Posts tagged travel
South Africa

THE WESTERN CAPE: PART 02: This is how it ends.

(View Part 01: here )

Insight: Ethanol: Through the process of fermentation yeast cells release ethanol as a waste product.

Wine: Yeast uses up the fermentable sugar in grapes. The sweeter the grapes the higher the potential ethanol (alcohol) level of the wine.

Quote: Archaeologist Patrick McGovern: ”Humankind’s first encounters with ethanol (alcohol) in the form of fermented fruit probably occurred in an accidental fashion. But once they were familiar with the effect…a secure supply of alcohol appears to have been part of the human community’s basic requirements much earlier than was long believed. As early as around 9,000 years ago, long before the invention of the wheel”.

Quote: Beer and Wine advocate Raymesh Cintron: “Ethanol is part of our evolution, it may have extended our own extinction a few million years by serving as a pressure release valve. It’s even beneficial in small amounts, but we humans and monkeys are really good at overdoing things”. (BBC video of monkeys having some drinks:

Objective: …I don’t want an adrenaline rush but I must rethink my strategy. The road trip (The Western Cape: Part 01) has been pleasant and full of beauty but I haven’t really “seized the day”

Strategy: Seize the day by making my brain think it’s having a good time.

How: Wine hopping: “In February 1659 the founder of Cape Town, Jan van Riebeeck, produced the first wine in South Africa. Wine production is concentrated around Cape Town, with major vineyard and production centers at Paarl, Stellenbosch and Worcester towns.” - And here I am driving randomly looking for a gas station!

After three wine tours where I was the only guest I find a super modern wine yard up in the mountains (Picture 3: One of vineyard where Che Guevara fans…) The scenery is superb, the wine is perfectly balanced; not too sweet or too dry, it’s has a light pleasant woody scent. I’m in Africa so I will try to keep it exotic; I order an ostrich plate. The meat tastes like lamb, gamy and fleshy but it has the texture of a chicken breast. It’s served with a sweet strawberry sauce and mashed potatoes. Winning!

My “Id” is super quiet, my “Ego” is relaxed in a couch and my “Super Ego” goes out for a walk - the three parts of my psychic apparatus as defined by Sigmund Freud. Since my conscious and unconscious mind are in perfect harmony I can freeze this ephemeral moment. I time travel into an infinitive loop just for a second in real time, but in my time and space I jump down the balcony and gracefully fly over the field, caressing the leaves, feeling the wind and feeling the glimpse of a dying sun. I look down, look right, look left, I flip over and skyrocket into the white sky. I flip over high in the sky and see the pixelated green field, the coast, the ocean…. Where do we go next?

THE WESTERN CAPE: PART 01: This the story and It starts with an insight: I open my eyes, the light is faint; it’s 6:59am, August 2009, why do I have my jeans and hiking boots on? It’s my last day in Africa. -Why am I awake?! 

Flash Back; I spent my last three weeks driving miles and miles around African countries. I’m back in Cape Town after a week in Namibia. Without ever stoping, I went downtown with a friend, had some beers and a chunky piece of animal flesh. 

Back to 6:59am; I still have my jeans on… So these are my three thoughts for the day: 1. Stay in bed (couch…) 2. Go and have some magnificent South African breakfast 3. Carpe Diem, life is short, kick the shit out of this life, have no regrets, enjoy my freedom. 

Option 1: I close my eyes… 

Objective: Seize the day.

Strategy: Create an adventure.

How to seize the day: Head west and go the farthest I can in one day. It’s 7:03am; my hiking boots drag me to the shower… Ready, set: ToothBrush-Jacket-Camera-Taxi-Airport-CreditCard-Keys-Door-ENGINE-GO! The steering wheel is on the right, the stick shift is on the left and you drive in the  left-lane. It can get confusing and dangerous when driving alone… Which one is my lane? Oh shit! It was left… no right… no LEFT! Sorry… 

 The Western Cape is a “World Heritage Site” -it’s the smallest of the six floral kingdoms (Boreal or Holarctic, NeotropicalPaleotropicalSouth African, Australian, and Antarctic)- an extraordinary diverse place where most of the plants are endemic. 

The scenery: a panoramic beauty that hypnotizes me, leaving me driving without music for hours. The light is pure, the atmospheres is light, and the leaves and clouds move 1/4 slower than every other place on earth.

I stop at Stellenbosch and ask myself, am I in Africa? It looks like I’m in a French impressionist painting, at a museum, walking slowly without making an abrupt sound that would mess up the scenery. Every house is beautifully crafted, the esthetic value of the place is it’s pure design and the people are friendly. Everything is perfect, but, it’s not exactly seizing the day. I need to rethink my strategy…

Continue: The Western Cape: Part 02.