I believe I last wrote on Friday, describing the first week and the friends who came to visit. To pick up from where we left off, we went into Cape Town on Saturday with Natalie, the owner of Rozendal, because she was going to work the Go Green Organics Convention that was happening that weekend. She let us off at the convention center and we walked into the waterfront area to meet up with Vicky around 10am. Vicky had been working in Lilongwe, Malawi with my dad for a number of years and was heading home to return to the land of Oklahoma. This was here last hurrah in Africa so we decided to meet up with her to help the transition.
We met up at the aquarium and went straight to grab some coffee. She had been roasted the day before on the open-air double-story tour buses that roam around town. Malawi sun just isn’t as strong as it is here apparently. So we walked around the mall and marveled at escalators, air-conditioning, Birkenstock stores and everything else that comes with a first world city such as Cape Town. From the mall we went up to Long Street, the main shopping/restaurant in CT, where Erin found a long-desired pair of jeans at Woolworths. Then we saw a sign for nachos and bee-lined it for the restaurant to indulge in crappy cheese covered doritos. Our expectations were a little high. Apparently CT is still Africa. From lunch we headed back to the waterfront and hung out on the pier just talking about where she was going, where we were going, etc. Very enjoyable. To finish off the night, we had dinner at Bahia, a delicious seafood restaurant. It was one of the better meals I had in awhile. We finished up at the bar drinking delicious Guinness from the tap, which I now believe is the true sign of a modern city.
We left Vicky the next day so she could do her tour of Cape Point and fly out on Monday and we could head to the convention center, meet Natalie and start selling vinegar. Step 1) no problem. We walked to the convention center. Step 2) small problem finding Natalie, but after searching around we located her. Step 3) Big problem. How do you get people to drink vinegar at 10am? Because that’s how we sell it. We say, “Would you like to taste some vinegar?” We pour it in a tiny snifter and tell them to hold it in their mouths for 5-10 seconds while the vinegar “warms up in your mouth, rounding out the edges and releasing the floral bouquet that goes so well with salads, stir-frys, or cous-cous for instance. And it’s all organic.” We ended up with a number of key phrases that we must have repeated a thousand times from 10am to 6pm. But we sold quite a bit of vinegar and were pretty happy with ourselves.
The convention itself was really interesting as well given the huge variety of things that it encompassed. Everything from green building to solar water heaters, worm farms, nuts, teas, smoothies, makeup, massages and then the more interesting things including cosmology, transcendence, unicorns and other things I classify in the “out-there” realm.
The day after the convention we decided to hike up to Jonkershoek Nature Reserve to check it out. It’s actually a bit more of a hike to the entrance than we thought, so by the time we arrived at the gate, we only had enough energy to grab a map and turn right around to head back. There was a flyfishing area that we passed, but did not stop in. However, we did have exactly 70 rand in our pocket which is enough for a couple of wine tastings. On the same road as the nature reserve is Neil Ellis and Lanzerac, so we made sure to stop by both on our way back. 30 rand at Neil Ellis and 40 rand at Lanzerac means that we were in no danger of blowing our budget because we had no more money to spend there. But it was certainly fun to taste the different wines. To those who are interested, the wines of special note were the Lanzerac Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon and the Neil Ellis Stellenbosch Chardonnay.
Tuesday held a nice surprise for us. Instead of working on the farm, we would be working with the vinegar! We were both pretty excited about this and it did not disappoint. There is a vinegar cellar with about 80 250-litre oak barrels filled with various vinegars at various stages. The mother blend comes from a gigantic 3500-litre oak barrel in the center of the room, which they pump to the smaller barrels. In these barrels they add the flavours, such as carob, lavender, chili, peppadew, rosemary, rose geranium, etc. This is allowed to soak in and are then combined in specific ratios according to set instructions. 5 litres of carob, 5 litres of pappadew, a few barrels of grape must, and then mix it all together in a gigantic cooking pot. Then we pump it to another barrel where it ages until called upon. All in all a great day of new things.
The next event was Friday, when Neil and Ciara visited us a second time to spend the night. We decided that instead of heading to town, we would have a delicious braai (BBQ), spent the night devouring tons of meat and freshly picked salad, and generally passing the time chatting away. It was a great success and enjoyment to have them pass by again before they headed out.
Saturday we worked the market and sold vinegar again. It was a good time and the market was particularly interesting because of the amazing quality of the goods there. I wanted to eat so much of the samples, but I couldn’t because, once again, I had to get people to try vinegar at 10am in the morning. It’s quite difficult, but a fun challenge.
Yesterday we hiked up the mountain behind the farm. Although it only took us 3 hours roundtrip, it was one of the hardest hikes I’ve been on. Certainly more difficult and steep than hiking up Mulanje in Malawi. But the view from the top was absolutely fantastic. We could look around in 360 degrees to see the various vineyards and towns. We pointed out Kanonkop, Simonsig, and any other winery we could figure out. Table mountain was visible in the background and we could just make out the oceans on either side of it. Absolutely stunning.
To finish of the day, we walked into town to buy ingredients for salsa and then had a delicious lamb stew with Natalie and her boyfriend Carlo. Then we passed out hard from all the exhausting activity.
Today on the agenda: pick up a rental car, drive to Cape Town and learn how to ride motorcycles!