An impressive experience
05.29.2011 60 °F
Greetings from Cape Town!
Today is my first full day in South Africa and my trip has started off wonderfully! I am living in an 8 bedroom house with 9 Dutch students and 1 Canadian at the moment. There is also a small hutch/shed attached to our house where a man from Malawi lives, apparently he does maintenance for all of the intern housing but the dutch boys are absolutely hilarious whenever he walks into our kitchen or any part of the house. Our house is in the subsection of Observatory and my back yard is literally Table Mountain, just see for yourself below! Cape Town itself it absolutely breathtaking and I apologize because I know that none of my photographs will do any justice to this beautiful city.
As many of you know I am terrified of flying, which brings me to how I go to Cape Town. I began my journey with a 15 hour flight from JFK to Johannesburg, South Africa. As I got to my seat on the very large plane I saw that every seat had a blanket, pillow, and a small plastic goody bag that contained socks, a sleep mask and tooth brush with tooth paste. As we took off the seat belt signs went off and you were free to walk about and the tv screens that every passenger had in front of them turned on. Throughout the flight I watched No Strings Attached, The Dilemma, half of Over The Hedge and various songs they had from very good artists! I think the best part of the flight had to of been the food, I would never have expected that airplane food would be so good but I was very pleasantly surprised. The only uncomfortable part of the flight was at hour 13 and as soon I though how uncomfortable I felt they brought out breakfast! They also will provide you with as much alcohol as you want, free of charge! I had a very pleasant white South African couple that sat the left of me and an extremely charming man from Ghana who is now a professor in Botswana who sat to the right of me. Overall wonderful experience and I did not feel scared or uncomfortable at any moment. When I got off the plane I had about an hour and a half layover where I had to fetch my luggage, which was about 20 kilos overweight and I ended up having to pay extra, damn shoe addiction! As I was attempting to get my luggage from the conveyor belt in Johannesburg a man with a suit and ID grabbed it and helped me with my cart and through customs, as he was pushing the cart with my luggage I could only think that he did not in-fact work for the airport and he was trying to kidnap me, thankfully that was not the case. When I went to give him the only small USD I had a $5 which I thought was very generous he began to barter with me and ask for "at least $10". I got rid of him quickly and went on to check in with the Domestic terminal for my flight from Johannesburg to Cape Town which was just under 2 hours. That flight was awful! I am not sure how I was so content on a 15 hour flight and short flights terrify me but my fear of flying came right back to me. Perhaps it has something to do with the size of the plane, whatever the reason I need to get over it asap! I flew South African airways and they were absolutely amazing. A very interesting part of the flight was the logo of a silhouette of an African man/woman with an enormous behind.
As soon as I arrived I was greeted by a very nice young man who works for the company Xchange that I used. We waited in the terminal about a half hour for Tavinia, a girl who arrived from Mauritius. He then took us to both of our houses to drop off our luggage then to get set up with our international phones and grocery shopping. It was a great experience but also very long and exhausting! When we got back I met some of my roommates and unpacked a bit. We had dinner and everyone was headed to a local bar (sorry I don't remember the name) that was a very short walk and we watched the Barcelona-Manchester match. I was originally just planning on staying in and going to sleep but the Dutch are extremely nice people and after being asked three times I decided to go! It was very lively and the bar reminded me a lot of a hipster bar in America, it was very funny explaining what the word hipster meant to the Dutch students.
Of course with any foreign country you visit there will be many differences, and although Africa as a whole is a third world country Cape Town in much more modernized. The amount of similarities as well as differences have been very shocking and exciting, I will blog about that next!