Trip Start Oct 15, 2013
Trip End Jan 09, 2014

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What I did
Invendoorn Safari

Flag of South Africa  , Western Cape,
Saturday, November 30, 2013

We've had off the past two days, thanks to an Africanized Thanksgiving break. I’m pretty sure we were the only people in all of Cape Town to have off for Thanksgiving, so we used that time to our advantage. I’ve got about ten minutes to start this off, so I’ll be as efficient as possible!

Thursday morning (Thanksgiving), we made our way to Castle of Good Hope, which used to be the home of Cape Town royalty. It wasn’t the conventional castle I usually think of, but it made for a nice morning. Because South Africa has such a high-context culture, there wasn’t too much in the way of plaques or additional information, just lots of things to see. The cannon at the castle was supposed to go off at 12:00, but it was just about the quietest cannon I’ve ever (not really) heard. We made our way out shortly afterward.

The District 6 museum was one of my favorite educational experiences so far. It was relatively small for a museum, but packed with information. District 6 was one of the poorer districts when Cape Town was divided by apartheid. The museum chronicled the journey of the district, but our tour guide made everything all together brilliant. He recounted his story of growing up in District 6 and how it has changed over time. Afterwards, we did a once around and then set off. I voyaged on my own into the mysterious District 6.

With an hour and a half on my hands, I entered a thrift store where I FINALLY got my South Africa t-shirt and a few random souvenirs (all for under 10 US dollars!) Then, I got a Gatsby (a quintessential South African sandwich… with fries!) and got told how America makes a mess of everything by an Iranian shop owner. I visited an Afrikaaner bookstore (super awkward… pretty sure the owner didn’t want to have anything to do with me) and passed by some African boys dancing with shakers on their boots… pretty exciting stuff.

I got to check out the South African Music Store with our Music professor, Dr. Marshall. Besides being a little more tourist-y than I expected, everything there was cool; I finally got a certain gift I’ve been looking for! Afterwards, Dr. Marshall and I had a stroll through the Company Gardens where I had seen the boys dancing, and saw some new and abundant flora! Things just sort of look different here… it’s a nice change of pace every now and then! After a brief visit to Artscape, my work placement, I headed back for the house.

That night, a few of us had a very fancy dinner at Myoga Restaurant, which offers a seven-course meal for the equivalent of $25 in the US. I can confidently say it was one of the BEST meals in a restaurant I have ever had. This restaurant, the second best in Cape Town, is great at creating rich textures and unique flavor combinations. I was sold from the minute I heard "baby clam risotto", which just about melted my heart. Luke and I made an attempt to go to Tiger Tiger, but were turned away because he didn’t have a collared shirt… rude? A night in suited us just fine, but we found Claremont, a nice place to hang out with the local college kids!

The next morning at 6am, we were picked up for our Safari two and a half hours away. After picking up a few other participants, we set off on the beautiful drive further into the continent. The drive alone was worth the hefty price. The mountains still cease to amaze me. Once we got there, they buttered us up with biscuits and fruit drinks. Then, we were off!

Now, let’s be real. African safari has been on my bucket list since I knew this trip was happening for me. I was thrilled that we saw all of the Big 5 possible (except for the highly nocturnal leopard) on the Invendoorn Safari. This quintet (water buffalo, rhino, leopard, elephant and lion) makes up the five most dangerous animals found in the wild parts of Africa. On this game reserve, heavily committed to animal rights and saving the endangered rhino, we saw that and many more, including GIRAFFES. African Safari… check.

On our way back, I felt pretty successful while surveying what I can only term the countryside. The land here is so mountainous, and inspirational for the artist’s mind. Apparently, my nap was also inspirational for the artist’s mind, as I ended up being a total of 10 hours. It was the first time I’ve gotten more than 6 hours of sleep in a few weeks, so no objections here!

Back to the good old grind tomorrow for our last week of work. I’m sure it’s going to be emotional… details to come!

Cheers! J
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