Bye South Africa 😦
We went horseback riding in the morning. My horse kept trying to eat everything but it was fine because I understood where he was coming from. It was really windy and cold but the beach was so beautiful it was fine. We had lunch in the farm village near the Team House and everything was expensive since it was for retirees.
We had our last dinner with at the Gold restaurant. The dinner was incredible even though I accidentally ate red meat because I just really wanted that lamb and ostrich samosa.
We went to church in a township in our ‘respectable church clothes,’ as Prosper would say. The people in the church were extremely welcoming and I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of hugs I received. I thought it was interesting that I enjoyed the greeting portion of church because I normally strongly dislike greeting my neighbor and will awkwardly stand and stare at one chair about two to four rows up. I enjoyed the sermon until the pastor started talking about becoming a billionaire, but I also think that money should not really be discussed in church.
The walking tour was over all uncomfortable. I didn’t really enjoy going into people’s homes as they were relaxing on a Sunday afternoon, especially after I saw our guide slip a women 20 rand before showing us her other room.
For dinner we went to a seafood restaurant in Simon’s Town, which was nice because we weren’t able to do out original excursion in Simon’s Town due to the bush fire. This dinner so far has been my favorite part of the trip because we were having such a genuinely good time with good company and good food.
The day started with a nice and easy cable car ride up Table Mountain. I didn’t know that it was one of the New Seven Wonders of the Natural World so it was nice being able to mark off a third new wonder I’ve traveled to. The view was indescribable and there was absolutely no clouds which was amazing.
Xavier then drove us to Bo Kaap. I don’t know if it was planned that we could catch the Happy Boys parade or if it was just a coincidence but I was glad we did. It was nice seeing so much energy and happiness being blasted down a small street. I was intrigued to find that there were eleven mosques in Bo Kaap, but it was nice that the community has a variety of mosques to choose from. I liked that our guide said because started painting their houses as an expression of joy after Mandela was released from prison in 1994, even though I think there’s pictures of the painted houses before that but what do I know?
The highlight of the day was the Malay cooking class. Being in someone’s home and having them explain and teach you part of their culture was amazing. I especially appreciated the mini recipe book she gave us with a little packet of spices. Like I already said, I know she does that for every group but I felt so special.
Today was rather uneventful compared to the other days of this trip. We rode the van for two hours to get to Aquila Private Game Reserve and about 20 minutes in I realized I had forgotten my phone, but it was fine I really just wanted it to listen to music and I slept most of the way anyways. Breakfast was phenomenal and I’m glad I didn’t sneak more fruit from the house. The actual game drive was great. I saw every animal I wanted to see, but then again I just wanted to see elephants and lions…I’m pretty easy to please. Lunch at the reserve was also amazing and I wish I ate more but it’s fine because I had an amazing massage with Christy in the couples room, where we learned each other’s last names.
We started off the day with a tour of Parliament. I’m not going to lie, I was not able to remember most of what our tour guide said because he talked so fast about something I already don’t understand. I did appreciate how he compared the South African Parliament to American Congress so we could better understand how Parliament works but, again, I don’t even really understand congress.
The tour of the District Six museum was good. It’s always interesting to hear people’s personal stories and it really makes me realize how recent the apartheid was.
Despite the historical context behind the District Six Museum, the best part of the day was hiking Lion’s Head. The first part was excruciating and unnecessarily long but once we hit the rock scrambling portion my body was ready to go, until we had to use the chains to climb, then I almost cried and puked at the same time because I was not build for adventure or the outdoors. But I made it!
Overall, today was a nice and slow day.
When we stopped by a mall to pick up lunch this morning I found that no matter how many times I see it, I’m surprised by how nearly all the patrons of the mall were white and how nearly all the workers we black. It was also hard to see all the people sitting on the side of the road waiting to be picked up for work. When Prosper explained to us that some people from Zimbabwe who come to South Africa for work will pay bus drivers to get their passports stamped so they don’t have to go back up to the border, I was reminded of the privilege I hold in this world. The Cape of Good Hope was beautiful with the rocks, ocean, mountains and vegetation. I thought it was funny how we all panicked and ran to get out pictures taken quickly as soon as we saw a large group of tourists roll up in buses.
Cape Point was beautiful as well but the walk up to the lighthouse was not cute and my out-of-shape body and knee defiantly struggled, but the view made the pain worth the trip (although it’s making me nervous for our hike up Lion’s Head tomorrow)
The penguins were 100 percent and Kyra and I were surprised that we simply stared at penguins living their lives for what was easily about 40 minutes. The smoke from the bush fire made our penguin pictures yellow but I was more concered about the lungs of the locals. I really hope these bush fires aren’t their heheheh is normal and large, inhaling that amount of smoke and ash even in small increments is extremely detrimental to health. I didn’t realize how serious the fires were until we drove by the fires and we could barely see the mountain for even the flames because the area was completely englufed by smoke.
When we got back to the house my eyes were so sore from the smoke I had to close my eyes for a while. I ended up taking a two hour nap though which is fine. After dinner we watched Jenny preform folk music. I found her song Human to be extremely powerful and had goosebumps all over my legs. Her views on being a white South African were new since we had only spoken to black South Africans thus far. I really appreciated how blunt and honest she was about everything from her songs to her political stand point to white privilege.
On our hour long ride to the Waterfront, Prosper was telling us about the history of the road we took. The road was used with prison labor and apparently some of the inmates who were working on the mountain road died and were buried underneath the road. I’m not a spiritual person and I don’t believe in ghosts but I also was not very comfortable with the idea of potentially driving over dead bodies. After an extensive photoshoot we took a ferry to Robben Island.
I was surprised by how short the Robben Island prison tour lasted. However, despite the length I learned a lot from our tour guide about his time on Robben Island and the spirit of the population on Robben Island. The atmosphere of the prison was much different from what I expected, as it was light and airy and I didn’t have the same feeling of stress, anguish, and all around negative energy as I did at Constitution Hill. Hearing our guide say that only four out of 800 men submit to the prison wardens and denounce their membership to the ANC provided a sense of hope and inspiration that stayed with the group the rest of the tour.
On our way back we picked up Lionel Davis and had dinner and a talk with him. I wish I had a video of his talk because I don’t think I was quite able to process it all at once. I was completely captivated by his story and truly admired his passion and resilience. I know Trump’s inauguration and the apartheid aren’t really the same thing but between our tour guide from Robben Island and Lionel Davis, I’m more motivated than ever to attend the March on Washington.
I think I’m going to have to change my topic because I don’t feel as if I got enough information at Robben Island 😦
Also I’m still not over the car parks with their umbrellas, they’re so practical and innovative.
Our last morning in Johannesburg started wonderfully, since we were able to sleep in. After breakfast, the hotel’s chef Chester taught us three words in Afrikaans, but the only one I remember is lekker.
After Prosper dropped us off at Arts on Main he went to go buy a camo shirt from a store we had passed a few days before that still had an apartheid sign over it. Fortunately for Prosper, they were out of stock. When we entered Arts on Main, I was suprised to see such a ‘hip’ place in Maboneng. I was honestly expecting a few photo galleries and wire sculptures, instead we were greeted by food vendors, art galleries, and handmade crafts. The whole building gave off a very Chelsea Market/Urban Outfitters vibe.
Walking around Maboneng with my girls, while taking advantage of every photo opportunity, I noticed the stark difference between Maboneng and the surrounding neighborhoods in Johannesburg. Maboneng was incredibly artsy and bougie and held everything from vegan gelato to a pair of boys in matching outfits flexing for instagram but only a few blocks over people were living on the roofs of office buildings.
Our flight to Cape Town was pleasant because I knocked out and only woke up long enough to eat. We met Xavier at the airport and he drove us to the Team House. I don’t think I’ve ever been somewhere as beautiful as Cape Town before.
Today we visited the the former home of Trevor Huddleson and the surrounding town. i was surprised to learn that his gynecology practice was in his home, although I’m sure that was very convenient for him. I liked the story we learned in the house of a white woman who was having an affair with a black man and had a child with him, then changed her race to black so she would not have had to be separated from her child. I also found it interesting that Louis Armstrong donated a trumpet to one of Sopiatown’s local jazz bands.
We were supposed to take a walking tour of Sophiatown but since it was pouring rain, we just drove around the neighborhood instead (and I did not complain). When our guide told us we could see a remaining wall of the movie theater Nelson Mandela held some of his secret meetings in, I was honestly a little disappointed because I thought there was going to be a more left to the theater than the wall, mainly because I could not tell if the wall was the fence surrounding the new house or if was part of the house. However, I really enjoyed seeing the church were there was a portrait of Trevor Huddleson has a black man and the rocks that Mandela broke at Robben Island.
When we visited Liliesleaf Farm after being able to change out of our wet socks, I found myself intrigued by the history that was made on the farm. From the plotting of the rebellion and the mass arrests, I was happy to be provided the opportunity to walk where such a significant part of South African history took place.