***This is the second of three posts featuring my recent trip to South Africa. Read the first one, “Love and Penguins on the Cape of Goof Hope” here ***
When my co-worker invited me for an overnight in South African wine country, hosted by an eccentric and generous precious metals miner (we’ll call him “Miner”), I couldn’t tell whether it was going to be the start of a cheesy porn or a bad horror film. But when he mentioned 200 oysters were brought in for the occasion, I didn’t care how precarious the scenario sounded, I needed to GET THERE.
Stingray, my friends and I arrived in a fleet of rental cars at a quaint little compound in the Riebeek Valley north of Cape Town. As if it were the most natural of things, we were led up a set of garden stairs to a beautifully set table decorated with pitchers of lemon-mint water, trays of oysters, fresh salads, a wine station, decadent french-style cheeses, and homemade bread (which I later found out Miner made from wheat from his own farm!). So there we sat, with our new miner friend, passing bottles of wine, sucking down oysters, only taking breaks to play with his dogs and dip our feet in his stone-lined pool.
After gorging ourselves, Miner had us activate our rental car fleet once more to check out his farm several kilometers away. The air was perfect and cloudless. The sun had only just started to pack up for the day, kindly offering another hour of light before heading West. Eager to work off our lunch bellies, we walked like a lazy herd of buffalo along the farm’s single dirt road. We kicked rocks and snapped photos together in desperate attempts to capture the magic of the day, one I don’t ever want to forget.
So to our new, mysterious miner friend: thank you for reminding us that there is so much beauty our earth has to offer, and for showing us how quickly a stranger can become a friend.