June 17, 2008
WELCOME TO CAPE TOWN
I arrived to Cape Town on Saturday, the 7th of June. The first thing I saw upon landing was green. Not just patches of green among concrete like at home, but green encompassing and surrounding the airport. I had only gotten around 2 hours of sleep on the plane but was so excited that I stayed awake, smiling through immigration at every clerk and work and at customs until I spotted my ride to the Green Elephant who greeted me with a loud yell of "REZZZZMAAAA!". In the car with me came 6 people from Northern Ireland with awesome accents and great stories. As we drove towards the hostel, the green was still all around. There weren't many cars on the road as it was early so the ride was pretty quick.
The hostel is on both sides of Milton St. in Observatory with dorms on one side and individual/double rooms on the right side. The workers there are all really nice and helped me get settled rather quickly. After putting away some things I called up Darshan who told me to get ready in 2 hours to head out into CAPE TOWN- specifically to get food and explore. I was still tired and dirty from the 20 hour plane ride and so, showered quickly. Afterwards, I went out to get some things to continue getting settled in and walked around Main Rd. near the hostel which is where I bumped into Darshan. We soon caught a minibus- which is a small that transports people for very little from place to another. Catching one is fun because you have to keep an eye and ear out for the yells of the conductor - "CAPE TOWN CAPE TOWN! WYNBERG!" and run over to them to catch the bus. We headed over to Old Biscuit Mill which has a Saturday market that was filled with all sorts of delicious food and FREE samples (of course I loved this). I didn't have any native South African food as this was mostly tourist directed. In fact, most of the people at the market were not South African but instead American or other European countries.
During the rest of the weekend, I explored various places in Cape Town and found out more about how safe things are in some areas compared to others. I was told not to walk alone at night in the dark- a caution that I had heard many times. I heard stories about people being held at knife point in minibuses and others being mugged by gunpoint. Yes, I was a bit put off and scared after this. I carry a knife around but if someone asks for my money by force, I have no problem handing it over. Regardless, I've learned a lot of caution. No more running in the street and wandering around aimlessly....like I do at home.
Cape Town is surrounded by Table Mountain and everywhere you look, you're able to see it looming above giving the nicest view even in the most dirty parts of the city. There's also a lot of beaches in the city. I've attached pictures of a motorbike ride I took on Saturday morning with one of the guys who works at the backpackers hostel I'm working at. I saw a lot of animals too! - Baboons, darsies, seals (I sat on one too!), and camels (this was a tourist thing....). I made a note of all the places I wanted to revisit such as Muizenberg for surfing, Simon's Town, Seal Island (to see this: Great White Sharks Eating Seals), Robben Island, District Six Museum, and much more. I've been told that it's impossible to see all of Cape Town in 4 months- longer than how much I'm staying.
Posted by Reshma Ramachandran at June 17, 2008 11:11 AM