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Sunday, November 14, 2004

We went to the Albin Polasek museum with the homeschool group yesterday. I've driven past it a million times and thought it looked interesting, but I'd never actually been into it till yesterday. It was lovely; the tour was fascinating, the kids got to do an art activity afterwards, and I discovered that it's free to picnic in the gardens there. It's very pretty : sculptures scattered across green lawns, shady trees, the blue lake ... It'll make a nice picnic outing with the in-laws one day next month.

Here's Soph making her flag. She is such a happy person.

Today we went to Animal Kingdom. Didn't enjoy it that much though; Disney seems to have lost its magic for us. I think we take all the glossy thoroughness and efficiency for granted these days, so that it just seems plastic and fake to us. The safari ride, for example ... I mean, their slogan is "Nahtazu" (not a zoo, get it?) but really, it is just a zoo. Nicely landscaped, mind you. But it is a zoo, and not that big of a zoo either. It's just so ... so Disney, to be able to see the Big 5 in 5 minutes flat.

We got off the safari ride, feeling rather jaundiced about it all, to discover someone selling Zulu baskets in one of the Disney shops just beyond the ride. Attractive baskets, the kind you can buy along the side of the road in KZN for a few rand each. And this woman was selling the smaller ones for fifty five dollars each . I couldn't believe my eyes. I asked her whether the people who made them benefited from the sales here, hoping that they were getting a fair percentage. But from what she said, it seems like she just goes over there every few months, buys a bunch of baskets, and brings them back here. I asked her exactly what proportion of the profits the women who actually make the baskets receive, and she got incredibly defensive, said they were happy to sell them, that she gave them a fair price, and that she couldn't divulge business figures. Yeah right. So she's buying the baskets for the going rate there and then selling them on to tourists at a staggering profit. Pretty sad. If she went about it ethically, it could be a really worthwhile business : one that helped local women and provided quality goods for sale over here.

We got Chinese take-out for supper tonight, and ate it in front of our latest arrival from Netflix : a BBC production called Manor House. The producers enlisted modern day people to recreate Edwardian life for three months, with a wealthy family living upstairs in the huge manor house, being waited on hand-and-foot by the servants who lived downstairs. It was absolutely fascinating to see how quickly the "masters" started taking their privileges for granted, and to see how little insight they had into the lives and feelings of the "servants". Watching the show made me very grateful that we live in a more egalitarian society these days.

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