Sunday, March 26, 2006

I am home from Cape Town. I worked harder than I ever have in my life. We had a lean group managing the event and pulled 13+ hour days. I did a little of everything needed since the classes I was managing didn't take place until the latter part of the week. The first day I was an "Oscar Girl", presenting awards to people on stage in front of 1,000 people. The whole time, my mother's voice was in my head saying "shoulders back, stand up straight" as I have a tendency to slouch. Another day, I was a microphone runner in an auditorium, so I was up and down stairs for about 6 hours straight. I did squeeze in fun evenings with my husband and his colleagues. The weather in Cape Town was 70s/50s with a fresh ocean breeze us as we sat poolside drinking mind-blowingly good South African wine.

Cape Town is famous for its cuisine, particularly its seafood. The first night I dined at On the Rocks in Blouberg, a surf and turf restaurant which had a spectacular view of Table Mountain and Robben Island at sunset. Another night we dined at one of Rachael Ray's favorite restaurants, Pigalle, an amazing seafood and Portuguese supper club with a band playing everything from jazz standards to Lionel Richie. It was one of the most memorable dining experiences that I've ever had in that the service was flawless, the food delicious (click here for their menu.) Their Malva Pudding was a religious experience and I cannot stop thinking of their venison (springbok) carpaccio. The langoustines and prawns we ate were larger than our plates.

A highlight of the conference was our guest speaker, Archbishop Desmond Tutu. He told stories of Apartheid South Africa and the tests used to determine race, such as the "pencil test" where if a pencil was placed in someone's hair and fell out, they were classified as "white" and if it stuck, then they were considered "coloured" (mixed). He also told us of the "pin prick test" where someone would sneak up on you and stick you with a pin and the way you shrieked would determine your race. Children who had darker skin or frizzy hair could be classified in a different ethnic group than their white families, causing the families to be split apart.

My last two days were spent touring the city and Robben Island. I have photos on Flickr.

The very best part about being on a trip is coming home. My sweet little boy was always on my mind and I was so happy to see him again. It was great to be able to hang out with him again. One of the first things he asked me was, "Mommy, you came back? You came back to me from Africa?" Here he is in his "damn, it's hard to be a gangsta" pose wearing a pink and lavender party hat and blue cammos. I just love that kid to pieces.

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