Thursday, January 28, 2010


Hello all
I finally had the motivation I needed to start writing this thing, I WAS ALMOST ATTACKED BY A BIRD ON THE TRAIN YESTERDAY!!! It was life changing so I have decided to start this blog. I've been in Cape Town for over a week now and am absolutely in love.

This post will not be pretty, but I wanted to post some pictures and update you guys a little bit-- please keep in mind I am a science major not an english major.

The first picture is the dorm that I stayed in for orientation. It is called Grasa Michelle after Nelson Mandela's wife. We stayed here for the first 4 days of orientation before moving into my house. I dont have a picture of the house yet, but it is great. There are two houses on one property, the other house has 11 people and mine holds 9. I have a great single room on the second floor looking out onto table mountain.

The second picture was from the waterfront, a really touristy upscale area with old buildings and great views. This is also the departure location for the ferry to Robben Island, the prison where Mandela was held. Also by the waterfront is World Cup central. They just expanded their stadium, and we got to attend the opening game of the stadium, which was a match between two South African club teams (see picture).
Another picture, I think they are out of order now, is of a building in one of the townships about 10 min outside the nicer neighborhoods of Cape Town. This picture is of a community center type building with some HIV/AIDS awareness grafitti. We visited two volunteer sites located in townships. One was in Kayleecha, which is the largest township, which 'houses' about 1,000,000 people. Visiting the townships undoubtedly makes an impact on everyone because the "houses" are just pieces of metal thrown together, with no running water or electricity, and people and animals just wandering around. At the same time, many of the students I have talked to have come from the townships, and although they admit they were lucky to make it out of the townships, they loved them. So, it is an interesting contrast between the great communal aspect of the townships and the lack of opportunity within them. There is apparently a great township braii (barbeque stand byob that cooks you huge bowls of meat, and is apparently a 6 hour ordeal-- I'm going on sunday) that has now been added to my list of destinations (Grandma aparently Jamie Oliver visited this braii on food tv).

So many elements of the city are odd juxtapositions. This divide between extreme poverty in the townships and extreme wealth at the waterfront. There is no real middle class. As you drive past downtown, the skyscrapers are backdropped with a mountain, and you ask yourself what is out of place, the mountain or the skyscrapers. UCT as a great university, but then still does registration by waiting in ques to get courses approved and then standing in another line for 'data capturing' where they enter your classes into the computer. It is an example of the classification of the country as both first world and third world.
A couple of favorite words thus far...
- Robot for street light
- Hump zebra(cey-brah)for speed bumps (deriving from the fact crosswalks are called zebracrosses)
The most commonly used words, possibly used more than the word like in the US...
-Keen- everyone asks, "Are you keen to hang out tonight?" or keen to go do dinner, or keen to leave, or keen seems the possibilities are endless.
-Dodgy- Usually for dive bars.
-Howsit?- instead of whats up
-Is it?- "no way"
Orientation has been keeping us pretty busy, but I have gone surfing multiple times, and have been exploring little towns around Cape Town. I went to a concert for a band named Goldfish who were really good, and the convert was at a venue at Camp's Bay at sunset which is beautiful (photo included). Today I hiked around Table Mountain, and then explored City Bowl. Yesterday I surfed. The day before we went on a peninsula tour, where they took us to see the penguins, and we hiked out to the Cape of Good Hope (the farthest point South West of Africa- they used to think it was the furthest point South), and a couple of other stops including a township where a group of kids danced and which was incredible.

Ok well that was really long, but still feels really incomplete. I love it here. The people are so friendly and interesting, everywhere you turn seems like it should be on a post card, there is an infinite amount of stuff to do and things to explore.

I am going to try and keep up better with this, I just got behind in the beginning. Pictures from the peninsula tour and hiking and my house to come soon!

As they say here, Cheers.

No comments:

Post a Comment