on these pictures.  It's embarrassing.  What can I say?  Aaron and I went one weekend, I snapped some pictures with my little camera ... and then I just kinda forgot about them.  Which is crazy!  Because some of these are among my favorite pictures I've taken here in SA!

Ah well, better late than never, right?  This first pic is seriously one of my favorites of the past 15 months; it is a laughing lion at the front of the Castle:

Here's the Castle itself, the oldest surviving colonial building in South Africa, built between 1666 and 1679 by the Dutch East India Company:

The inner courtyard is really gorgeous.  You see Table Mountain in the background and it houses several museums, a cafe, etc.  We went into 2 of the museums, one of antiques and fine art and one a military museum.  No pictures inside -- sorry -- but they were quite interesting.

It also plays host to historic reenactments.  The day we went there was a guy shooting authentic cannons:


We then took a tour of the premises.  There was a beautiful pool that had at one point been built over ... what a shame, it's really beautiful:

But my absolute favorite aspect of the whole Castle experience was the graffiti carved into the doors of the old prison:

Eerie, but captured in the wood and the golden light of the afternoon, beautiful.  And an intimate, tactile reminder of this beautiful city's dark past.

19 July 2012

Book Recommendation: The Lion Children

Have you ever despaired of our world?  What with us bigoted, polluting little monkeys waging war on anyone we deem too different? Well I do.  To the point that numerous times in my life, I've thought, "I just can't have kids.  I can't bring kids into a world this foul and ugly and cruel."  It's not the case now, but I've certainly thought that.  

What the heck does that have to do with anything?  Well.  In order to get myself to not think like that, I have to concentrate on hope.  And on kids that are admirable and positive and bright.

Thus, this book:

"The Lion Children" by Angus, Maisie, Travers & Oakley McNeice.

If anything will restore your faith in humanity, I swear this book will.  And if anything will inspire you as a parent (or someday parent, in my case) it is this book.

What is it about?  Well, let the book jacket explain:

This book, written by 3 children in the middle of the Botswanan bush, is a amazing story and a thought-provoking experience.

You know it's good when frigging Richard Dawkins writes the foreword to your book:

It is part adventure story, part lion textbook, part diary, part sketchbook, part cookbook:

Written and illustrated exclusively by these kids, it is a book that brings Africa alive through the eyes of  (sophisticated, yes) but still ultimately innocent, children

I cannot recommend it enough.  I know it is out of print, but if you can find it secondhand, get it.  Or check it out at the library.  And if you're a teacher/parent/caretaker, do the world a big favor and pass it along to your kids.