Wednesday, April 15, 2009

An amazing spring break: Botswana, Zambia Zimbabwe

So it's been awhile. Since I last blogged Mom and Dani came to visit for 10 days. I am not going to go into that trip, you can just ask them about it. I then had a week off before it was time for Easter break here. I went with a company called 2way travel. About 30 kids from my program went along with 30 or so more other Americans. We were headed to Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe. 
We met to get on the bus in Mowbray at 4:45 to go to the airport. We flew to Johanesburg, which is just a 2 hour flight. From there we boarded these trucks. There were 22 of us on my  truck (19 of us were from interstudy - my program - and only 3 were rando americans.) I felt bad for them, but 2 of them ended up being pretty cool. So I was expecting this sprawling coach bus since that was going to be where most of our trip took place. Oh how wrong I was. These trucks were hilarious, massive behemoths. There were seats facing each other, facing backwards and forwards and tables in between some seats. It was interesting to say the least. So the first day consisted of a full day of driving. We were first headed to Botswana. Luckily I was told before the trip that the first 2 days kinda sucked because you were on the bus the entire time but not to get upset because after those 2 days the whole trip is worth it. We passed the time by sleeping and playing stupid card games. We got very lost on our first day so we didnt arrive at our first campsite until 11:00 that night. We quickly ate dinner, rolled out our sleeping mats and slept with 25 people to a large room. Seriously uncomfortable. 
The next morning we woke up at 5:30, packed up our stuff, had tea, coffee and rusks (yummy biscuits) and got back on the road. My goal for the day was to not sleep as much and to look outside of the bus to see cool things. I was successful in the morning before we stopped for breakfast on the side of the road. During that stop we all went into the bush to pee. After this trip i am seriously able to go to the bathroom anywhere. I thought i was good before but this was a test...the bushes of Africa and I are best friends. Driving through Botswana I noticed that an American thinking about what Africa looks like would think of this place. It was totally desolate but beautiful woods. There were a ton of donkeys and cows along the road as well as randomly dispersed people and shacks. I was happy I could see another part of Africa besides the westernized, commercialized Cape Town.  That morning we were told to bring any pair of shoes we had in our suitcases onto the bus because we were going to be sprayed for foot and mouth disease once we hit the botswana border. We didnt have to do it on the way in apparently because we blew past the stopping point. If someone is to contract this disease you could potentially kill of their entire cattle and then their population so its serious stuff. We made a lot of pit stops, one including a stop at a supermarket to get 5 liters of water each because we would be camping out for 3 days with no running water. We were going to be thirsty... We used the Botswana currency Pula to buy our waters. We made it to the campsite around 6:00, showered, set up our tents (Nicole was my tent buddy for the night) and listened to this Australian guy talk about the Ocavango Delta that we were going to be in for the next 3 days. He informed us that the ground gets very dewey. BUt with his silly accent it sounded like he said, "the tents and the ground get very jewey." This confused me for a bit because I thought he was trying to make a stab at the chosen peeps. I was wrong, it was just the accent. We all passed out early.
Monday we woke up 5:45 to pack up our tents and get our day packs ready for roughing it in the Delta. We left our truck behind at the campsite and jumped onto another beast of a truck to head into the Delta. Once we got to literally the middle of nowhere, we had made it! We were then taken in these boats called makaros. Basically there are 2 people to each makaro and your poula or your leader, who is standing and uses a long stick to move the boat. You are just supposed to lay there. Laura and I were makaro buddies. So heres how we learned the name of our leader: Laura got to our leader first while I was still getting off of the truck. Laura introduced herself first and while she was asking our leader her name she was saying it at the same time and said im your poula. So Laura thought her name was pula, but that didnt make much sense since the currency in Botswana was pula...that didn't seem right. So Laura said what? and she answered is this your pashna? She was pointing at our friend mike which made Laura even more confused. So then she thought her name was pashna for a bit. THen she figured out that she was asking if Mike was Laura's pashna (aka PARTNER), So she ruled out pashna as the name and was stuck with pula. So it was up to me to figure out her name. Throughout the hour and a half makaro ride I tried to ask once what her name was but every time I spoke she thought I was talking to Laura, so I never got her name. Once we got to the campsite all of the leaders were introducing themselves. Our leader came up...her name was Bridgitte. For each meal there was a group of 4 or 5 people that had to help out. Thankfully, for everyones pleasure, Laura was on lunch duty. It really brought on some great laughs watching her attempt to help out with cooking. Everyone else was slicing and dicing...Laura cleaned the pots. She was really top notch at it. We all hung out for the afternoon and waited until 5:00 to go on our bush walk. My group was Katrina, Jill, Julie, Laura, and I (a really perfect group.) We werent expecting to see much since the animals don't really hang out in the sun when it is beating down on them. Our guides were Joe and Shelly. Before we began our bush walk, Joe informed us that if we see a lion we must stand upwind so it can't smell us. If we see an elephant, run up a tree. And some more absurd things like that. We were serioulsy vulnerable. Just as I thought we didn;t see anything but got some hilarious laughs from Jill and Laura who were both have bowl movement issues. The walk only lasted an hour and a half because we obvi couldnt walk once it got dark. We had some dinner then passed out at 9:00 for the night.
Next morning we woke up at 5:15 to go on our morning bush walk. We had the same group walking. We saw a zebra, wildabeast, giraffes and a steembok, which laura thought was a wild dog...wild dogs are absurdly hard to see, so it was funny when she really thought we saw one. After our 4 hour walk, we were all dead tired at camp and laid out in the sun, played cards, swam in the watering hole and passed out for the afternoon until our makaro sunset ride. Laur, Bridgitte and I were makaro buddies again. It was a gorgeous sunset and a peaceful ride with everyone. That night all of our leaders put on a performance of singing and dancing which was awesome. Us Americans then had to get up and return the treat. We kept it classy and sang some build me up buttercup, ain't no mountain high enough and backstreet was terible and random but I guess they enjoyed it. 
Wednesday we all woke up for another hour bush walk. We saw a jackal, giraffe and hippos in the distance. Nothing too exciting. We got back to the campsite and packed everything up then headed back on our makaros, our truck and got back to the original campsite. We had a couple hours to shower and eat lunch before our 4 hour drive to the next campsite. I decided to be an intelligent human being and shower where there was running warm water because hey, im in Africa and you never know what could happen. Most people opted out of showering (ew, it had been 3 days) and wanted to wait until we got to the next campsite because we were going to be on gross and sweaty on the bus for hours. We arrive at the campsite and what do you know? The water is shut off. HA! I am smart. I guess the water randomly shuts off and on and on this particular night it was off. We were informed at this campsite that elephants freely roam around because it is not gated and just that morning a couple girls went to the bathroom and when they walked out there was a pride of lions outside. I don't know what happened, I do know they lived though. They told us to walk with buddies...I told Laura I would be her buddy but what the hell would I have done if there was a pride of lions in front of me....?
We left the elephants and lions early the next morning to get on the road to Chobe National Park. We got to our next campsite EARLY! That was unheard of seeing as we got lost every single day and didn't arrive at campsites until at least an hour after our ETA. We left to go on our sunset booze cruise at 3:30. Our boat was awesome and had all the people I wanted on it. Chobe is home to the most elephants in all of Africa so  on the cruise we saw tons and tons of them as well as hippos (one actually got out of the h2o for us, which is unusual), baby crocs, an many impala. We also drank a lot of wine. We got back to our site after sunset and had dinner, drank some more then everyone passed out by 9:30...late night.
Next morning we had an optional game drive at Chobe national park that we could go on for $25. I was told to not go on it because we wouldnt see much and I had been on safaris before. I contracted a serious case of FOMO (fear of missing out) though since everyone else was going. I jumped in and saw nothing really at all. I passed out for the last 30 mins of the ride. I told our guide, Walter, that if we didn't see lions I was going to kick him out of the car and take over. We didn't see lions, but I fell asleep so he was home free. We packed up our tents once again and boarded the truck to get to the ferry to get to the border of Zambia. I thought this was going to take around 30 mins but 2 and a half hours later (i have NO clue what was going on) we finally departed from the border. We were sitting on the bus the entire time just waiting for the okay to move along. We passed the time with catch phrase and this new, intellectually stimulating game called contact. We got to our campsite a couple hours later, quickly put on our cossies (bathing suits) and headed to Victoria Falls. We got to walk through the falls, which right now is at the highest it has been since 1958. You can't visibly make out the falls because the water is so high and intense. You get absolutley drenched just trying to get a was like nothing I had ever seen before...I was smiling from ear to ear the entire time. 
The next morning we actually got to sleep in until 6:30! Today was my extreme, adrenaline packed day. In the morning a big group of us went to go abseiling which is basically repelling. But we repelled down a gorge, whcih was sweet. Then we got to do this superman zipline thing across the gorges which was just fun (not really scary at all.) And finally we did the gorge swing. Laura and I went tandem because we were both too scared to go alone. They connect your feet together and have you hold onto each others backs. You then have your back to the gorges so you can't see your ultimate doom, tell you to bend your knees, stick your butt out and roll backward. I was freaking out (Laura has never seen me so scared before.) It was a 4 second free fall then the swing caught you and pulled up into a swinging position, it was freaking awesome. We left the gorges and 4 of us (Laura, Katrina, Owen and I) headed to our next adrenaline moment. We went to go bungee jump off a bridge over victoria falls. Holy shit. THat was by far the scariest thing I have ever done in my entire life. The initial jump is obviously scary and then you bungee and drop, bungee and drop, so on and so forth. I don't know how many times I got dropped but I do know that once the guy came down to sit me up right I told him I needed to be on solid ground. I got back up to the bridge and said that was one of the coolest and scariest things I have ever done and I dont think I ever want to do it again. Now it is 4 days later and I may want to do it again....
On our last full day there (Sunday) Laura, Mike, Nicole and I all went horseback riding. I dont think I have ever been on a horse before and it was fun. My ass and thighs hurt a lot after though so it make take me another 20 years to go again...we'll see. We walked through the bush though and it was peaceful and calm. Only one time did our horses get rowdy, in a full gallop and almost throw us off. No big deal. That afternoon Mike, Laura and I headed to the Zimbabwe border, which is a 10 mins walk from the Zambia border, to go to the open trade craft market. You basically bring anything and everything and get a ton of crafts in return for your stuff. For some really cool pieces I traded: single tampons, advil, socks, t-shirts, a bandana, band-aids and other random stuff. They loved it and really needed anything you could give them though. That was just a totally different experience than anything I have ever seen. Very cool. That night all of the Americans went to the bar at the campsite for our last night and we had a good time. We had to get up at 7:00 the next morning to head out and get back to Cape Town. WE left from the Zim airport and flew into Jo'berg then connected to Cape Town. It was another long day but we got back to the mansions around 9:30. 
So it was an absolutely crazy and busy trip but I loved every minute of it. Sorry this post was so long, I tried to keep the details minimal. When I talk to you more I can give you some more entertaining stories and elaborate on more things. Until next time. Love you all!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

March 11-14

It's been an interesting last couple of days. Honestly, a string of really bad days. Wednesday roles around...the day our group project is due for my crime and deviance in south African cities class. Laura, Katrina and I are all in a group with 3 other south Africans, David, Haseenah and Langa. We had split the project up into sections where the 3 of us did parts A and B, David did C and D and Haseenah and Langa were to do the powerpoint and works cited page. So all of the parts were done, A B C and D and they were sent to Haseenah to be put altogether in order to do the powerpoint. Wed. roles around...Katrina, Laura and I are laying by the pool in between classes and we decide to give our dear friend Haseenah a call to make sure she got everything printed out. She decides to inform us an hour and a half before class that she A) hadn't put everything together and B) needed us to print it out and make a cover page. This begins our downward spiral. So the 3 of us rush to the computer lab to get everything put together...mind you David for some reason did not receive our email 2 nights before with what we had written so he just put down his POV on the topic without seeing what we had written. Therefore, the paper didn't make too much sense. THEN we take a gander at the wonderful powerpoint dearest Haseenah put together. Needless to say, it's shit. There are a ridiculous amount of grammatical errors and there are full paragraphs on there that were not even mentioned in the paper. We get to class and are fuming the entire way through. Once class ends we have a group meeting about the terrible project we are about to hand in. Our friend Langa, mind you, didn't show up for class. We later learned that he was working. Nice. The situation basically ended up with me and Laura confronting Haseenah about the shitty work that she barely did in front of the professor. I have never done that in front of a prof before, but this was warranted. All the annoyance and running around to put this together doesn't translate into writing like I would like it to, but hopefully you get the point of frustration. I then have to write 2 papers that night...

Thursday was going well UNTIL i decided to make the really amazing decision of getting a haircut. I went to the Cavendish mall, which is in a little suburb 5 mins away from us called Claremont. I tell the woman exactly what I want...only a trim and whatever else I wanted done to my hair. She then proceeds to chop my hair off. I can honestly say that she took off at least 2 and a half inches. That may not seem like much but if you knew how short my hair was before, its really damn short now. I know, I know, it's only hair, but to me it is important and it only added to my terrible day before. By Thursday night all I wanted to do was be home sitting around with my family. It was the first time in a long time I felt homesick. 

Today (saturday 14th) was much better though!! Last night we didn't go out because interstudy had planned a full day for us today. We were out of the mowbray mansions by 7:45 this morning to head to the District 6 museum. This area used to be filled with blacks, colored people and whites. Basically, in the 60's the govt. said that all the black and colored families had to get out so they literally bulldozed their houses down and that's when they moved them to the all black and colored townships. It was crazy to see pictures of what District 6 looked like when there were streets, apartments and houses everywhere versus what it looks like now...tons of grassy, run down areas. Once apartheid ended some of the blacks and colored people moved back, but it didn't happen with too many families. 
Next we went to the Langa township, which is one of the biggest in CT. We did a walking tour through it and stopped in a couple of the formal and informal living quarters. When townships were first implemented, the govt split up men from women and children. Their driving idea behind this was to keep the black and colored people from procreating. They thought that if men and women weren't together, they obviously couldn't have more children. Pretty messed up. So the formal home we went into had 3 rooms with 3 beds on one side and 3 rooms with 3 beds on the other side (18 men altogether). Once the govt. let families join back together, there ended up being 3 entire families living in one bedroom. Say there were 5 people to a family...90 people living in TINY quarters. Now, there is 1 family to a room. Still a ton of people living in a very small space. The informal housing is shacks. People have taken container bins and made them into their homes. Who knows how many people live in those...again, terrible conditions and small living space. We got to play with a lot of the kids who were so adorable and exciting to see us and play. Overall though, the experience made me feel plain and simply, weird. Our group had driven in in a coach bus, walked around with our cameras and tour guide, saw the abysmal housing these people live in, played with the kids for 20 mins then left in our coach bus again. It made me feel terrible and uncomfortable. Ideally, I would want to go back there with 1 or 2 people at most but that's just not possible. I would get raped without a doubt and robbed. That's just the way it is. 
After that experience we went to Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was held for 18 years. There's so much history on that, obviously, but I feel like I have written enough and that more people know about Mandela. To cap off my really upbeat day today, I am going to see Slumdog Millionaire hahaha

Sorry this post was somewhat depressing, but not everyday can be wonderful. I thought I would give you all a taste of some of the fucked up stuff that is real here. By the time I update next Mom and Dani will have gotten here, which i CANNOT wait for! I am in serious need of family time. We have a lot of awesome things lined up for the 10 days they are here, including a safari so next time I post I know there will be some great stories. 
Love and miss you all.


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Hello, hello to all. 
Big big accomplishment here in Africa: WE GOT A MICROWAVE! This is really big heres the story. When we moved into our place at Mowbray mansions (this place isn't really a mansion at all, in fact, it is quite the opposite..hence the joke) we were upset to see that we did not have a microwave. But...interstudy (our program) came through all of the apts. and said they were going to get all of our amenities in place within the next week. Welllll a week here in actuality means a month and a half apparently! So about a month into our time here, we complained to creepy landlord Andrew that we still needed a microwave. One day we come home from school and miraculously we have a microwave! Laura, Julie and I were so excited that we didn't have to walk across to our neighbors to heat up food...this was a great thing. 3 days after our microwave walked into our house, we come back from school and our microwave was gone. We didn't see creepy landlord for a couple days so Laura asked the cleaning lady a few days later if she knew where it went...she told us Andrew had taken it back. We were confused. We then confronted Andrew when we saw him in the Mowbray streets one afternoon and asked where our microwave disappeared to. Basically, it was the last tenants who had left it and if you leave something that you bought Andrew just keeps it in the apt. for the next tenants. Well I guess the previous tenant came back and wanted his stupid microwave. So now we are sitting 2 weeks post our 3 day microwave stint and finally got a permanent one! Wooo. Long story, but entertaining to say the least. 

Anywaysssss. Thursday through Saturday were unbearably hot days. The average temp was about 104 degrees. Out of control. So going to class wasn't really an option. We had a lot of pool afternoons. Thursday late afternoon Laura and I went to Long Street to do a little bit of shopping then went out to dinner at this amazing restaurant called Fork. Momma, Dani and I will def. visit it when they get here in a week! We were too tired to go out that night so we stayed in and skyped with our lovely friends and fam. 
Friday (6th): After we went to our morning classes, Laura and I headed to the pool (again.) We met this really awesome girl there from the states. A little background. Shes 23, and just moved here in October. She was working for an NGO (non-government organization) and was supposed to be here until December. That was until she fell in love with a safrican! And she has been here ever since, now working for this man at UCT (uni. of cape town.) Of course Laura and I wanted to know EVERY detail because that is our fall in love and never come home. just kiddinggg. No, but really fall in love. Now we know it happened to someone so of course it will happen to us! Friday night we went out for our friend Charlie's 21st bday. We headed to long street after where I ditched the massive group we were rolling around with and danced for 3 hours with my friends Ben, Jeremy and Lul. (other Americans on a diff. program.) I really am such a god awful dancer, thanks judaism. Oh well,  I had a great time anyways. Side note: this night was the hottest night in CT so was like bikram yoga in the nighttime air. 

Sat (7th): Laura, Julie, Aaron, Jackie, Will, Jaime and I had an amazing day. We woke up at a decent hour to go to Camp's Bay (beach) to get some sun. Of course it was 102 degrees out that day...ya know, just a cool day at the beach with no wind as well, also really great. Despite all of this...we laid in the sun for 4-5 hours, nbd. We then ate a late lunch so we could hike up Lionshead, a mountain right next to Table Mountain. We had figured out when the sunset was before we began our day so we planned accordingly. The hike took a little less than an hour and we got to a spot to see the beautiful sunset just in time. We really haven't seen any sunsets since we have been here because table mountain obstructs our view. So this was a real treat...we got some beautiful pictures. If I ever figure out how to upload pics on this blog, I will get them up here. We also got to see some great shots of all of CT. That night Laura and I were super super excited to go to bed because we were skydiving in the morning....

Sunday (8th): ....Skydiving didn't happen, it was canceled. Apparently mother nature wasn't on our side that day. Of course it was blistering hot for the previous 4 days but on this particular day, we had some really great wind blowing all through CT. They said it was too dangerous to jump (safety first kids) so we had to reschedule. Next sunday is now the day. I will be equally excited to go on that day too. Since our plans were squashed for the day, we kinda hung around the Mowbray Mansions with everyone on our program and didn't really do much.

Now its Tuesday night and I had a great accomplishment of A) going to ALL my classes the past 2 days and B) finishing my first group assignment of the semester. I don't think it will turn out too hot because the safricans in our group aren't very on top of their game. Oh well, Laura, Katrina and my part is really great. Tomorrow morning is important..I am going to get my hair cut. Hopefully this Wayde character is as good as my dear friend Aaron has informed me. 

Matt and Seth, you now must come to visit me since I am putting in on my blog. No ifs, ands or buts, it WILL happen. 
Miss you all! Happy Purim!!!!!!!


Monday, March 2, 2009

woah its march!

I cannot believe that it is already March 2nd. I feel like I just got here yesterday butttt I've been here for a month and a half....crazy how time is flying. I just want it to slow down so I don't have to go back home. (Not that I don't miss all of you but I will never experience something like this again and I'm loving it so understand hopefully.) Now that school has started the weeks are going by so so fast and it sucks. 

So classes are good when I go to them. I really have been trying my hardest to make it to lectures but the weather and the beach are doing a really great job of pulling me out of those beautiful classrooms. :). Emoticon hahahaha. They loveee those here..I'll get into that later though. Thursday night Laura, myself, and 5 other girls went to this bar called Hemisphere. It is very chic and a little bit of an older crowd. It is in Green Point (also where the new soccer stadium is for the 2010 world cup) on top of the ABSA building. ABSA is the main bank they use here. But you can see all of cape town from the bar and it is an absolutely gorgeous view. Sadly, we had to pay way too high of a cover charge and the people there were older and creepy. For some reason a lot of short men and if I thought they were short then you know they were short! We then headed to Springbok (jug night) for a nice night cap.) Julie hurt her foot that night and couldnt really walk the next morning. Sad. But a good night.

Friday I went to my morning classes then Laura, Aaron, Jaime, Jackie and I went to Clifton beach for a beautiful day in the sun. Went to La Med for lunch. We didn't go out Friday night, just kept it chill. Saturday was a full day. In the morning I went with Matt, Bronson, Owen and Jill to the farmer's market. Every saturday from 9:00 to 2:00 they have this incredible market with amazing food and taste testing. It was amazing food and day until I lost my favorite sunglasses :(. (emoticon! ahah) That kinda put a damper on the next hour. I came home and Laura Julie and I went to Cavendish (mall in Claremont) to get Julie a new camera and an external harddrive for laura. We obviously shopped around for a couple hours after. Saturday night was way fun...we had 4 of our safrican guy friends over. Georgio (Greek friend not Italian, still weird), Johno, Nick and Demetri. We wanted to teach them our american drinking games but didn't get to the liquor store for beer in time (they close at 5 on stupid) so we played some card drinking games and they loved them. Our kitchen counter also broke that night when someone was leaning on it. The landlord fixed it the next day but it was still hilarious. 

Sunday: I GOT MY BIG GIRL BED!!!!!! I had been living in a single, spring box of a bed this entire time. I finally complained because I have been getting back problems and it was probably the most uncomfortable thing I have ever laid on and the landlord got me a new double, comfortable bed! I knew I would grow up coming here. Laura, Julie and I headed with 2way travel (the travel company we are going through for all of the trips we are doing) to Mzoli's. Mzoli's is a restaurant in one of the townships about 15 mins outside of where we live. Basically its BYO everything. So you have to bring drinks, napkins, plates, silverware. All 2way brought was drinks so we had to eat with our hands which actually worked with the vibe there. It is an outdoor restaurant that only serves meat...A LOT of meat. They sit this huge bowl of meat in front of you that has chicken, steak and tons of links of sausages on top. It looks absolutely disgusting but is actually soooo good. A really yummy lunch. I almost lost my purse and all of my belongings in it though because I was an idiot and left it with someone at the table while I went to the bathroom and everyone decided to leave without my purse. Luckily it was still there when I went back! Ah...lapse of judgments...always so fun. The rest of the day I laid in my bed and enjoyed how new and big it was! 

More observations:
1. They don't have salad ANYWHERE on the damn campus. I think I am going to go into business and open a salad bar here, I feel like a lot of people would really enjoy that. I realized I'm really spoiled coming from Boulder where salad is such a main staple. Oh well...a business idea if nothing else. 2. Pedestrians don't matter. Drivers will literally hit a pedestrian instead of stopping. I thought NY was bad but now I've realized that new yorkers at least care for their dear walkers...not so much here. So note to all of you...if you ever visit here expect to get confused at the traffic coming from the opposite direction and to almost get hit by cars 5 times a day! 3. They LOVE emoticons here. Like really love them. Their favorite times to use them are in SMS's (what they call text messaging.) It still makes me laugh when I am texting with a safrican and they will use lol or :) or ;) in their texts. I always make fun of people that do that at home because its just so stupid and corny but EVERYONE uses them here...its not the lame thing to do. Weird. Laura and I have been having a lot of fun trying to keep up with them and sound really safrican in our texts. 

That is all for now. I miss you all still. Momma and Dani come so soon and I can't wait! 


Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Text ColorNow that school is in session, I don't get to do really really exciting things every single day. I have been going to classes and when I have a couple hours break or when I am done for the day I lay out by the pool...tough life.

This past week was a couple of my good friends on the programs birthdays...Bronson and Matt. To celebrate on Wed. for Bronson's we went to Obs and I brought along Steph and her sister Jen and Diane. As always, Obs was a good never disappoints. Nothing eventful happened in the next couple of days. But on Sat. we went to a braii (aka the SA's version of a bbq) at this guy named Alex's house. One of our friends on the program, Alec, had met him somwhere during our first week here and we have hung out with him a lot since then. He was so nice to invite about 15 of us Americans over to his place with his SA friends to eat a ton of good food and drink. His mom Val was really great and hospitable with all of us. Oh! Also...weird coincidence and small world story. So if you have been reading the blog I talked about how i went to that woman's house with Laura and Julie for Shabbat dinner one of the first weeks I was here. Well there are 4 kids in the fam. One of the daughters, Erin, is a first year (freshman) and had met ALex (SA friend) the previous weekend at a party. He had also incited her to the braii when they met so oddly enough we ran into her at Alex's. I thought my world was small at home but apparently it is in cape town as well. Totally weird and nice to see her again. She told us her fam totally loved us and want us back for another Shabbat din...woohoo! We also met 3 SA brothers that were really nice and cute who we are going to go out with this weekend. I only remember the ones our age names..Mario and Georgio. (They are Greek, not Italian, weird huh?) I guess the names don't really translate too well from the U.S. I kinda just want to start calling them Tony for the hell of it. 

Sat. night Laura and I went to this guy named John's 21st birthday party at a bar called FTV by the Waterfront. We met him at the horse races and exchanged numbers. That turned out to be a lot of fun especially because we got away from the American crew for the night and hung out with all SA's. Sunday was probably the most lazy day Julie Laura and I have had since we've been here. We basically slept and went to Cocoa Wah Wah (internet cafe) for 2 1/2 hrs. Nothing too exciting but I guess my body was hating me enough to tell me I needed to sleep the day away. 

So today (Tuesday) I had a full day of school then went to my first day of SHAWCO. SHAWCO is the volunteer program I signed up for that is affiliated with the university. I signed up for the program called Kenstep where I tutor kids in grade 6 English. The program gave me a guide book before I met with the kids to show me what I would be going over with them. Every Tuesday there is a bus that picks up about 25 UCT students and brings them to a school to tutor the kids. It's not in a township but in more of a middle class region of CT. I am tutoring 8 6th grade girls with one other girl from UCT. They are so adorable and funny. All they wanted to know was if I knew any celebrities...Chris Brown, Beyonce and Rihanna especially. All little kids in SA that America is a place where celebrities are walking around on every corner. They were so confused at why I didn't know any...I guess I let down their hopes of me being super cool. Damn. They also wanted to see American money. For some reason I have a couple dollars left in my wallet that I didn't get converted to rand so I was able to show them that. They were really taken aback by what it looked like and described it as being thicker and tougher feeling wise than the rand is. It was really cute to see all of them so excited to meet an American. 

AHHH! Seth and Matt I have been meaning to tell you guys this since I first got here. Well remember how when I told you I was coming to SA, you guys said they are only going to be clicking to me? Welllll there is a language that involves a lot of clicking called Xhosa (pronounced Kosa). A lot of SA's do speak that as another language besides English. Just htought you would really enjoy that fun fact and like to know that people do "click" here. That is all for now...


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

real life has begun

Before I get into my last fews days...a couple things I have noticed that I think are pretty noteworthy. 1. As everyone knows, or maybe not, but knows now, they drive on the opposite side of the road here. Therefore, people walk on the left side and pass on the left side. It is totally weird! As I have been walking through campus, walking up stairs or just shuffling through crowds, you ALWAYS pass on the left. I keep forgetting, so I walk to the right, and almost always have an awkward encounter with someone's face/body/feet or whatever happens to come into my pathway first. If they didn't know I was American before the weird encounter, they def knew after. 2. All the girls are skinny and don't work out. Trust me, I have been in the gym daily and don't see any of their skinny asses in there. I am going to learn their secret by the end of my time here. 3. Instead of saying hey, whats up? or how are you? Everyone says howzit? It's pretty funny to hear, but I'm catching on...I haven't actually used the phrase myself but I always laugh when I hear their accents and the word. They also use words like dodgy and keen. Like "Are you keen on partying tonight?" It makes it sound like partying is high class hahaha.  4. People are asking me for directions!!! Little do they know I am directionally challenged but that is besides the point...they must not think I'm American. Woohoo for fitting in! 5. They don't have paper towels in bathrooms. Instead, they have ONE hand towel for every single person that comes through that bathroom and decides to be so kind to wash their hands. You know when you are in a touristy restaurant when they have paper towels for you. But in general, its pretty nasty to wipe on that one towel so instead I just don't wash my hands.... (just kidddingggggg). 
Those are just some rando observations though...

So school has officially begun. We had classes on Friday but no SA's go, which we were aware of. The school basically has it for first years (freshman) and any new students (us) to find out where their class venues are. Two of my professors didn't show up, so that was a total waste of time. But Monday we officially started classes. I am really loving some of my classes. I'm taking:
Crime and Deviance in SA cities
Religion, Sexuality and Gender
History of Anti-semitism 
The new millenium through the historical perspective

They are really interesting so I GUESS I will go to class...    In between classes people sit outside of a building called Jameson hall that have a ton of wide steps in front of it called the Jammie steps. I was told today that the first chunk of steps is designated for first years, the second is for second years, 3rd for third years and so on. It felt very mean girls esque since it's like tiered seating. I decided to go against the grain and sit with the first years...I'm such a badass. Well not too much else exciting has happened except that the Yacenda's are here! So I am going out to dinner with them tonight on Long Street at a restaurant called Fork which I have heard is very yummy. Also, Semester At Sea arrived in Cape Town today so I will be seeing a lot of familiar faces and showing them around this incredible city for a fews days! 

That is all for now...COME VISIT EVERYONE! It's only an 18 hour plane ride...really, its nothing.


Thursday, February 12, 2009

a failed and accomplished past days

So when I last left off I was really confused at what I was going to be doing for the next couple days. The plan was to rent 2 cars (8 people altogether)  then head to a small whale town called Hermanus for the day and night then go to Gordon's Bay to go to these Chrystal Pools which supposedly were so beautiful and at the top of this mountain then stay there the night and head home on Thursday. Wellllll, that was the plan, and plans obviously don't work out in Africa...

So on Tuesday morning Aaron and Will went to get the 2 cars for the trip. Neither of the knew how to drive stick so they practiced for approx 2 hours that morning...def not enough, but they got the hang of it pretty quick. Around 2:00 we headed out to Hermanus. We pulled out...first stall of the day. They became quite common and comical and Aaron had a really amazing attitude about the whole situation while sweating and getting nervous in between. In retrospect we should have been more nervous to be driving with him since 1. He had driven stick for 2 hours before we departed and 2. We were driving on the other side of the road. I won't talk anymore about the driving but just know it was hilarious. So we get to Hermanus (took about an hour and 15 mins) and got to the hostel. WOOP! First hostel of my life! We went to town, walked around, ate dinner, then headed back to the hostel and spoke with some people there. If you want to meet the weirdest/coolest/most interesting people in your life, stay at a was so fun to talk to these rando people. The next day we hung around and left Hermanus. You may ask...what were they doing there? Well, Hermanus is a whale town basically with amazing whale watching BUT it is not whale season right now...which we knew, it was just an easy stop on the way and something to see. An entertaining time at the hostel if nothing else.

We then headed out to Gordon's Bay where there are these pools called the Chrystal Pools. Not too many people around CT know about it so it seemed pretty secluded. There are 3 different pools. the first you have to hike about 45 mins up to get to and the 2nd and 3rd you have to hike another 45 mins. We were all super excited and ready to go but mother nature wasn't on our side that day...she decided to send us gale force winds that you could barely open doors in. Soooo, no chrystal pools for us. We went to a secluded beach where it was once again to windy to even lay and enjoy the beauty of the scenery so we left. We did an impromptu stop in Stellenbosch (where all the wineries are) to walk around town and have some food. We ate at a great restaurant called 5. Then we headed back to CT. So our plan didn't work out as we hoped but it was nice to travel around for a couple days if nothing else. 

Today (thurs. 12), we walked around campus to figure out where all of our classes are since school does start tomorrow!!! I am actually oddly excited to get onto a set schedule. We then worked out, sat at the pool then went to Cocoa Wah Wah for some lunch. A pretty relaxing day. But, valentine's day is in 2 days so happy love day to all you love birds. Love and miss you all!!


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

the latest and greatest...

There's not too much to talk about since Laura last posted. But you get to hear about it anyways! 

So by Sunday basically everyone had left for their respective trips minus us. So the people left were Me, Laura, Jackie, Aaron, Jamie, Will and Megnaa...well there were a couple more but we don't really hang out with them. It has been really nice without everyone hear because now i can sleep at night without having my hourly wake up of loud people outside. So anyways, Sunday...Laura and I had a lazy morning of getting up, eating breakfast, then going back into our separate rooms to read by ourselves. We are so cool! We headed up to the pool where laura sat and i worked out then sat with her. Pretty exciting. Later that afternoon we went to the Kirstenbosch Gardens with a big group of us. Every sunday they have concerts there...people bring picnics to this huge grassy area. The band was how can i say this nicely...a ghetto version of Dave Matthews. aka...not very good. But, all of us still managed to have a great time despite the music. The view was beautiful so that made up for it. That night, Jackie, Laura, Aaron, Will and I went to a restaurant called Buena Vista Social Cafe in Green Point. It was hands down the best food I have had since I've been here. Yummy Cuban was also a salsa club. The people were absolutely incredible dancers. I thought of you Jesse and Aunt would have loved it. 

Monday (9)...Once again, we had a lazy morning then went to the volunteer fair on campus. It was one of the most overwhelming experiences. There was so so much info every 5 steps with new and exciting clubs to sign up for. I signed up for SHAWCO which is a volunteer club where you teach kids math, english, and other fun things. You go for 3 hours once a week to the school where your put into a classroom with about 10 kids. I'm pretty excited about this, it will probably be one of the more eye opening experiences I will have. Laura, Jackie and I also signed up for the latin ballroom club. WE ARE GOING TO LEARN HOW TO SALSA!!!!! YAAAAA. We headed down to Cocoa Wah Wah (internet cafe) for a couple of hours. Laura and I (once again) said we were going into our rooms to nap for a couple hours and ended up both finishing our books. Some things never change...     We all got together for dinner at Jackie's where we cooked some chicken and pasta with meat sauce. Tough meal.

Tuesday (today!)....Laura, jackie, jaime, aaron, will, megnaa and i are heading to the Chrystal pools for a couple of days. We rented 2 stick shift cars (which the boys are out teaching themselves how to drive as we speak) and are heading out. The pools are about an hour away, so it shouldn't be too bad of a drive. I am just happy I'm not the one with other people's lives in my hands. I'm actually not even 100% (around 25% sure honestly) sure of what we are doing in these next couple of days since the boys planned this trip (the boys here are so on top of their impressive!) I guess in the next blentry I will let you know! Until then. Kisses and hugs to all!


Monday, February 9, 2009

a special shout out take TWO

yo yo yo another birthday shout out to a ms. judy duhl (or doody jewel as they used to call her back in 2nd grade)

i love you mommala

a special shout out


Saturday, February 7, 2009

Laura Mac makes a comeback: 19th of Jan-7th of Feb: TIA. This Is Africa

WHAT UP YA’LL!?!? DJ Laura in da house. Stevi has been taking over the blog and I haven’t read through all of her entries because I am lazy so I will hit you up with the most exciting stuff and hope I don’t overlap too much with Stev. Which means I’m going all the way back to the day everyone arrived – 19th of Jan. WOWZERS LONG BLENTRY (Karen, I hear you call them blentries, too?).

19th of Jan
Everyone arrives. 3 boys move in next door and one of them dates a girl that goes to Colgate (I knew this before hand) but its funny that they’re next to us. I went out to dinner with my fam since everyone was unpacking and stuff and I was so excited to come home and sleep since I thought everyone would be jetlagged and stuff, so I get back at like 11pm and meet some people and then we hear people are going up to the 7/11 for basic groceries so my roommate Julie and I get our wallets and we walk outside and the OLs (orientation leaders) throw us in a cab. We wind up at Tin Roof, a UCT (uni of cape town) bar. It was tons of fun and great bonding for the Americans. We also get our first taste of how gorgey SA people are, UGH they are beauty.

20th of Jan
We get a basic tour around our town and our first step is the AIDS clinic. Thanks, Puhmla (our O.L.). If we turn right off of our street we’re in a ghetto-er neighborhood. But if we turn left we go towards a nicer area with a MALL (WOOT!). There is also a nicer supermarket (that sells Heinz, thank god). And to give another example of how incredible SA ppl are, the manager of the grocery store let one of the workers walk us back with a cart so we didn’t have to carry our bags all the way home (like a 20 minute walk). Stevi FINALLY gets in from her adventure in Senegal at like 12am and I show her off to all of the Americans when we get home.


21st of Jan
BORING orientation stuff and a mini tour of the campus, which is BEAUTIFUL. All of the buildings are like a light brown brick, covered in ivy, everything is green. Oh, and there is a mountain backdrop. This country sounds so ugly, right? Stevi, Julie, and I go to Camps Bay for a little beaching but its sorta late when we get there so we get drinks at the restaurant Caprice where I went with my family because everyone that goes there is beautiful (like my fam and all the hottie SA manboys). We go out in Observatory (called Obs. I knew I picked the right country when I learned they abbreviate here). This one bar had 4 different areas including a rave and a beach. It was so cool.

22nd of Jan
More orientation stuff. Including a woman who came in and explained how the library works. The same speech we got as young 7th graders at Edgemont High School. Stevi even fell asleep. Then we had our last McDonald family rendezvous with Julie and Stevi (my roommates.. duh) at two wineries. I slept during the car rides in the trunk of our car. Then we ate dinner at this little restaurant called Amici. It was attached to a hotel behind Long Street, and it was wack. Dinner took about 3 hours cuz the wait staff was SO slow and Jude was really not into the whole place. They came with her “summer salad” that had some sort of fish on it that was not advertised on the menu. She got in a fight with the waitress, which we all thought was hilarious (of course). We also almost left the restaurant because the service was so horrible (even though my food was GREAT) AND jeffy ordered a martini, it came and sucked, so he went up to the bartender and taught him how to make a martini. Usually my fam just roles with the punches, but “what makes this night different from all nights?” Who knows, I never went to Hebrew school.

23rd of Jan
Today is the day my family decides to leave me in Africa, which is sad BUT I got to climb a mountain. Our entire program climbed one of the harder routes up table mountain and it was AWESOME. Similar to all of Cape Town, the mountain and scenery was incredibly beautiful, as were some of the SA guides who led us up the mountain. The whole day took 6.5 hours hiking up and down with breaks at different points. I felt like superman. But female.

View from top of Table Mountain:

24th of Jan
I wake up feeling like POO – I can tell I have something wrong with my throat (prob strep), but I don’t want to miss out on the fun so I go to the beach with everyone. We went to Muizenberg, which is a beach on the Indian ocean side meaning the water is warm (its also a surfing beach for beginners AND where everyone gets eaten by sharks). Because of said illness I pass out for 4 hours even though Stevi tried to wake me up like 3 times. This not only leads to feeling worse from the sun, but I also get a BAD burn on the back of my thighs, which still look like snakes losing layers of their skin (sexy). Anywho we leave around 530 even though we are told not to take the trains past 6 and go to train station. Just as we are walking up a train leaves so we have to wait for the next one. At this point I am feeling HORRIBLE, like can’t support my body weight or even my head. And this is not the place you want to lie down for a siesta. FINALLY the train comes after about 43 minutes, and 10 minutes into the ride I run towards the door, but don’t make it in time to open it and I throw up all over the door, floor, and two SA guys’ shoes. I apologize to Team America and go back to my seat feeling much better. Finally we get to the end of the 40-minute ride and come to our stop at Rosebank. About 20 people need to get out and after about 12 leave, the doors close and the train starts moving. Aaron says “HELL NO” and forces the doors open and hops out. Then a few more Americans do so. Stevi, Julie and I are left and the train is really speeding up so Stevi and I jump at the same time, get our limbs caught, and go rolling around. Julie dives over us and also falls, but Stevi and I hit HARD. Instead of helping us up Aaron reaches over and pulls Stevi’s dress down. That’s what friends are for. We leave hysterically laughing because – as we always say, “T.I.A.” – This Is Africa, and what else can we do? And of course 1 minute outside the station I throw up about 7 more times. Then we walk home, me covered in regurgitated cough syrup, and Stevi and I sporting some badass battle wounds. Nothing like a day in Africa.

25th of Jan
I am sick as a dog, but it’s a Sunday and SA’s don’t work on Sundays because they are all at the beach. I lay in bed all day. Other people went to a tattoo convention in the city center though, which sounds SO cool.

26th of Jan
Julie sends me a text at 7:00am saying she feels like poo too. (rhymes). We make doctors appts and Stevi comes along because she is a kind soul. Turns out Julie has strep, and I have strep AND tonsillitis. I would say I am the winner here, but Julie doesn’t actually have tonsils. We get a prescription for FOUR different meds (anti-biotic, pro-biotic, throat lozenges, and this stuff to gargle with for the pain), which all added up – without insurance – to about $18. Isn’t Africa just dandy?

27th of Jan
I am feeling MUCH better, what with all 93 medications I was prescribed, so Stevi and I did an errand day. We brought our laundry to the Laundromat where they kindly do your laundry for you at a fat fee of $5. Then went to an internet café about 15 minutes away and checked out the mall that was a little further. For those of you that have snuck away to SA at some time in your life may have seen Mini Buses driving around. SA doesn’t have a national public transportation system so these private companies (gangsters) own white 10-person vans that drive around to different parts of Cape Town Proper (CT and suburbs). In each van sits a driver and a yeller who lean out the window yelling their end destination “CAPE TOWN!” At first us sexy ladies thought they were just trying to cat call to us, but it turns out they just want our money and would take a fat old man over us if he paid. Good for our self esteem. Anywho, at this point we understand the system and hop on and off of these to go to towns along Main Rd, which is what we live off of. It is about 5-10 rand to anywhere in Cape Town, which is amazing because that is 50 cents to $1 American. You just have to be ballsy enough to ignore the stories of people getting mugged at gun point in these things. But hey, T.I.A.
I guess I forgot to mention previously that for the past few days the keypad outside of our apt has been broken. We’ve been propping open the door with a rock (safe. NOT.) but when we get home the rock was moved and the door is locked. We have no idea how to get into our apt so we go nap in our friends next door until we hear glass shatter really loudly. We run outside and it turns out our friend and neighbor Jon has punched out the window – WE’RE IN!! Of course, if you remember to the early days about our creepy landlords, we had been told every day that the lock would be fixed as well as the window, but it took a WEEK for them to fix everything. T.I.A.

28th of Jan
Train to Muizenberg (shark beach), but it gets WINDY there. Like abrasive windy with the sand. So we leave really quickly. Julie and I go to the mall with our friends Elena and Hannah and spend some of Jude’s hard-earned bucks. We go out but Stevi Julie and I are so tired we retire early and SLEEP.
Today was boring, so I will elaborate on this TIA saying I use so much. Basically it is Africa’s easy way out of treating us like poo, but it really works. Any time ANYTHING goes wrong, we just say “TIA,” and it just makes everything okay because we are across the globe and we can’t do anything about it. It also makes us laugh, and laughter makes everything okay. So when supermarkets close at 430pm or when trains leave you bloody and throwy-uppy, you just gotta laugh and blame the mother country. Get it? Got it. Good. Moving on…

29th of Jan
We wake up “early” (930) and go to the beaches all day. Clifton beach is right near Camps Bay where all the beautiful people hang out, and the beach is.. beautiful. I know you guys are annoyed by that word and you don’t really believe everything is as magnificent as it sounds, but you better believe it. And if you don’t, come visit and I’ll prove it to you.
This day was great, but I’ll stop bragging because most of you are really pale right now while I am busy soaking up the rays every day. We ate lunch at this restaurant that many people had partied at on Sunday (because Sunday is obviously a huge going-out night..) but I was too sick to do. We also saw people hang-gliding off of the mountain to a landing park right near the restaurant, which gave me new ideas on how to spend J&J’s money. We went out to this bar called Springboks where they advertise a Thursday night “Jug Night” where you get a huge pitcher and get to fill it with anything for R45 ($4.50). We were all like, YEAHHHH ITS SO CHEAP, WOOOOOT! Until we realized that they put about .25 of a shot of alc in this pitcher and fill the rest with sugar. RIP OFF. So we just danced the night away on a sugar high.

30th of Jan – The Day of Tourism
Stevi, Julie, and I decide to be tourists for a day and do the Hop-On/Hop-Off bus around Cape Town. We stop at the South Africa Museum and read about some history and make fun of the nudey plaster models portraying African village life. Then we look through the animal exhibit. Next we stop at the SA Jewish Museum so we can convert Julie to Judaism, but as we were walking around we finally admitted to each other that we all actually hate museums and could no longer pretend to smile and nod at the exhibits. We hop on board the bus and let it take us to Camps Bay because we would much rather learn about the human body (tan and muscular on this beach) than the Jews. We ate there and took the bus back and slept the night away. Who knew museums could take so much out of you?

Me, Julie, Stevi at SA Museum:

31st of Jan – Horse Races at The Met
This day was FUN. We knew we were going to the races so we all bought big, floppy hats while we were in Camps Bay the day before. We were scared we would look silly in these hats until we arrived to see that this year’s theme was “Disco Ball.” SAs don’t go to horse races to bet on horses, but instead to enter fashion contests for the best costume fitting the theme, which meant there were couples EVERYWHERE wearing the most ridiculous outfits I have EVER seen. If and when I upload pics, you will understand.

We were also told we should get there early so we arrived at 1030 only to find the first race did not start until 12:30, so what did we do? Ordered drinks of course. And took pictures with the outfitted people. And made sexy eyes at hottie SA guys. And then we were warmed up enough to spend money so I put R10 on five of the nine races, which is $1. AND I won two of those races!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! But I did a swing bet, so I only won R44, so I didn’t net any money, but hey – who’s counting!?
We did the horse races with a group of seven girls, and we left around 430 to go back and shower because some of the boys had bought tickets for the horse race after party and we wanted to go with them. We showered and got all pretty and I put on the same sweaty dress and then we went to the party. At first we got lost and got denied from all of these smaller, private parties, but finally we found the main area and it was CRAZY. Actually a little too crazy so we left kind of early and called our favorite cab driver Steve. About 7 of us were in a cab and we had left some behind, but 3 more wanted to come find us. We waited on the phone with them forever and finally they found us – with a LARGE Irish man in tote, wearing none other than a full kilt outfit. Of course. I kept yelling “AMERICA ONLY AMERICA ONLY!” but this guy came in the cab with us anyway and got dropped off on route to our home so we were safe. Then we had a small get together in my friends apartment where a few of us sang showtunes with champagne bottles as our microphones. It was a grand old time at the time, but now I am known for belting Gwen Stefani tunes off key. WOOPSEY.

1st of Feb (FINALLY)
Interstudy (my program of 47 wonderful Americans) arrived on Jan 19th obviously, but the rest of the American programs (bringing the America count to 300 peeps) arrived on 31st of Jan. They really cramped our style bc at first we were a novelty with sexy American accents (not so sexy, but still different), and now we are just a huge group of annoying, rowdy Americans, so us interstudy kids SHUN the others.
Today was our first day of UCT (Uni of Cape Town) orientation for all SSA (semester study abroad) students. We were all forced to meet at the bus stop at 8am to sit on a bus for the entire day with a tour guide. It would have been amazing and awesome when we first got there, but I seriously could have given half of the tour (because I’m so acculturated *hair swoosh*). It was also a pretty crazy after party the night before so sitting on any moving object was hard for most of the cool interstudy kids, and most of us slept through the tour. WOOPS. We stopped at Boulder’s beach and saw penguins, ate lunch at a coloured community center, and then climbed to the tip of Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope. The lunch was really cool because some kids in the community have a program where they learn to dance, so we got a break-dancing performance!!! It was so good. Although the head of the community center was this heshe who looked sort of Native American, but wore the WEIRDEST OUTFIT – a black leotard with a thong (which we had the pleasure of seeing when it kneeled down), and these hand-made jeans that were four pairs of jeans sewn together. A picture is also needed here – I’ll work on it.

2nd of Feb
Unlike America, there are not nail salons on every corner of every street. This would be fine if we could at least find ONE place to get our nails done. We went to the mall in Claremont (a few towns away) and found two spas that did nails. While in each of them four employees sat doing nothing, we were told we had to make appts before we came. AKA twilight zone episode 32: we can’t get our nails done.
Then we have to go to our next American orientation thing (ugh) called the PTEEP test, which is a test that proves we can think and learn in English. And to think, we didn’t get a review book beforehand! And of course, being that this is Africa, the test proctor took SO long to explain the test including the explanation of how to fill in a circle on a scantron sheet. She also walked us through writing our initials: “You see my name is Carol Anderson, so I would write “C” for my first name “Carol” and then “A” for my surname “Anderson.” Stevi looked at me and goes, “oh so when we were labeling our groceries this morning, that was called “initials”? Hmm, I guess we did study.

3rd of Feb
Happy birthday to Sarah Leiner!!!
Not to take away from your birthday glory, but today is the day I tried SURFING!!! Stevi and I went to the beach with some guys who had gone surfing before, so we all rented surfboards and Stevi and I went out hoping we would just figure it out. We basically just stood in the water giggling at the waves for 20 minutes before the boys found us and told us what to do. It was one of the most fun days I have had here in Africa. Surfing is FUN. But its also HARD. Once you catch a wave the water is moving pretty quickly so getting to a standing position is not easy, especially since my board hadn’t been waxed recently meaning it was really slippery. I did ride a ton of waves in on my knees, but Stevi stood up a few times!!!!! YAY STEV!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

4th of Feb
Since my life is so hard here, we decided to take a beach day at Clifton.

5th of Feb: Wild Goose Chase
For all of you elders out there, class registration in America is quite simple. You log into your school’s database online at the allowed time (usually by class year) and type in a few numbers of the classes you want, and then you are done. Five minutes of clicks of a mouse and your schedule is planned out. Not the case in SA. We are reminded of SA’s third-world status when we hear about registration.
We had to pre-register for courses when we applied to the program and some of these courses were approved, but most were not. I also did not want to take ANY of the classes I originally asked about, not to mention some of the classes I was approved for don’t actually exist anymore (3rd world). So this was the day that we had to “figure shit out” all day. First, we went on a wild goose chase looking for a course catalogue so we could simply find out what classes are offered. We ran around campus and finally gave up and went to the office of the American program we are on (interstudy) and found that there was ONE course catalogue there. So we all sat on our computers guessing courses we may want and then looking in the one book so see what time the class was offered. FINALLY after 3 hours we had a list of classes we may want to take that are potentially not conflicting time-wise. Next goose chase involved running to the heads of each department and getting signed in to these courses. Eventually, Julie Stevi and I got 4 classes we are excited about, and one that the 3 of us are taking. I celebrated with a four-hour nap.
My courses: Organisational Behaviour and Research (business psych course that won’t transfer to Colgate but im SO excited about), Ancient Mythology, Critical Thinking (philosophy course), and Crime and Deviance in South African Cities. If only I knew where on campus these classes were…

6th of Feb: Registration Day
We were told this would be the day from hell because we had to register for classes not online like in the US but on PAPER. We got up early and were up on campus at 830 for registration at 9. We were first on line and since it was only study abroad kids, we finished in an hour, including getting GHASTLY photo IDs that I will not be showing my new SA boyfriends that don’t exist yet anyway.
Stevi, Julie, the two boys next door, and I decide to work out so we try to go to the gym, which we were told was free, but they wouldn’t let us work out (TIA) so Stevi and the boys went up to the Recreation office to buy memberships and Julie and I just ran on the track. It turns out it is free for us internationals but we needed to get vouchers, which Stevi and Charlie now have. Jon lost his somewhere along the walk back to the gym so he gave up and went to the mall instead. What’s nice about going to school in heaven is that there is a pool right on campus for students. So after our hard workouts we all dove into the pool and then read our books next to it, while also looking for hottie first-year guys swimming nearby.

7th of Feb: I’m all caught up!
Since we have been here for going on 3 weeks now (although yesterday was MY one-month anniversary in SA!!) some people decided to take trips this week. Many people went to the Garden Route on the eastern side of the country and will be back in 4-6 days. A group of our favorite guy friends went to NAMIBIA for SIX DAYS. We really miss them already, but we have to make do without them : (
Stevi and I ate breakfast at our friend Aaron’s place with Jackie and Jill (Jack and Jill). Then the four of us minus Jill went to Clifton with three other guys. It was SO hot today that I actually had to lie under an umbrella for an hour. I also saw this amazing hot pink bathing suit (SAs call them “cozzies”) and asked the girl where she got it. She said there was a store in the mall at the V&A Waterfront (touristy area that the McDonald’s stayed in). The seven of us went to the mall and I got a cozzie (WOOPIE!) and then the girls stayed for dinner at Balducci’s – a GREAT Italian restaurant that my fam ate at when they were still here.
So remember how beautiful and wonderful it is here? Well it hasn’t rained once, until tonight. And it poured for like 20 minutes. I mean POURED. Luckily Stevi and I were still in our cozzies at this point (around 743pm) and we see Aaron outside running around in his pink american apparel underroos so we run outside and start a dance party in the rain! Ugh you just cant predict this kind of fun. About 10 of us were out there dancing and singing in the rain (Oh, I just know Jude broke out into song on this one) in our bathing suits. It was beautiful.

WOWZIES. It feels grand to be caught up on this thing. I apologize profusely for repeating so much of what Stevi probably already wrote, but not really because I feel like a million bucks being all caught up. Hopefully I can get to an internet café soon and add a ton o’ pics. Until then.. all my love, and remember: T.I.A.


Tuesday, February 3, 2009

silly season

So, I love this place more and more everyday. From when we last left off, I had just ridden a bike  (a huge success in my life.) The next day Laura, Julie and I went on a city bus tour around Cape Town. We were doing really well in the morning even after only a few hours of sleep. We stopped at a couple museums along the way...the South African history museum and the Jewish museum. We wanted to get Julie ready for her big Shabbat dinner ahead so she had to learn her Jewish history. HA. But both were super interesting. We stopped in Camps Bay for some much needed lunch, where we ate at a cute place called Bungalow. Camps Bay is one of the prettiest parts of CT. The beach is gorgeous and there is a great boardwalk type thing with awesome restaurants, beautiful people and some nice little stores. Bungalow had some awesome food (recommended by Jude McD) BUT I must say I was very disappointed with my mango mojito, which Jude also recommended to me. I'm thinking the bartender was just way off that day cause Laura's drink sucked too. Either way, it was a nice cap off to our tourist day. That night we were invited to Shabbat dinner from this very nice lady I met at the Internet cafe a couple days before. Her GORGEOUS, 23 year old son picked us up and brought us back to their house. I, obviously tried to make my moves throughout the night. He regretted to inform the 3 of us that he had a girlfriend until we were about to leave the house. That was a big time let down..I thought this would be the perfect Jewish Safrican husband...ohhh well...I know he's here somewhere for me. But the food was great and the people were so kind and generous to lend us there home. It had a great view facing Table Mountain, with a nice backyard and pool. 

The next day 8 of us girls went to the horse races! It was a totally random, spur of the moment plan, but it turned out to be one of my favorite and most interesting days here thus far. The people at this event were absolutely outrageous. The entire race had a disco theme. There were tons of couples dressed up in the most absurd outfits I have ever encountered in my life. They pretty 100% will follow, it doesn't hit home until you see the actual people. But we got there are 10:30 in the morning and obviously started drinking right away. Laura and I bet on 6 of the races...I, to no ones surprise, chose the totally wrong horses while Laura ended up walking about winning 2 of the races. She won a whopping 44 rand...either way, much more than I can say. I decided to choose the horse that can hobbling in 40 seconds after ALL of the other horses. Real good choice Stevi...picked a winner. After the races we came back to the apts., rested a little, showered, then headed back out to the after-party of the races. That ended up kind of being a bust but we all somehow ended up back at the apts. singing show tunes and passing around bottles of wine and champagne...a great night cap. 

The next day was a full day of UCT orientation. All of the other American kids have now arrived at this point (something that makes all of us Interstudy kids unhappy.) We feel like veterans by this point and are totally territorial and snobby about this place we don't want to share it with anyone else! Either way, we had to spend the day with 300 American kids touring CT. We did go to a couple sweet places though like the Cape of Good Hope where we did a mini hike and saw this gorgeous view. We also went to Boulder's Beach where there are PENGUINS! I was expecting these huge penguins walking around, but they were smaller than expected. Either way, they were super cute and wobbly. Julie and our friend Charlie decided that I was somewhat like a penguin because of my very short legs like the penguins have...they enjoyed making fun of the way I walked up Table Mountain and how for every one step they took, I had to take at least 2-3. Really nice of them. That night Laura and I took it easy and went to go see Vicky Christina Barcelona. (Movies come out here months after they do in the States.) 

Yesterday (Monday) all the American kids were forced to take this really really reallllly ridiculously stupid test called the PTEEP test, which tested our English skills. We found out after the 2 and a half hour test that it counted for absolutely nothing except statistics. Let's just say no one was happy about that. Either way, we seemed to feel like this test was an absolute insult to our intelligence. We did learn allll about craftsmanship though and how there are formal and informal sectors for the crafts. Awesome. We came home, rested, I burned myself with vegetable oil while cooking dinner, then we headed to a bar called Tin Roof (the one that loves to play all American 90's music.) I had a great time though. 

Today Laura, Julie and I got our nails done. No nail place seems to have nail dryers here, which confuses me, but either way, it was nice to get pampered. After that, we headed to Muizenberg on the train and Laura and I learned how to surf!!!! Our trusty friends, Matt and Jon were troopers and sat out there with us and taught us. I got up 4 or 5 times, which I was not expected, but it was super fun and we are planning on heading back out tomorrow. Laura was really close to making it up but tended to get nervous once she got to her knees. I have faith that she will get up tomorrow though. Tonight, we are staying in to get a good nights rest. Hope this is enjoyable! Miss you all.


Thursday, January 29, 2009

the most recent days

Hello, hello to alllll! YAYAYAYAYA! Laura and Julie are no longer sick. We all went to the doctor on Monday and found out Julie had strep and Laura had strep and tonsilitis. It was a pretty fun apt. to be in, let me tell you! But they are cured now so I have my partners in crime back, thank god. So anyways, it is the 29th..i know its been a few days, but once again i just haven't sat down to do this..its harder then it seems, so hush. Most recently I have been spending my days at the beach. We've been going to Miezenberg mostly (I said Leesenberg last time but that was because I was still an idiot American..i know my shit now.) AND I have been taking the train even with my little falling incident. Such a badass...i do tend to hustle off the train and throw some bows so no one holds me back..either way, I'm a trooper.  Oh and a little may seem like my life is a joke right now and I'm doing nothing but having the greatest time ever but real life starts soon. Registration for classes is next week and I start on the 13th. 

On Sunday...myself and about 10 others went to the Green Market in the Indian section of Cape Town. It was a pretty low-key market with kind of the same stuff at every stand but I did a totally awesome bargaining job for 8 bangle bracelets. I give all of the credit to China Town, so thank you. We then went to go find this Malawian restaurant that our sweet driver Al told us about. After we do our hike up this massive hill (wasnt expecting table mountain take 2, but wahtever, the view was great) to the top where we were told this restaurant was...IT WAS CLOSED. I was sweaty and hungry and unhappy. We have come to find out that most everything in all of Cape Town is closed on Sundays. Actually a lot is closed all weekend. People love their time of rest and hanging's def a different lifestyle. We did end up finding a Cafe in Rondesbosch (part of CT right next Mowbray, where I live) that was super good. A very good day of beautiful views and new and interesting things. Actually all of the museums that I am going to visit are in the Indian part of town so i will be heading back that way soon. That
night, we went to this place called La Med. Great, chill atmosphere. It is in town and basically everyone spends their days on the beach then heads the the bar for happy hour then the rest of the night. We didn't do the beach thing then went later in the night...def a good time. Ohhhh except for some of the creepers there. They were all wasted and were awkwardly macking on a lot of us girls...super weird but our guy friends were standing up for us so nothing bad happened. Oh speaking of something bad happening...a kid on my programs comp got stolen the other day. He was an idiot though and left his window open. The program specifically told us to not do that cause people will try to break in...and they did. Pretty scary. So NOW they are deciding to beef up the bars on the windows and stuff. Sounds scarier than it is. I honestly haven't felt unsafe once since I've been here so I'm just going to go ahead and call that a fluke. Anyways..back to my life.

Tuesday. Laura, katelyn (one of our awesome friends on the trip) and I went to Cocoa Wah Wah. What to say about cocoa except that it is AWESOME. It is an internet cafe where they have the cheapest and yummiest food. And this amazing smoothie that is mango and mint. Try it out sometime..its way good. While we were sitting there this very nice lady and her daughter sitting next to us started chatting it up. She saw the jew star necklace on my neck..duhh..we always seem to find each other and started talking to me about her friday night shabbat dinner. She invited me and any of my friends to come and I think Laura, Julie and I are going to go. Julie is going to be such a great Jew after this hahaahah. very nice lady though so it should be interesting. That night we went to a bar called Tin Roof...they LOOOOVE their American 90's music. It's hilarious. I heard a lot of Blink 182 that night...go Travis Barker. Anyways, it was a fun, silly bar that we will probably be attending a lot of on Monday nights. They have a great 2 for 1 special for like 3 hrs. on top of all drinks being about 2-3 American dollars, which is pretty standard here. 

The next couple days were spent at the beach getting nice and tan. I am once again turning my ridiculously dark hue while everyone else is burning, i know, i know, i suck. People are def starting to think Im Safrican. cooooool. So those were just blah days at the beach and now onto what I did today!!! Mom, you are going to be so so so proud of me!!! 

I WENT BIKING! I have not been on a bike since i learned when i was 8 years old...13 years. So that saying, you'll remember, its like riding a bike doesn't necessarily work for me. Oh well. So, my friend Aaron conned me into going to Stellenbosch (where all the wineries are) to do a bike n wine tour around 4 different wineries. It was great!! After a little bit of unsteadiness (only like 5 mins) it was like riding a bike, weirdddd!!! It was totally great, though my ass really took a beating from it. At each winery we tried 5 different wines and had a glass of wine at lunch. Needless to say by the end we all could have potentially gotten BUI's (biking under the could happen! but not here...) A really really fun day and a nice exercise though. Bottles here, good bottles, are also super cheap..shocker. For a bottle of very good wine, you pay at most 80 rand..which is a whopping 8 dollars. The exchange rate is really really great. Anywho...I am off the get ready to go out. We are going to this bar called Springbok in Claremont. It is Thursday Jug night which is a whole lot like half fast except for the fact that you buy one jug (pitcher) for 40 rand...4 dollars and get free refills. Boulder would be loving it. Anyways, i miss you all and will post soon. 

ohhh and im a total idiot. my skype name is actually feinbers NOT stevi. sowwy

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

stev and laur jan 27 morning


(legally blonde)

Monday, January 26, 2009

13-18 January: McDonald's do Cape Town

Welcome to Cape Town! Oy so much catching up to do!!
So we arrive in Cape Town where we are staying at an apartment on the V&A waterfront – a very touristy area that looks like any other vacation spot on the water, so we hate it from the first dinner but some people seem to love it. We ate at a restaurant called Balducci’s which was SO good, but the menu was all pictures of naked women.

We get a late start the next morning (14th) and drive to find my apartment. We get the landlord’s number and meet her once we find the apt. She says my room (Kendal Court apt 6) isn’t ready yet, but she will show me two other ones. The rooms are all huge and really nice. She says I can move in on Sunday – a day before everyone else arrives. Of course we also see a ton of sketchy looking people walking by wearing full-body orange suits whom we pray aren’t prisoners.
Then we moved on to our first winery called Groot Constantia – it’s the most touristy, but it was pretty quiet when we were there. We met the owner, Diana, who is really smart and gave us the insider knowledge about South Africa. Then we went to another winery called Constantia Uitsig (pronounced eight-such with a Yiddish ch- sound). We ate lunch at the Italian restaurant there and it was delectable.
AND THEN we wanted to climb to the top of a mountain called Lion’s Head, but we were unclear as to where to start so we started on Signal Hill, a place where the crazys go to praise the full moon. We started the hike from signal hill and the views in incredible. I wish the internet here wasn’t so ghett because you NEED to see pictures of how amazing this city is. Mom is afraid to hike if it started to get too dark, so we ended the hike early and got drinks in a town called Camps Bay where the beaches are. This town is really SoCal and beautiful, and the people there are GORGEOUS. Holy potatoes, I have never seen a place so heaviliy populated with beautiful people.

Thursday morning (the 15th) we take the cable car up to the top of the famous Table Mountain. We took some pictures of flowers for Uncle Hugh. Then we went out to Hout Bay where there was construction on this scenic drive out to Chapman’s Peak so we ate at Wimpy’s – a fast food chain – and it was GROSS. And you may or may not know that I have the taste buds of a three year old so I usually salivate over the thought of fast food. I guess I’ll also mention here that ketchup in this darling country is awful. Its watery and tastes like tomato juice. And for me, an avid ketchup lover, this is not gonna fly for 6 months. So that night we stopped in a super market and bought Heinz ketchup and I have been bringing it around with me to every nice restaurant and sneaking it on my plate when the wait staff isn’t looking.
We continue that day driving towards Cape Point – the most sounthern point other than Antarctica. The Simonstown beaches are famous for having PENQUINS! We only saw 3, but these beaches were really nice. We continued on to Cape Pt and took the Funicular tram up to the top. Cape Point is famous for having baboons, which are evil animals that like to steal food and your soul. There are warnings everywhere not to eat food or to keep your windows open because the baboons will steal it and can get into your car. When we finished looking at Cape Point, we came back down on the Funicular and kept making jokes that we should buy food so we can see some baboons, since we hadn’t seen any yet. Either way, I was starving so I bought a bag of chips and a soda and was hanging out as my mom was taking a video of a baboon like 10 stories up on a rock. All of a sudden the baboon sees my chips and disappears, only to reappear 2 seconds later near us. The guards start yelling at the baboon and chasing it with a stick, and a lady tells me to get rid of my food. Next thing I know the baboon has come out of a different entrance and is watching me and walking closer. Dad yells to jump in the car which is pretty far away so I run to the car and just as I jump in and close the door the baboon is right under the door and if I had taken an extra second he would have gotten me! SCARY. And you all thought monkeys were cute little munchkins.
We finished the day in Kalk Bay, a cute hippie town near Cape Point. In this town, as in all towns in SA, stores close at 530 or 6. This is because people love to get their party on or love to get their sleep on. I don’t know, but working past 530 is unheard of. So we window shop and wind up eating at this weird Cuban place that Alex picked out. At first I’m all grumpy mcgrumpster because of the aforementioned premature tastebuds but this place is COOL. The inside is filled with random, mismatching tables, lamps, chairs, artwork all from Cuba and other commie countries, and everything is for sale. The food was also delicious, so everyone left happy.

Friday, Jan 16th
So whenever I would mention my travel plans to SA a ton of people said they would never think of going there, EVERYONE added their 2 cents about safety, and then there was this third group that was ever expanding of people coming out of the woodwork saying they’ve been here or know people here. Its like a hidden secret you only find out about once you’re going to SA. You mention Cape Town and they pull you into this back room where there are lock boxes filled with pictures they hide behind all of the family Cancun shots. It’s strange. But everyone seems to know someone that has been here or lives here. ANYWAY our soccer mom family friends – I’ll withhold their names until you all travel to SA – have been here on business a few times and gave us the name of a guy Joe Hannen who owns a small tourism company and who can take us on day tours of the wine country. Wine? McDonalds are in.
Joe Hannen (I call him Joe-Hannen-burg, HAHAHAHA) picks us up bright and early and onward we go! First we go to this Afrikaans language memorial in a town called Paarl, pearl in English – confusing, I know. It’s a beautiful monument, but I’m still confused why we aren’t being served wine so we jump in the car and head to our first winery in Paarl: Laborie. Lets add here that we all LOVE Joe right away, and the boys make plans to golf with him and he wants me to babysit his children. We stock up on dessert wines at Laborie then head onto Haute Cabriere in Franschoek – the French Corner in English. Here we also had lunch in a Frans restaurant (my taste buds are aging!) and shopped around the overly expensive touristy town. Next we stop at Spier winery, one I had been really looking forward to because you can pet CHEETAHS there. But after going on safari we hated seeing the cheetahs in their enclosed areas and did not want to have a “cheetah encounter” PLUS the cubs were over a year old and looked like the adult cheetahs, I wanted to see some cheetah puff balls, but they don’t let the cheetahs know each other biblically in captivity so no new babies were there. Wiggidy wack. So we bounced. We didn’t even stay for the wine.
The boys ate dinner at a steak house called Balthazar’s and mom and I saw Vicky Cristina Barcelona in the movie theatre. A) the movie was AMAZING. B) movies are only 33 rand, aka $3.30, another example of how cheap everything is here. C) an example of how overly nice SA people are, my mom and I started talking to this mother and daughter and she friended me on facebook right there on her phone! I know from Microsoft word spell check that you adult readers have no idea what that means since “friended” and “facebook” haven’t been added to Webster’s yet. In time, in time.

17th – Saturday
R&R day. Apt till 13h00 (1pm) and then beach on the north shore. They call (“they” being the generic they/the Man) CT the “windy city” and we learned this the hard way at this beach on the north shore. Since it had no wind protection, Jude Alex and I acted as wood being filed down by sand paper. Five minutes in, we were black from the sand and couldn’t hear each other since every crevice, namely our ears, were blocked with sand. I think we fought the wind for an hour and headed to the restaurant where Jeffy was eating lunch. We all walked in looking like sand prisoners, and I couldn’t enjoy my meal because I forgot my Heinz at home! Dinner on Long Street at a tapas place called Fork, and it was incredible – all the food here is amazing.

18th – Sunday – move in day!
We walk to find this famous Sunday morning market in Green Point but because of all the World Cup 2010 construction, we can’t find it and just wind up eating instead at the Waterfront. Reminder that the Waterfront is real touristy, but there is a concert going on in this little amphitheatre outside and there is a Man Band (boy band with 4 late-30-year-old men wishing they were teens) singing songs in English and Afrikaans. They weren’t terrible, but they weren’t magical either because their voices didn’t mesh well. In Afrikaans, “danke” - pronounced donkey – means “thank you.” So the last song we could stand out of the Man Band was when they said thank you in song – in Afrikaans. This meant that – since we only know danke – the lyrics sounded like “that is myyy donkeyyy” over and over in harmony. We couldn’t stop laughing so we just left, but the lyrics really touched us and we kept singing them the rest of the trip but with our own interpretations: “alex is myyy donkey,” etc.
I called this Move-In Day because as you recall from the beginning of this post, the landlord promised I could move in today to Kendal SIX. But when we arrive, my apartment is still being painted, my apartment being Kendal five. This is when we realize the landlords are twilight zone creepy, and the lady sounds like Salad Fingers, a weird cartoon to which I’ve provided a link so you can understand how this woman speaks: .
We left the twilight zone with a warning that we were actually bringing stuff to move in tomorrow, when the other students were supposed to arrive. Dinner at Kirstenbosch gardens where we arrived way early to read our books and be lazy, and wound up listening to the Sunday concert from afar so we could get waiter service at the bad restaurant there. I ordered Mac & Cheese because of the tastebud disorder and because nothing looked good on the menu, and they put it in the shape of a smiley face on my plate. Like, I understand that my tastebuds are wack, but that doesn’t mean my mind is deficient, I could take it in a slab if need be. Good thing I had the Heinz with me.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Jan 18-25 through Stevi's eyes

So I know it has taken forever for me to post but I have just been so busy getting everything together, seeing everything and drinking. Let me start by saying that this place is absolutely amazing and even more than I thought it would be. So I guess I shall start from the beginning.
I flew from JFK to Dakar, plane was supposed to just stop in Dakar and people could get on and off then continue to Cape Town. Everything was running smoothly until we were about to take off and a light came on on the pilots dashboard saying there was a problem with one of the flaps on the wings (ya know, the thing that helps the plane slow down..kind of important.) Needless to say the mechanics in wonderful Dakar were not able to fix the problem so we were stuck in Senegal for 24 hours. Driving through Dakar to get to our hotel I was freaking out (on the inside) because this place was not the most safe looking or comfortable place to be. I thought to myself, welcome to fucking Africa Stevi, this is what you asked for. But, Delta put us up at a great hotel (someone said it was a 5 star) where they comped our food and drinks, which was awesome. Luckily, there were about 10 other kids on my program on the plane so I was able to get to know them pretty well. The next night we finally made it to Cape Town! I am living in Mowbray in Cape Town. I guess the best way to explain it is (for you connecticut people) what North Stamford is or Shippan or Downtown...just a section of the city. Boulder peeps its like North Boulder or the Hill. Kinda confusing. Anyways, I am living with Laura and Julie and its been perfect. They are getting along great..just as I would have guessed.

On to the next couple days...we basically had orientation for our program where they fed us a lot of information on registering for classes and really important info. It kinda sucks but we have to go stand in line, or as they call it, a cue (sp?) for about 10 hrs on the day of registration for classes. They explained CT (abbrev of Cape Town) as a first world city in a third world country...makes sense. They have most of our technology but apparently not the whole online registration. Ohhhh welll. That afternoon about 10 of took a taxi to Camp's of the beaches in CT. It was one of the most beautiful sights I have seen so far. It is a known fact tat the waters at camps bay are ridiculously cold so I was only able to touch my toes in the water then run away. No swimming for me. They had a little boardwalk with shops and food next to the beach so Laura, Julie and I went to eat at a little restaurant called Caprese that was super good. It helped that all of the people at the restaurant, customers and waiters, were for some reason gorgeous. Oh ya, i forgot! The people here and BEAUTIFUL. It doesnt hurt that they have sexy accents too. But the people are just gorgeous...I wonder what they would think of Americans if they came to the US. I doubt they would think we were a beautiful looking country haha. Laura is very intent on thinking that everyone is very intrigued by us Americans and that they think we are really beautiful too. I think they are just looking at us cause we stick out so much. Later that night we went out to a part of town called the Observatory (they call is Obs...which only helps with our abbreviating...totally awesome). We went to a couple bars. The first was Stones where it was a lot of tourists and the second was Roots. Roots had an awesome layout. You walked in and you were on sand where they was a bar and everything. The next room was full of people and played techno music and another bar. Then the last room was another bar with lounge chairs and no roof so you could see the stars..super cool. I decided that it would be a wonderful idea to take shots with a boy in our program (Robby) called Bob Marley shots. They were really sweet and colorful which is always exciting. My head was not happy with me that next morning. Fun bars though.

The next day we were told to be ready by 9 to do orientation part deux. So as someone that loves to be on time I woke up at 830 and was ready to go by 9. I have learned that CT lies when they say be ready by this time. If they say know you arent leaving until 10. This did not make me happy but I am getting used to it and kinda liking the slower pace to life. After orientation the 3 of us (laura, julie and i) met up with Lauras fam on the last day of their trip. We headed to Stelenbosh which is about an hr outside of CT to go to lunch and a winery. THe wine was super good, as was the food. Laura, Julie and I proceeded to buy 9 bottles of wine between the 3 of us. It's okay though...a bottle of wine costs around 40 rand here which is 4 US dollars. AWESOME. Everything is just super cheap. It's great. I keep thinking Im playing with monopoly money and that it's not real...that will for sure bite me in the ass soon. It's fun for now though. We ran errands for the rest of the day and came back to the apt and passed out. I had only gotten about 5 hrs of the sleep combined from the previous 2 nights.

Next day...we hiked up table mountain!!! I had wanted to do this so so badly and I was able to accomplish it with the program planning a trip for us. The hike took us around 6 hrs altogether...4 and a half of those were spent getting up. It was a tough hike but so so worth it. The views from up there were stunning. The top of table mountain is the highest point in CT. People really enjoyed saying they were the highest people in CT (funny because everyone smokes weed here so they thought it was hilarious.) Everyone was ridiculously tired after the hike so we all took an hour nap, woke up and got ready to go out once again. It was a kid on our program, Chris's 21st birthday so some of the mentors (the people helping us out with everything...they are awesome and around our age) filled up an entire bathtub of alcohol in a couple of the kids rooms and we partied there. The drinking age is 18 here but for some reason they Safricans love to celebrate the not complaining. It was a lot of fun. Julie and I decided it would be a great idea to stay out till 5 and 6 AM. Really smart choices. I have found that people here start their nights of drinking earlier and end later. It kinda puts Boulder to shame...doesn't replace the people though. I still love you guys so no worries!

The next day around 20 of us went to Leesenberg beach. Surfing is really huge are sharks and shark attacks (2nd highest in shark attacks in the world.) It really put me at ease to swim in the water. I did though and this water was much warmer than at Camps Bay. I decided that day was not my day to learn how to surf though. I will learn by the end of my time here! I am determined. Luckily, no shark attacks on this day. The sun was gorgeous and hot and we all learned from the day before that the sun is really strong. people were getting burned through their clothes...pretty crazy. I did pretty well with the sun...i have a good base but everyone else seemed to get toasted. Totally spolotchy in really weird and awkward places. It was funny. So it was an amazing and relaxing day at the beach. We left to take the train home around 5. The program had told us not to take the train after 6 just because sketchier people tend to ride the train at later hrs so we wanted to get out of there. We finally got on the train where we met some weirdo people...but we were in a group of about 10 so we were safe. BUT...(sweet story). Our stop came up so everyone was filing out. In Africa...apparently they dont believe in stopping the trains for a long period of time to wait for everyone to get off. Instead, they stopped the train for literally 5 seconds. People were still getting off of the train and they started closing the doors and moving. 5 of us still were not off of the train. So i thought, what the hell, I'm getting off this train. I didnt think twice and I jumped (the train was still somewhat crawling but def moving.) I jumped and cleared it but Laura decided she needed just jump a second after me, tangle my feet up and fall on me. Lets just say the concrete and I became close enemies. I scraped up my knees and foot...luckily I didnt face plant. Laura and Julie both fell as well. It was quite a sight to see. The people at the stop just kinda looked at us and laughed at the stupid Americans...figures. And the train just kept trotting along. I have always wanted to jump off a moving train though. So it worked out well! I got my wish and a sweet story out of it. Side note..Laura is sick right now. Im thinking she has the flu or strep throat. She slept all day at the beach yesterday, passed out in her bed once we got home last night and has been in bed all day today sleeping. We are going to the doctor tomorrow. Pretty shitty. Last night a big group of us went out to dinner at this really yummy restaurant in another part of CT called Green Point. We finished dinner at 1145 or so and took a cab to Long Street, where they have a lot of fun bars. After a couple failed choices of bars we finally made it to a place called Cafe Baghdad where they were mixing some amazing house music. We danced our asses off for a couple hours...a good time to say the least.

On to today..we went to the flea market and ripped some people off with was awesome! haha. And now I am here...writing this to all of you. Anyways, CT is everything I hoped it would be and much much more. The scenery is beautiful, the people are incredibly nice and gorgeous and life is great. Until next time...I love you all!