So it’s coming up on the next few weeks and I’m in awe of my list of things I still need to do… or want to do again. Hiking Devil’s Peak is going to be necessary, as well as a list of museums I haven’t been even near yet. I am done with two finals already, with one more to go, and all my final papers (which are totally irrelevant in terms of percentage) are handed in. This week is going to be a week of doing everything that Cape Town has to offer that I haven’t yet done (if I can even attempt to fit them all in!).
This week there have been some magnificent sunsets over the mountain, which I can thankfully see from my dorm room. It’s like the city is saying goodbye to all of us, sappy I know, but it reminds me about the beautiful parts of this country. It’s going to be weird to wake up every morning and not see a huge mountain outside my window (instead it will be the National Cathedral when I walk to school, not really complaining).
Other than that, I’m also appreciating the cultural and political side of the city. My advanced SA politics class has made my hyper aware of somethings, such as opinions of the ANC and Zuma, as well as the affirmative action here. This is especially relavent at UCT, where there have been race debates on whether or not race should be a proxy for acceptance. A South African friend of mine once said that Americans know what’s going on in Africa more than the Africans (not true at all), but I think that’s only reflective of the interest in the similarities and differences between our politics. Our affirmative actions are similar, yet different, since in the United States it’s regarding minority groups, and in South Africa it’s the majority that has been oppressed. Here’s a demonstration by SASCO, a student organization, to keep race a proxy at UCT.
My favorite debacle to follow at the moment is the Zuma painting scandal. Here’s a link to an article that shows the original painting before it was vandalized “to prevent a civil war.”
The painting, called “The Spear,” showed Zuma in a business suit with a certain appendage hanging out of his pants. It was then vandalized, paint smeared over the offensive area. Zuma is a controversial figure already and fighting to protect his dignity versus freedom of expression has been an interesting debate, especially considering Zuma’s history.
Other than that, I’ve really been doing a food and drink tour of Cape Town. Sushi, Ethiopian Food, Hout Bay Market, and of course Old Biscuit Mill. We also did high tea at Mt. Nelson Hotel! Well, we really just did the breakfast version, which was still lovely (and so filling!).
I am now in freak out mode for leaving. I am not sure if it’s leaving Cape Town or going back to America. Until then, I am going to keep smiling and enjoy my last two weeks… and hopefully survive my last exam!
What I thought I looked like,
What I actually looked like,
Yet again, South African internet and Chinese internet battle for the hardest thing for my American self to deal with. I tend to just feel super disconnected from the rest of the world without it, which I know is a dreadful thing in retrospect, but alas. I now waste most of my money at Coco Cha Chi for internet, since I hit my internet cap in a record 7 days this month. :) But anyways, that would explain the lack of blog posts. Last I was talking about Victoria Falls, but I’m going to mix this up and just make it “That Time Caitlin Jumped Off Some High Things.”
So for all those who know me personally, I have been dying to bungee jump since… well since I could articulate to my mother that I had no survival instincts. South Africa is home to the world’s highest bridge bungee jump and Victoria Falls was in the news last year for when a girl’s chord snapped on her second bounce. Now, I didn’t do the bungee at Vic Falls, but I did do the gorge swing, which I’ve been told is better than the bungee there and definitely has a longer free fall.
The girls that went before Ashley and I were crying, but I’m not sure I ever really stopped smiling. This was my first experience with free fall, I was a little worried I would hate it. False. Finally being able to jump off something was a huge sense of fulfillment.
So, I knew I was going to love the Bloukrans jump. HOWEVER, Bloukrans is so much higher. It is 216m above the river (it looks nothing like a river). I have been dying to this since I signed up for the Cape Town program. We did it during our Garden Route weekend. Thankfully, my friend Gina was freaking out, which kept me from freaking out as well. You get to watch the jumps from a pub across from the bridge before you go- I’m not sure if that helps the nerves at all. Anyways, Gina did hers and came up with a smile on her face right before mine. Everyone who works there is so great… although they told me to stop dancing and listen to their safety issues. I’m excited to try and go back (the second time you can go backwards!)
This may be my favorite tourist thing I have done in South Africa so far. However, it’s back to the grindstone. I told myself I wanted an academic semester in Cape Town, and I am at the point where research papers are happening. American University just graduated, and I don’t even have my last final until June 5th! I miss US academics though, it’s a weird thing to want at the moment. Advanced South African Politics still has proven to be my most difficult class. I definitely think of the world in international relations terms; I am horrible at domestic politics.
So back to the every day life in Cape Town: trying to deal with racism, sexism, poverty, and crime, while loving the friendliness of the people here, the beauty of the scenery, and the chance to have a new adventure.