Tuesday, March 4, 2008


*that's 3, for those of you who've forgotten how to count in Afrikaans

It’s been a crazy week here in Cape Town. First, my 21st birthday was by far my best birthday in recent memory. After a day of small celebrations, my friends and I went to the Waterfront for a great sushi meal. We moved the party to a bar that was having live African music, which was the perfect end to a fantastic day. For those of you young enough to have Facebook, my friends have posted pictures of the evening's festivities.

On Friday I had my first surf lesson at Muizenberg, Cape Town’s famous surfing beach. I’ve only surfed once before—years ago in Maui—but I was able to get up and catch a few waves. I’m hoping to surf on a regular basis this semester and I'll update you on my progress. After surfing we rushed to a professional rugby game, the Stormers vs. the Crusaders. Regardless of what I may have previously posted, I have given up on rugby as a sport entirely (this declaration might be viewed as blasphemous to some South Africans as the national rugby team, the Springboks, are the reigning world champions). Besides from being a lopsided game (the final score was 22-0), there were no announcers to keep the stadium interested, and there was not nearly enough violence on the field to keep my attention.

I joined the Mountain and Ski (read: Hiking) Club hoping to get some exercise while seeing South Africa’s stunning sites, so when the club planned a hike up Table Mountain this Saturday, I was really excited to participate. However, mid-hike I realized that as an out-of-shape asthmatic with bad knees, I probably wasn’t going to be the Mountain and Ski MVP (not to mention I was getting over a cold and still sore from surfing the day before). I was misled into thinking that the hike would be a brisk stroll up the mountain, but I could not have been more mistaken. The first part of the excursion was a steep walk up a windy path, which was intense in itself but the easiest part of the hike as a whole. The next section was more of a crawl over large boulders, while the last leg of the hike included legitimate vertical scaling of cliffs. There were some parts of the route that were—at most—2½ feet wide. Let me add that there were no path markers and we traveled by the mantra “when in doubt, go up.” My legs were so cut up by the vegetation that I have started to tell people that I was in a knife fight with a midget. I promise you that I am in no way exaggerating the extent of this expedition. The hike up took over 5½ hours, while the hike across the summit to the cable car (you better believe I took the cable car down) took about an hour. When we reached ground level my friends and I recovered at the beach for the rest of the afternoon. Despite all of this, I had an amazing time—the views from every stage of the hike were breathtaking—and I can’t wait to go on another Mountain and Ski adventure when I can move my legs again.

**Update: Apparently we came in contact with a plant called the Blister Bush during our trek, resulting in bubbling blisters across our legs. The website we checked out said that there is no remedy for the blisters, and that the effects of the bush only present themselves on Caucasians. See, even the plants here are obsessed with race.

It’s almost surreal that I have been in South Africa for a month already. I’ve accomplished so much that I set out to do, and there’s so much more on the horizon. I leave for Botswana and Zambia in just over two weeks, and I’m already trying to figure out how to plan a trip to Madagascar or Namibia in a week during South African civil holidays. Yesterday I visited the children’s home where I will be volunteering and the kids were adorable. So watch this space… much more to come!

1 comment:

Rebecca said...

ayelly! I was just bored for a little (I know, hard to believe I can be bored in this crazy city) and was happy to find an update on your blog! Sounds like things are good, expect one of those mass e-mail updates soon! Miss you tonzzz <3 kup