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From Rags to Riches

Written on: Wednesday November 8th, 2006

A journal entry from: The Winter of 2006/2007

Played golf at Westlake, a course that is pretty close to White Lodge on Sunday. After the game we were looking for a place to get a bite and Mike and Jean wanted to wine taste so we went to a nearby winery. It being Sunday, the winery was closed but the attached restaurant was running a buffet. It was quite the buffet but so much for South Africa being cheap, the golf that day cost $60 each and we had the most expensive lunch ever - $40 each, it did include a bottle of wine though. We were on rations for dinner that night. Monday we had another game of golf booked about an hour's drive east of Cape Town at Erinvale Golf Course which is also in a wine area. We missed the turnoff to the motorway that we were supposed to take and ended up going through several miles of shanty towns. At first it was quite interesting but then we started to look in the cars that were travelling alongside us and realised that we were the only white people around. We'd been warned that there were areas that you shouldn't venture into and we were beginning to think that this might be one of them. However we did find the motorway eventually and got back on track. The shanty towns (ortownships as they're called) just blow you away. The dwellings remind me of the "dens" we used to make when we were kids. They're made of anything they can lay their hands on - old pieces of wood, corrugated metal, old signs. Some of the ones on the edges are advertising shampoo and sets and food for sale, it's hard to imagine where they get their water from and even harder to imagine what happens with the sewage. There are electricity poles visible. The government is trying hard to build affordable housing but Darrell tells us that as fast as they move people out of the townshiups, others move in from Zimbabwe as South Africa is a better place to live. Just a few streets away from thetownships you'Il be in an area of beautiful houses and expensive stores. It just doesn't seem right. We had planned on eating near the Westlake Golf course that evening but it had been a hot day, so we decided to drive back to Whitie Lodge have a shower and walk to Constantia Old Village where there's a great variety of restaurants from fine dining to pizza houses. After eats we came back to White Lodge, sat on the deck and watched the last day of the golf tournament on TV.