Monday, January 31, 2011

"Hold on to your goods gurl, you're in the Cape Flats!"'

The above quote was one of the many made during the last two days that was memorably hilarious.

But I'll start at the beginning for your benefit.

So yesterday we did a tour of the Cape Peninsula, which included the long-awaited for penguins (I know, squealllll!), along with a stop at Camps Bay, Ocean View township and the Cape of Good Hope!

Our lovely tour started at 8:00am aboard a charter bus with a guide named Steve Martin (fyi: not related to actor Steve Martin - he informed us of that) who spent the day telling awkwardly funny bad jokes. But was really informative nonetheless.

We traveled right through the city and got to see where Parliament is and the President's house, along with cool historical places like District 6 (look it up, it'll be good for you!), and different beaches and hang-outs to go to.

Side note: I'm pretty sure the Cape Peninsula has more beaches than all of Michigan combined. And these beaches are sooooo much cooler.

Our first stop was Camps Bay:

Our OLs described Camps Bay to us as "the OC of Cape Town", and now I believe them. It's definitely the ritzy part of Cape Town. It's supposed to be a great place to go out at night, although a little pricey, but considering the last time I went out, I ended up spending $20 in US currency on a full night of drinks and bar/club admissions, I think I can splurge every once and awhile (Don't worry Mom and Dad, I'm not crazy spending). Camps Beach is the one you see celebrities lounging/swimming or obviously posing on in People Magazine or Us Weekly. Yeah, I'm definitely going to be stalking that beach a lot!

Anyways, the beach is absolutely gorgeous! We have some time off later this week, and spending a day there is high on the checklist! Also, the sundowners (aka sunsets) are supposed to be amazing there, so my roommates and I have already started planning a picnic there.

Alright, so then we drive further down the Peninsula. I didn't take any pictures from inside the bus, but let's just say that it doesn't get any less beautiful than previously described. Everything is lush and green, and you're either looking at mountains or the ocean. A perfect mixture, if you ask me.


So I forget the name of the actual place we stopped, but it was a national park where African Penguins live. They were sooooooo adorable! Although they did smell a bit. They waddled everywhere and were the laziest/most laid back (depends which way you look at it, I pick most laid back) animals I've ever seen. They barely moved, and when they did they took their sweet time, which makes sense because that's how everyone and everything acts in Africa. All the locals like to explain the chillness and slowness by saying: "We're African." I now explain my spazziness by saying: "I'm American"

Stop #3: Ocean View Township

This was by far my favorite stop! I didn't take any pictures here, but if my friends did I'll make sure to steal some. I'll give you some background for this one. Ocean View Township is made up of people who were forced out of their homes in the 1960s during the apartheid because they were not white. While there's a lot of poverty and crime in the township, there's a lot of amazing things going on there. They made us lunch, which was delicious, although I wasn't able to eat all of it because my appetite still hadn't adjusted to the time difference (Horrible right?? Don't worry, it's back to normal now). My blog title quote is from the lady who MC-ed the event. She had a lot of great quotes that day. Then their youth put on a performance for us. It started with man in drag lip-syncing to "Last Dance" (all I could think was "Welcome....Welcome to Studio Phiiiiiiii." Damn you recruitment!). There was a comedy act, some girls dancing, and a brass band. My two favorites though were both dancers. One was a guy who danced, but was AMAZING. He was wayyyy better than the acts we say on SA's Got Talent. But the winner had to be the little boy who danced to a medley of Michael Jackson. Damn that boy had moves. I have never laughed so much than during those few hours.

After our refreshing show we were back on the bus heading to the Cape of Good Hope.

Yup, that's right. I went to the Cape of Good Hope.

On the way we saw baboons, which I was so excited for! They're all over South Africa, but they're not the cute, medicine-man-wise creatures The Lion King fooled us into believing. Instead they're mean, hungry criminals. Apparently they'll come right up to you if you have food and steal it. If you have a bag, they're more they're more than likely to steal it to see if there's food inside. And in case you ever have a baboon tugging on one end of your bag: LET GO. We've been told they're rather nasty creatures and will claw you to death (or something like that). Apparently they throw your bag away once they find there's no food, but I highly doubt a baboon would be gentle with my camera and phone. Now it's a running joke in our group of friends that if we don't get mugged by a person in Africa, we'll probably get mugged by a monkey.

Okay, on to the Cape.
Not to be completely repetitive, but it was AMAZING and BEAUTIFUL and FANTASTIC.
There really aren't words to describe it.

We ended up hiking up a mountain (it's a common occurance here in Africa) to get an amazing view of where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet.

Sidenote: There's a lot of controversy over where the two oceans meet, some maps say Cape of Good Hope, some don't. Humor me here, it's Cape of Good Hope.

Then we were told that we just needed to walk down to where the buses are. No big deal.

This easy little hike down included steep drops to my death down uneven rock stairs with no railing. When there was railing, it was the side of the mountain. When there were stairs, they moved and had huge gaps between them. You guys know me. To know me is to know I'm am a tad bit clumsy. You can now understand my terror. It didn't help that one of the OLs was behind me joking about falling to our deaths. Oh, and since there were about 400 of us on this here trip, there was a huge line going down the mountain, so me falling would have meant me starting a huge domino effect of people falling and dying. Bad legacy.

As you may have guessed, I made it down safe and sound, if not in need of a shot to calm my nerves (which I didn't get by the way, but I guess water was a better choice in the long run). The Cape was definitely the most beautiful place I've ever been. I used to always say that I loved the mountains and the ocean and I wanted to live somewhere with both. Yeah, Cape Town is that place.

So that concluded our tour. A few of us decided to check out the nightlife in our neighborhood (Rondebosch, in case you feel like Google Mapping it in order to better stalk me) so we went to dinner at a bar Cafe Sofia, which was delicious and had live music (Score!). Of course the "few" of us turned into 30 of us. We are the most obvious international students ever. Hopefully once the UCT kids start heading back for classes, we'll be a little less obvious, but right now we stick out like a sore thumb.

Sidenote: Random change of subject: I still can't believe how cheap everything in Cape Town is! An OL was telling us that people would only spend $10.00 on dinner for a date. A couple of nights ago I had seafood linguine for a total of $8.00. Yeah, and my groceries tonight cost like $16.00, in AA they would have cost at least $30.00. And once I learn how to not get ripped off by people knowing I'm American, all this saving will mean I'll get to do more exciting things while here. (Once again, don't worry Mom and Dad, I'll clear them with you first).

Oh, and just to make all of you the more jealous, we don't start school until February 14th.
This week we have different orientation events going on and registration, but all of next week is free. A travel agency here has all these events planned for next week, like free chocolate and wine tasting (Yes please), Kayaking with penguins (Duh), and wait for it....

Cage-diving with sharks!!!!

I completely plan on cage-diving, although someone said it's better to do in the winter because the water is clearer, so I'll have to ask around.

Also some friends and I are thinking of renting a car and driving the Garden Route (You'll have to look this one up too, I don't remember much about it and I don't want to explain it wrong) which is supposed to be amazing! Along the way is wine tasting, a cheetah reserve (where you get to pet cheetahs!!!! SQUEAL!) and the highest bungee jump from a bridge in the world!!! For spring break we're planning on renting a car and heading to Krueger National Park and Namibia.

To say I'm excited would be the understatement of the century.

Oh also, apparently the week before classes start is O week (or something like that) which is the equivalent to U of M's Welcome Week. We've been told this means massive parties and events all over campus. I'm excited to meet more local South Africans so I can work on my accent (which is sounding less and less Swedish-Indian every time I do it).

Today wasn't too exciting. We had orientation speeches from about 20 people all about UCT and safety and clubs and yada yada. But to make up for the boring day, we got to do an African Drumming workshop, which was THE BEST. (I could give you a run for your money Sarah!) I've decided I want to join an African drumming group, but I think a white, American girl will really stand out in the midst of all the black, African men drumming. Maybe I could be their towel girl...

But now is bedtime. We have more orientation tomorrow and then the beach and then hopefully a brei! Oh, one last sidenote: So there's this thing where I have to pay for internet for megabyte or some computer term like that, so skyping is very expensive. I think my friend said that she video skyped with her mom for 5 minutes today and it cost $8.00. Have no fear though, we have options! Gmail lets me call the US free!!! And I can always skype without the video. Although I did meet a guy today who's house has free unlimited internet. I'll get right on becoming his new best friend!

However, I think most of you will like option #3. Apparently there's free wifi on campus, which means I could skype on campus, but that won't be until school starts on the 14th. But there's the added bonus that you might get to see some of the amazing scenery and even the mountain in the background. Nice trade off, right?

No pictures this time because they're on my facebook!!!! Check them out!

Alright, I started the blog with a quote, so I'll end it with one from the same woman.

"You've got places to go, people to see, and baboons to do."


  1. Ah! I am so friggin' jealous of absolutely everything. Let's trade lives, okay?

    But one thing: I cannot imagine you cage diving with sharks. Aren't sharks related to crocodiles/alligators?

    Love you! And watch out for those baboons! (Didn't Rafiki steal something at some point in the movie?)


    We have a similar rule about being mugged, but that one is that if someone on a motorcycle snatches your purse, you should let go because they'll just drag you along behind their motorcycle if you don't. Not quite as cool as a baboon scratching you to death.

    You are doing so many amazing things! I'm so proud of you! Especially for not dying on the cliff! Also, I TOTALLY Wikipedia'd District Six per your advice. Def worth it.