Monday, April 11, 2011

“If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water”

So I guess that this is the point where I begin to fall behind on my blog… It was bound to happen at some point.  These past two weeks have been pretty busy and eventful.  My mom and Steve came to visit for a week and we did a ton of stuff in a short period of time- I think they saw the majority of the city and the main sights though.  We went up Table Mountain in the cable car one day, and the next day it was raining (one of the only times it has rained since we’ve been here) so we went to the aquarium and walked around there.  When we left the aquarium we saw a bunch of wild seals just sunning themselves on the dock outside, which was definitely cool.

Seals on the dock outside the aquarium

Then we went on a wine tour to Stellenbosch (my 3rd wine tour- I’m getting pretty good at drinking wine).  The next day we toured the Cape Peninsula, stopping at Muizenberg, Kalk Bay and Simon’s Town- to see the penguins.  Then we went to Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope (the south-western point in Africa).  We stopped at Hout Bay for dinner on the way home, and then stopped in Camps Bay to watch the sunset over the water.  On Sunday we went to Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens for the last concert of the summer concert series.  The performer was aKing, a rock band that was not really our kind of music so we left after a few songs and came back to the house and had family dinner with everyone in the house.  My mom and Steve had made meatballs and sauce earlier that day and it was so delicious- I missed my mom’s cooking so much!  After dinner they left to go back to their hotel and get ready for their 3-day safari in Kruger.  It was so good to see them and also really great to go out to delicious dinners every night instead of cooking!

On the Beach at Muizenberg

At the Cape of Good Hope

This past weekend was also incredible.  On Friday we had a guest speaker in our Theology class named Mary Burton.  Mary was a commissioner for South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Committee, founded by Archbishop Desmond Tutu to address the atrocities committed during apartheid.  The mission of the TRC was to provide a venue for both perpetrators and victims of crimes to come forward and admit their wrongdoings in an attempt to establish peace.  Mary told us all about her life: she had grown up in Argentina, married a South African man and moved here with him.  She explained that she began doing charity work and then heard about a group called the Black Sash, a group of middle class white women who were fighting for the abolition of apartheid.  Her involvement with the group led to her arrest and made her the subject of police brutality, but she continued her advocacy, hoping to bring about change.  She told us that despite the fact that her husband’s business lost many contacts and clients because of her involvement with the group, he still supported her one hundred percent. 

At the end of apartheid, South Africa was fighting to patch together its citizens and address the issues that faced the country.  Archbishop Tutu recommended the foundation of the TRC, and Mary Burton was nominated by the Black Sash as a commissioner.  She was chosen to be a part of the 17-member committee over 300 other applicants.  She told us about some of the stories she had heard from both victims and perpetrators alike, and listening to her retell these stories and how they affected her was so amazing.

On Saturday the majority of my house piled into the van for the two and a half hour journey to the END.  This was not a trip to the end of Long Island, however.  This end was the end of the continent of Africa!  We drove to Cape Agulhas, the southernmost point in Africa and the meeting place of the Indian and Atlantic Oceans.  It was pretty cool to be standing in two oceans at once.  After taking some pictures we got some lunch and headed to the beach.  While we were walking down the beach we saw a HUGE jellyfish that had washed up on the beach- it must have been almost two feet in diameter and eight or so inches high.  As we continued walking we saw many more huge jellyfish all over the place, and we even saw a few while we were swimming in the Indian Ocean, but no one got stung thank god!  It was funny to me that Cape Town is only a few hours away and there is completely different marine life in the two oceans…magic- hence the quote today- I wrote it down when I saw it at the aquarium with my mom and Steve.

The Southernmost Point in Africa!

Sunday morning we woke up and called the paragliding guy to see if the conditions were okay to fly.  We had already had a reservation to go a few weeks ago and it was cancelled because of the wind, so I was really nervous to call the guy but when I called him he told me it was a perfect day to fly and my friend Alena and I met him at the bottom of Lion’s Head at 12:30 for the hike up the mountain.  We hiked up the mountain in the 85 degree weather and when we finally reached the launching point I was ready for a nap, but we had run off the mountain instead.  Alena went first and I followed, strapped to my instructor, who was in charge of flying.  It was a really amazing experience, we just kind of ran down the side of the mountain and then I realized that there wasn’t any ground underneath me and we were flying!  We flew for about 15 minutes before doing some corkscrew tricks in the air and landing on a big field right next to the ocean.  It was so cool.  After we were done, they drove us to the beach and we spent the rest of the day at the beach with our housemates- yet another fantastic weekend in the life of Katie B.

Ready for Take Off!

Flying Over Camps Bay

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