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During my travels newspaper columns were published weekly in the Dutch daily newspaper
Dutch newspaper Spits

This project has been supported by these great and warmhearted companies:
Netherlands: Paping Buitensport, ODLO, IPtower.nl, AVRO Dutch Broadcasting Org., Travelcare, TunaFish, Book A Tour, StadsRadio Rotterdam; UK: Lazystudent, KissFM, The Sunday Times, The Guardian; Isle of Man: SteamPacket/SeaCat; Ireland: BikeTheBurren; Belgium: Le Temps Perdu, Majer & PartnersAustria: OhmTV.com; Norway: Scanrail Pass, Hurtigruten, Best Western HotelsSouth Africa: eTravel, British Airways Comair, CapeTalk, BazBus Spain: Inter Rail, Train company Renfe; Australia: Channel 9 Television, Bridgeclimb, Harbourjet, SeaFM Central Coast, Moonshadow Cruises, Australian Zoo, Fraser Island Excursions, Hamilton Island Resort, FantaSea Cruises, Greyhound/McCafferty's Express Coaches, Aussie Overlanders, TravelAbout.com.au, Travelworld, Unlimited Internet, Kangaroo Island SeaLink, Acacia Apartments; Malaysia: Aircoast; Canada: VIA rail, Cedar Springs Lodge, BCTV/GlobalTV, St. George Hotel, VICKI GABEREAU talkshow, Ziptrek Ecotours, Whitler Blackcomb Ski Resort, Summit Ski & Snowboard Rental, High Mountain BrewHouse, Cougar Mountain Snowmobiling, Whistler Question Newspaper, Snowshoe Inn, First Air, Nunanet.com, Canadian North Accommodations by the Sea, DRL Coachlines Newfoundland, The National Post and Air North.


Reports

Wednesday, 17 October 2001
Welgemoed, Cape Town --> Stellenbosch (SA)

I had to explain my hosts in Welgemoed that there is no war going on against the complete muslim population on our earth and discussed about these events in the world with my new hosts in Stellenbosch.

All together quite a political day, but ending with drinks in a country pub and ladies in both arms... But what is that gossipping on the messageboard??

After waking up I had breakfast with the Croucher family and updated my website for as much as possible.

Also behind the screens of this website a lot of things are taking place and the results are making my backup team and me quite happy. I am just not allowed to publish about it yet…(keeping up the curiousity, ain't I?)

With tea and biscuits on the table I landed in a very heavy discussion with Brian and Anita about the current situation in the world, while CapeTalk radio spoke about a suspicious case of white powder in Claremont.

(Sometimes I think that if you listen to this news too much, your mind goes blank…).

Of course they asked for my opinion about this and I totally disagree with what is happening right now. It was Ghandi who said: “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind” and things just don’t work the way they are handled now.

I kind of felt sorry for Brian Croucher who believed it is a war against all muslims. That scared me and I told him what IS going on and against who this so-called war is: aggressive fundamentalist muslims. The muslim down the street has nothing to do with it. And I am afraid not many people know that bit of information…

I explained to the family how the aggressive fundamentalist muslims minds’ might think, what their reason is to be so anti-American (and I have published about that before) - according to what I learned about it.

The aggressive fundamentalist muslims think that their culture in under pressure by the constant capitalistic stream of products and thoughts brought to them by non-islamic countries and they fear that they will loose their identity if they don’t fight for it.

And if you know ask: why fight and not just talk?
Maybe US-president George W Bush has an answer for that…

If we had respected different cultures in the past, wars would never happen this fast.

Brian disagreed with the fact that women have to wear a khimar which covers the hair, the ears and the bosom. But that just is the islamic culture.

It’s just as much a tradition as we wear shorts, expose our legs and have our hair done. For them that objects their thoughts.

If we don’t understand each other, we can’t result in respecting each other and will just stay restless in our simple-mindedness. And that counts for any culture on this planet…

    I guess lots of people are right, travelling the world makes me get many strong opinions and can’t help sharing them… I just need to share information about facts like this… Comments are welcome on the messageboard.

    A journalist who interviewed me recently, and revealed to me that he is muslim, wanted to know what my advice is to The World if I had to use only three words.

    Forget the high-mindnedness of this question, but I answered with: communication, understanding and respect. Without sharing thoughts with each other, we will never be able to understand things or have respect for the differences we have.

Again, the Croucher family gave me enough time on their computer to do my writing and emailprocessing, before Malcolm drove me to my next destination.

In the end of the afternoon I finally left the Cape Town suburbs in exchange of Stellenbosch, the second oldest town in South Africa.

Stellenbosch is famed for its Cape Dutch buildings, university and wines. The small town lies in a fertile valley surrounded by vineyards, orchards and mountains. It is an academic and farming community and one of the best-preserved towns in South Africa.

Malcom dropped me off on the corner of the Kerk street and Rijneveld street and I thanked him, and through him his parents, for letting me stay at their place in Welgemoed.

It was on that street corner where I met the street security officer Philip, an old and friendly man who secured the street and the shops and walked around with a rubber baton. My tonight’s host Carinus Lemmer asked him to keep an eye on me when I would arrive.

Therefor Philip took me up the nearby building, as Carinus was’t be home yet, where I met Richard and Michael. Michael is the flatmate of Carinus and was on the run for their home business. I was left behind with Richard, who is also a guest of Carinus and Michael.

Richard was intrigued about my project. He is a well-travelled guy too. He has been travelling around Northern America for about six years and worked at summer camps and organised outdoor activities.

Around 7pm Carinus and Michael arrived back to their home. Carinus has a great rastafarian hairstyle and I found out that I was in the company of a lot of well-travelled people here.

Carinus has been travelling a lot in his life, he even walked and roamed on foot from the North Cape in Norway all the way to the South Cape of Africa.

He found out about me after reading an article about me heading to South Africa on ITweb, his daily news source. He enjoys to read about the places where he has been too, but we both experienced it differently. As he slept under railroad bridges, I stay in the homes of people who invited me.

And he has been following me around since then, of course also to find out what I would do if something went wrong. Until now I didn’t really have any big negative experiences, but he had been robbed and mugged several times during his travels.

Carinus and Michael both run a small business, called Upstart WebBuilder. They offer website-building solutions for companies and personal users, which reaches beyond having to rely on expensive graphic designers, programmers, developers and webmasters.

Carinus explained to me how a new owner of Upstart-site can do updates on websites on his own and only needs the basic skills in PC’s and the ability to work online. They have invested two years of their time in their business to complete this special software and they seem to be very busy with the exploitation.

During dinner we all are were accompanied by their friends André and Frederik. André just scattered out in loud laughter when Carinus told him about my job, Letmestayforaday.com. He just couldn’t believe the simplicity of the idea. But I did sit in front of him. I was here in South Africa!

During the delicate fish stew that Carinus had prepared, most conversations were about me and my project as I was asked the usual questions, but ended with a prolific discussion about world events and why things happen.

It was very enticing how everybody appeared to have different conclusions but that everything that was said was unruffledly ventilated.

After dinner - the clock was already going for 10pm – the whole group took me on to country pub and restaurant De Akker, a very popular hangout in Stellenbosch.

Here we drank and talked some more about travelling and about Stellenbosch and how my thoughts about South Africa are enlightening every single day again and again.

We met up with two ex-student ladies, friends of Carinus and Michael. I was told, even by certain hosts of mine in Europe, that I had to be careful with the women in Stellenbosch. Before I’d know it I’d be stuck in this town and my project would strand because of a woman…

So you understand that I had to explain those ladies why I was pretty protective about the Stellenbosch women. With arms around my shoulder they told me that I was safe, not every lady is like those in these stories. Sweat was dripping off my forehead!

It was a fun night out and popular music from the 80’s was being played on the speaker system.

Somewhere this night we got home, all a bit tipsy, but not too much, as we all had to wake up early the next morning. For all of us, business would continue again. Even for me…

Good night Stellenbosch!

Ramon.



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