Monday, January 02, 2006

Minstrel Parade

Minstrel Parade I woke up at 7:00 am and woke Ron. He had wanted to leave by 9:00 am to ensure his seat at St. George’s Cathedral for the Minstrel paraded. We decided to walk, though it would be along walk, the Rikkis were not running and the morning air was clear and calm. When we did arrive by 9:00, it was already crowded. Many people bring folding chairs and even portable barbeques with ice chests to make a day of it. We found seats on the steps of St. George’s just like we were advised to do by Karen, the tour guide for the walking tour. We were definitely in the minority, the majority was colored people. The minstrels have a colorful parade each year as a historical event. In the days of slavery, January 2nd was their only day off for the year. They dressed in colorful costumes, carried parasols, painted their faces, and played music as they danced down the street. The tradition has continued long past slavery. There were so many children running around and each was more beautiful than the next. I was impressed with how the older ones took care of the younger ones even when ‘older’ meant six years old. Our spot was shady, but it kept getting more and more crowded. I held the thought that the people of color deserved to have a better view than I did since it was their history. We waited three hours for the parade to start. It was scheduled for 10:00 am, but it did not get to us until after 12:00. They were giving away free yellow hats so we had to get ours to be part of the crowd. When it started, everyone closer to the street stood up, effectively blocking our view completely. Ron found that if he squeezed around a tree, there was a piece of standing area for him to take pictures. We took turns doing this, so one of us could keep our step space. After an hour, we decided to call it quits. One troupe would pass and then it took another 20 minutes before the next one appeared. We walked toward Catwalk, but watched some more of the parade as we went stopping to take pictures and fight through the moving crowd. The shops on St. George’s mall, the pedestrian walkway were open and we looked for some interesting material to bring home for the bedroom wall, but we could not agree on any that we saw. We decided this was a good day to go to the Two Oceans Aquarium (Atlantic and Indian). We had coupons for a discount from our Hop On bus. The aquarium is small considering there are two oceans to draw from. The Indian Ocean displays were so negligible we had not realized we had seen them and had to go back again. After having been to the aquariums in Monterey, New Jersey, and most recently Lisbon, this was a major disappointment. While we were there, we decided to check out the craft stores there at the Waterfront that we had not checked out yet. We did find a pillow cover that we really liked and decided it could easily make a small wall hanging. We had a beer at the microbrewery and then bought a bottle of wine. We had been invited to Patricia and Don’s for dinner again with some friends who were interested in language acquisition. There were plenty of taxis, but so many of the roads were still closed at 5:30 due to the parade, it was tough going getting back to the house. This was our most expensive taxi bill of 100 Rand ($15.60) with a tip. When we finally made it back, we napped until dinner. The guests were Vernon and his girlfriend or wife, I am not sure. There was also a stag woman, so 7 people total. Vernon was extremely impressive with his knowledge of Lozanov and Suggestopedia. He had read a book on Super Learning and continued to investigate it from there. He is an architect and studies languages as a hobby, currently it is French. The conversation, food, and company were fantastic. It was a wonderful end to the day.

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