Thursday, March 21, 2013

SOUTH AFRICA: Day 10 Stellenbosch

March 10th

Stellenbosch - Wine Country

There was a huge bicycle race today that completely shut down the Capetown and all areas south for most of the day, so I decided to head out to wine country.

But before I talk about that, I want to talk about something disturbing that happened last night. I experienced some pretty awful comments about Blacks from Afrikaaners... I won't get into details, but, ugh.  I almost cried.  I overheard some Afrikaaners talking and they said horrible things like "Blacks aren't another race, they're another species".  So vicious and ignorant.  Of course, those were rabid racist fools, but words still hurt.  It was particularly insidious to experience that after having stood in front of Nelson Mandela's cell and heard all the happy talk about about the new Rainbow Nation and forgiveness and new beginnings.  Guess it's easier to change laws than minds...  And while there are racists everywhere and they come in all sizes and colors, there IS something different about White society in SA.  I've been feeling it the whole time I've been in this country.  It seems as though, in general, for Whites here it's a given that they'll get their way, so to speak.  Little things keep happening (to me)...  Walking down the sidewalk, rather than both people giving way to pass, they seem stay straight as though it's a given that I will step aside. They get customer service before me in bars, shops, cafes, etc.  I've shared food with Afrikaaner travelers and in the normal backpacker world, that would be reciprocated, but that hasn't happened.  They've just taken as though it's a given that Black help them out. And I've stopped counting the times that they've assumed I was "the help".  Shitty, yes.  Very disappointing.  But I have to also adamantly say that many Afrikaaners that I have met on this journey have been incredibly friendly!  Really super accepting and very nice.  I think some of these little irritations I've had are less from any sense of venomous racism on their part, but rather just old habits left over from centuries of privilege.  This really has been an interesting anthropological trip.

But was about wine country (plus a little beach time and script writing time, if I could squeeze it in).  So off I went to Stellenbosch, one of the biggest wine towns in the vineyard covered outskirts of Cape Town.

Since a tour of vineyards would take hours and I wasn't feeling the herd mentality of a tour group, I decided to just hop the train there and enjoy local wine at a cozy restaurant in the cute downtown area.  Perfect. My mind was still on the nastiness of last night so I wasn't too in the mood to stay long in Afrikaaner country.  I enjoyed the wine, but I missed the cosmopolitan feel of Cape Town so I headed back right after lunch and returned to my favorite place: Muizenberg Beach!  I needed to work on this script (which still isn't written!) and maybe sea, sand, sun would be a good environment for productivity.   ???

And it worked!  I got most of the skeleton of the script done!  It's a twin story and it will take place on a train, so that's going to complicate filming immensely, so thank goodness this is a short.  The bad news is that I won't be able to shoot everything in SA, but the good news is that I'll get some great one-of-a-kind shots this week on the Premier Classe train and those will be the meat of the story.  

I can't believe it - I'M MAKING A MOVIE.  FOR REAL!!!!

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