Brace yourselves people. It has been a crazy week and a half. Last weekend the whole house hiked Lion’s Head in Table Mountain National Park. We ended up making it to the top of the mountain just as the sun was settling over the ocean, a view that made me think of Montauk. It was such a different feeling, however, because I was watching it happen from the top of a mountain, and while it was going down, the full moon was rising over the city in the opposite sky. It was spectacular. Stunning views all around. The unfortunate part of watching the sunset from the top of the mountain is going down. In the dark. With one flashlight between 4 people. Everyone was taking their time going down though, and we ended up meeting some American students doing the Semester at Sea program. One of them was from New Canaan and we had a friend in common… small world.
Saturday, we did our Old Biscuit Mill morning trip and then went to Camp’s Bay to spend the day at the beach. Camps Bay is so similar to the Hamptons, and after being away from it for a little, it felt weird to be back among so much wealth, while knowing that there’s families living in poverty a 10 minute drive away. The wealth disparity among South Africans is second in the world only to Brazil. It is also, ironically, one of the happiest countries in the world. Just another reminder that money can’t buy happiness, but living in one of the most amazingly beautiful places in the world can. I was reminded of this beauty on Sunday when a group of us hiked the famous Table Mountain. We woke up early and hit the trails and hiked up for what seemed like an eternity. We then walked across the whole mountain, passing a few reservoirs and other hikers. We also had lunch on a cliff, which was probably the best view I’ve ever had while eating a PB&J. So cool. We then decided to hike down through the gorge, which seemed like a good idea at the time…. It was exhausting. Perhaps more exhausting than going up. It was so steep, even with the switchbacks, but we all made it down safely, despite our sore legs over the next few days.
This eventful weekend was followed by a eventful week. On Tuesday I had my first rugby practice with UWC. The team was really nice, but they were kind of a mess. They just started their season and have a lot of new girls who have never played, so it was a bit unorganized, but it felt awesome to play again. I missed it so much. In other news, my time at Zimasa is still a little crazy. I still don’t really know what I’m doing there, but the kids are getting to know me, and they’re really starting to open up which is awesome. I walked into the classroom the other day and they started clapping. I loved it. They also have begun to teach me Xhosa when we have spare time, I now know a ton of useless words such as stomach, door, snake, and milk. I told them to teach me whatever words they wanted, and that’s what I got. Maybe they’ll be useful soon…
On Fridays we have our two Marquette classes that are just with the 20 of us. We did presentations in our grassroots class, which were pretty great; mine was on the environmental features of UWC…obviously. Chris cancelled our theology class this week and instead sent us to Kalk Bay to talk to people about their experiences with apartheid. We all got in the van and headed out. As we pulled up in town I knew I was going to like it. It is a small fishing town, with big rusty boats sitting on the water and a bunch of boutiquesand restaurants in the area. It reminded me so much of Montauk, until I turned away from the water and saw the huge mountains behind me. We started our interviews at an old bar called the Brass Bell, which reminded me of The Dock. We figured it would be a good place to ask an old salty fisherman about his experiences, but we ended up talking to a white waitress who didn’t seem to want to talk about apartheid much. On our way to the fishing docks we passed a guy walking with a snoek wrapped in paper and talked to him about his experiences. It was cool hearing stories from people who lived through it. While at the docks we also got up close and personal with some wild Cape Fur seals that were playing in the water by the fish stands begging for food like little dogs. The woman selling fish told us sometimes they jump up on the dock and steal their fish-like seagulls at Gosman’s I guess, but 300-400 pound seagulls. Yikes. The reason Chris sent us to Kalk Bay was because it is also historically important. It was one of the only areas in the country that did not have apartheid. Everyone just continued to live without it, loving their neighbours. Fascinating. Another reason why it’s possibly one of my favourite places ever. I’m moving there. Especially because the town’s initials are KB. It’s destiny.
Sunset from Lion's Head
Moonrise from Lion's Head
Reservoir on Table Mountain
Best Lunch View Ever.
Eating Lunch Over Camps Bay
Alena and I at the end of the hike.