Leaving cape town

Trip Start Jan 17, 2006
Trip End Apr 28, 2006

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Flag of South Africa  ,
Tuesday, February 21, 2006

DAY 2: Today is the day that we are scheduled to go shark diving. After not sleeping at all last night I was actually quite awake when I ran upstairs to meet my group. The group consisted of E, Richard, Sara, Natasha, Julianne, me and several others who I really don't know. Most of us hadn't slept at all the night before but we were all in good spirits and excited to go shark diving. When we got outside we were picked up by a van and driven outside of cape town for about two hours. We passed a lot of townships on our way out of town and I really was interested in what the townships were really like. I fully planned at that point to go on a township tour but I ended up never having the time or opportunity. When we got to the restaurant we all signed our lives away and were briefed by a scary looking German woman who was very nice but big. She explained how we would go out, put out the chum, and then put on wet suits and enter the cage as our dive master would tell us when to go down because the shark was headed for the cage. She then followed up with the general "we don't control the sharks" speech and said there was no guarantee. We then walked down to the dock and got on the boat with our captain, dive master, and photographer. The seas were really rough and we all had a good time as we headed out hanging on and feeling like we were on a rollercoaster. After going out to sea for about 20 minutes we dropped anchor and we all moved to the front of the boat as the dive master cut open sharks and tuna as the chum. (the smell was rank!) Up at the front of the boat E, Richard, and I entertained ourselves for about an hour until my semi queasiness turned into I think I'm going to die queasiness. For those of you who have never been motion sick be grateful. I felt like I was dying. I moved back into the cabin area of the ship where I was surrounded by fish intestine and so I laid down and covered my face with my sweater and tried to sleep just to make the time pass. At that point I didn't care if I saw anything. I would have gladly paid to go back to the shore. I just kept saying to myself that I was in Africa and I wasn't actually going to die. At the end of 5 hours our dive master asked if we would like to go to seal island since we didn't see any sharks. Of course we all wanted to go so that we could at least get pictures of something. Sara and I were both still pretty under the weather so we came up, took pics, and went back down to brace ourselves and lay down. It was one of the worst experiences of my life and I paid for it. But when it comes down to it it was only a small price to pay to be in Africa and I wouldn't have chosen to be anywhere else in the world. At the same time I was also never happier to see land. When we finally got back to the restaurant we were offered food and drinks and I laid down to try and calm my stomach and nerves. We then headed back early and all agreed to go to the green market when we got back. The green market was interesting. It's a lot like a flea market but different. I really didn't get much while I was there since I planned on coming back. I did get two souvenirs but they weren't for me. It was a lot of fun to be in the market with all of the craftsmen. After running to the market E, Richard, and I decided to run to the actual mall and get groceries before meeting the rest of the group for enmo's pizza. That night we all sat down for pizza, which isn't American style pizza but was still good. As we sat there Steve-O came up and joined us where we were able to hear his mugging story. [Basically he is ridiculous and after getting drunk decided he would walk back, alone, from Long Street to the dock. He was then grabbed from behind and he hit the first guy causing them to hit him back and then they grabbed everything they could from his pockets. He was able to get the one who grabbed his SAS id to give it back to him though and was then stranded in the middle of nowhere. He was also lost at this point and so went to a local gas station and argued with the clerk who told him the next group would kill him since he had no money if he continued alone. He finally convinced the clerk to drive him back to the ship and now has a great, once in a lifetime experience, from south Africa.] After we finished we had a difficult time paying the bill and it ended up taking an hour. (the waitress couldn't figure out what our total was) We then headed back to the ship to get ready to go to the notorious Long St. Long Street is the street that has all the bars and most of the clubs on it. This is where all the SASers were the first night. Unfortunately for us most of the SASers had already left for their safari's so we were surrounded by older local men. It wasn't my idea of a good time and I ended up going back to the ship around 2 with nick who also didn't find it that enjoyable. We were both more than ready to call it a night.

DAY 3: Today I woke up when E called to inform me that she was up and ready to go to the mall. We had originally planned on going sand boarding but decided that a day of relaxation was more suitable. After E called I hurriedly got ready and called Julianne to go with us. We ended up having a blast. The mall is huge and we actually got lost a couple of times. We shopped for around five hours before going to Pride and Prejudice at the theater. (they had a lot of movies that were out in the states when I left) It was so much fun and I actually videotaped the commercials at the movie. After the movie we made another quick run through the mall to get what we hadn't gotten on the first trip and then ran back to the boat to change and head out for dinner. Originally we were going to go in a group and then go back out to a club or long street but E and I decided a quick bite and then bed sounded better. We ended up going to Dodge, a local burger joint, and then we just walked around before heading back to the ship for an early night. (like 1-2am)

DAY 4: Today I woke up to a phone call from Julianne. (I only got myself up once the entire time we were in Africa) We decided to grab a quick bite and then headed to the hospital to volunteer in the childrens unit which is actually a unit full of kids who are there dying of aids. It was a lot of fun although it was a little bit weird. Apparently they don't have a lot of volunteers other than the same people who come every day. The kids wanted a lot of attention and the five year old, Rachel, ended up throwing several temper tantrums because I wasn't doing exactly what she wanted. We got there at a really bad time so we could only see two children for the first hour or so we were there. Then we were allowed to go and see the rest of them in that unit. (there were three separate units just for the kids, this one was up to 12 years old) The others in the unit were the toddlers and they were adorable. My favorite was a little boy whose name I can't pronounce who just kept telling me goodbye and hi. He was two (or at least that's how many fingers he held up when I asked) Julianne was ready to go soon after that and so we headed back to the boat even though I could have stayed until they kicked us out. I think she was a little uneasy because of the father who came in to hold his little girl who was about 7lbs and didn't look like she would make it much longer. Although it was sad it wasn't necessarily depressing unless you made it that way. The kids were a lot of fun and it was easy to look past there diseases. On the way back to the ship we ran into Stephanie who wanted to go sailing and I ended up joining her instead of taking a shower. Sailing was amazing. I took some motion sickness medicine before we left just incase (never again will I be sea sick if I can prevent it) and it ended up being an amazing boat ride. It was the sunset sail and so I got amazing pictures from the ride. We had a blast and when we got back we went to the local sports bar/caffe and ate. The sports bar was more American than anywhere else. They had real ketchup and everything. While we were there the big rugby match between the brumbies and the bulls was on and it was truly a local experience. The place was packed and everyone was cheering and yelling for the south African team. It was so much fun and the food was amazing! When we finally headed back to the ship we just watched a movie and turned in for the night.

DAY 5: Today I ended up going to try and get tickets to Robben Island but unfortunately when we got there they were all sold out. So instead we headed out to a fancy restaurant for lunch and then took a taxi to table mountain. We originally were planning on taking the cable car up (due to my foot) and hiking down but after hiking all over the top decided to simply take the cable car down too. The mountain was amazing. It was possibly the most beautiful view I've ever seen and there was so much to take pictures of. On the cable car the floor rotates so that you can get a view of the city and the mountain the entire way up. It's an amazing photo opportunity and I felt like quite the tourist flashing my camera constantly. After we got back we ended up shopping around the wharf for a while and ran into an outdoor concert promoting a local show coming to the theater in march. It was amazing and I ended up staying behind alone while the group went to get money to exchange. (don't worry cape town, especially by the wharf, is safer than Michigan ave.) The show was over before they got back so I went back to the ship and took a shower before calling steph to go to dinner. At dinner we went to a Mexican restaurant called Cantina Tequila. Steph got the mild tortillas, which were so hot that she couldn't eat them, and I got some nachos which were amazing. We then headed to the apple store to check our email before running into Andrew and Katina just leaving to get a drink. They convinced me to join along and we ended up going to the local sports bar and sharing stories of cape town. [a basic recap of stories: katina- two guides from her safari got fired for drinking too much, two girls slept with the guides, one of whom was married with his wife their and there safari lost power and missed their flight due to misinformation. Steph- Her roommate and Craig are the first to be kicked off the boat for using adoline? And Jay- offered a job as a wine tour guide, got to go to the brumbies vs. bulls match, and saw a man hit on the highway] This tends to paint a bad picture of cape town but in reality it's the people not the city who cause the problems. SASers tend to drink far too much and too many of their parents are footing the bill making them not responsible for their actions. The next day Andrew and I both had to get up early for river rafting so we all ended up just heading back.

Day 7: I was woken up today when my roommate got back at 5:15 and so I ended up getting up a little early for my trip. I almost called from the nearby hotel since it was only 9:30 back in Illinois but ended up just emailing instead. On the way to river rafting we had a 2 hour drive so we all were able to rest before getting there and again signing our lives away incase of injury. Andrew and I were partners for rafting and we were the really annoying people on the trip who were having way too much fun due to the total lack of sleep over the past few weeks. We had a blast though and I was the first person any of the guides had ever seen row backwards so I could face and talk to my partner. It was a ton of fun though so it was totally worth it. Plus since the girl in a girl guy group wasn't allowed to sit in the back Andrew had most of the work which was fine with me. There weren't a lot of rapids on the river but it was enough for me since I'd never been rafting before. Our group was the fasted group they'd ever had and so we got back to the ship three hours early which was great since it was our last night in cape town. Once back I quickly cleaned up and then ran by apple before going out to eat with Dana, Katina, and E. It was really good and we all left wishing we could have stayed longer.
In the end Cape Town was an amazing experience and I don't know anyone who wanted to be back on the boat. Normally after a few days in a port we are ready to move on but everyone would have been content to stay in Cape Town possibly forever. They people and the places were amazing and there are so many things that I didn't have time to do. It is definitely my favorite port so far!
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