Better late than never, right?! I apologize for not posting my happenings immediately. My last few days were kind of crazy and I’ve been trying to get settled back in Ithaca. Luckily, I wrote down everything I did everyday in Africa…
Day 13 (Thursday): This was my last day of school. After administering more tests, I went to the local cafe, Delish, to document the DRA results. Immediately after ordering, however, we were informed that the teachers (in my opinion, irresponsibly) let their students out early without warning. The four of us that were at Delish rushed to school last-minute to tutor fifth graders that were asked to stay after school. After I tutored a fifth grader, my assigned two sixth graders, Iron and Siphosethu, came, and I tutored them as well. I didn’t mind the last-minute call to school because it meant I could teach more before I left the program! I wrote Iron and Siphosethu letters in their journals and said my parting words to the school.
Afterwards, we all went to a live jazz show in Cape Town at The Crypt, a local jazz bar/ restaurant, which was pretty cool. I was kind of hoping for more of an African influence, but it was still great!
Day 14: We hiked up Table Mountain, which also has the option of a cable car to the top of the mountain. At the top, there’s a cafe and gift shop and an incredible view. Afterwards, we went to Camps Bay to watch the Spain vs. Netherlands match and eventually made out way to Long Street. It was an incredible game, with the Netherlands winning 5-1. I unfortunately lost my iPhone during the night, and I’m pretty sure someone pick-pocketed me. When I found out it wasn’t with me, I immediately called it using someone else’s phone and it was turned off. “Find My iPhone” was also disabled. What a buzz-kill!
Day 15: Since cage-diving was cancelled (yet again) due to bad weather, I made last minute plans with Stephen to go to the Old Biscuit Mill Neighborhood market. I bought a lot of handmade goodies and they had an incredible food market. We had barbecue steak sandwiches, Belgium pancakes, French macarons, fresh fruit smoothies, and a mushroom kabob. Afterwards, we went to the Two Oceans Aquarium, which was huge. On the car ride back, the taxi driver gave me a hard time. He spoke about how once Nelson Mandela was elected, he resigned from being a high school biology teacher, claiming that, with the loss of corporal punishment, the students would lose all respect for their teachers. But based on how he was yelling and screaming at me once I got in the taxi, I don’t know if he had the right idea of respect. He made me so uncomfortable and, while making eye contact with me through the mirror, made a highly offensive comment on China. He talked about how corrupt the politics in South Africa have become and that Mandela was the reason for the decline in economy in Cape Town. I’m sure he isn’t the one person to think these things, and I’m sure he has reason to believe what he does, but from his previous interactions with me, I just wasn’t feeling it. I packed up my things shortly after and after having Greek food for dinner, I attended my last poetry night with the cohorts, where we watched really well-done spoken word. The last one resonated with me. I’m not sure who performs it, but it’s called “Knock Knock” and the person is very emotional. We also talked about the comparisons between Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr., and how their goals and methodologies were completely different. We watched interviews of each leader, and I noted that the voice of the speakers reflected what their ideals were; Malcolm X spoke very rapidly and with a lot of aggression, whereas Martin Luther King Jr. was very patient and articulate with his words. We talked about my taxi driver from earlier that day and how corrupt the ANC has become (Note to Self: Look into this more). We talked about “Lollipop Moments” (TedTalk), where all your actions have an unknown effect on someone. It is impossible to know the degree to which you change someone’s life. I wish I had written down my thoughts and the thoughts that were shared that night because I can’t even remember most of the ones that I really resonated with. Somehow, the poetry night lasted three hours. I arrived to our new hostel, The Atlantic Point, with Kyla and met a bunch of students from Hong Kong who gave me brownies and ice cream!
Day 16: I woke up and met the cohorts to go on a wine tour. Our tour guide was the nicest and we visited four different vineyards. The first, Fairview, was so cute. We were able to taste six different wines and I ended up buying a bottle of Shiraz and Caldera, both really nice reds. They also offered an amazing selection of cheese to try. I bought so many bottles of wine. They were so cheap and so good. At the hostel, I played games with the group of students from the night before until 4AM! It was fun! We met a few other people at the hostel and watched a little bit of the France – Honduras game.
Day 17: Kyla and I woke up to go on a Cape Point tour. We saw a ton of great views and went hiking. We rode bikes through the National State Park and got to see the penguins at Boulder Beach. There were so many baby penguins that would be SOOO fluffy. Omgsh. They were all so cute. Throughout the tour, we saw traffic signs for baboon warnings. I didn’t see them until we were at Cape Point, when a few baboons actually came up to me. On our drive back, there was a baboon just chilling on the roof of a car. I really really wish I had gotten a picture. After our tour, we met the other cohorts at a local bar in Hout Bay to watch the game. Germany won 4-0! =)
Day 18: I woke up after two hours of sleep to go to the Greenmarket Square with Kyla. We bought so much stuff. After sending Kyla off to the airport, I went to buy mailing boxes for all my souvenirs. I packed at the hostel and went to the postal office in a place called Woodstock, one of the developing areas outside of Cape Town. After 45 minutes of waiting in line and another 45 minutes of paperwork, the postal worker told me my credit card wouldn’t be accepted if it wasn’t South African…even though it was a Visa international card. It was SO frustrating. I didn’t really know what to do at that point and I was so frustrated at the guy because he literally went so slowly while he worked. He would take breaks to drink coffee when I was at the window with him, and he would be texting the entire time. He started laughing at me when I was showing signs that I was getting pissed off. Anyway, I went to the airport afterwards and it was funny, because I checked in two bags, and the guy winked at me and said, “If you’re paying with cash, checking in your luggage may be less expensive”. I didn’t understand what he was getting at for like, five solid minutes, and kept arguing that I was paying with credit. It wasn’t until after I went through security when I realized that he was trying to get me to pay him. Haha! I had my first Toblerone bar (yum!) on the plane. My first flight to London was a like, a 13 hour flight and because I didn’t sleep the night before, I’m pretty sure I slept 12 hours. I don’t even remember taking off and then I woke up when they were making an announcement that landing would be in an hour. It was crazy. No wonder why I was so jet lagged coming back.