My adventures in South Africa were possibly some of the most unexpected experiences of my voyage. Because it was so far down on the Itinerary my research really only consisted of looking through some guide books on the ship the day before we docked- which actually led to some fun adventures and surprises!
The first day I had a lab for my Global Media class. We went to the University of Cape Town and sat in on a film class and talked to some of the students. The campus felt like the perfect setting for a TV show drama and we weirdly blended in (A girl even came up and asked me if I knew where one of the buildings was!). From the steps near the center of campus you can see almost the whole city, along with table mountain. We got there a little too early, and had a little of time to wander around aimlessly pretending like we belonged. After a few minutes I was thinking, "So I can transfer here as a senior still right?... right?" (Just kidding I still love SFA!)
A view from the steps at the University of Cape Town
Our class still got to the classroom before most of the students and apparently their teacher didn't tell them that we would be crashing their class because each student would walk in with a look of shock on their face as they wondered whether or not they were in the right classroom. It was pretty hilarious actually. We then sat through a presentation on the history of South African film and watched some of the senior's final film projects. They were all really well done and seemed to be more culturally specific to South Africa, which made them really interesting.
One thing I noticed in South Africans was their openness about racial issues. Like some of the films we watched, the lasting effects of Apartheid were widely discussed. One issue of The Cape Times that came out while we were there featured a cover that was completely black and had this on the center:
This was also something we discussed in my Media Ethics class- should a newspaper be a vehicle for change? I would argue yes, in cases like racism- which is clearly wrong- the media should take a stand against it. I really admire the way South Africa is tackling their issues by talking about them. I think that many people in America shy away from the topic of race- afraid of being called a racist. But how are things supposed to get better if we don't talk about them? I too have been guilty of shying away from political conversations- they usually aren't very fun. I think it's time for that to change though. As our ship guest Desmond Tutu, an activist that helped end Apartheid said, "If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality".
Anyway, back to what I did in South Africa (although I can't promise I won't get off track and rant later- sorry!). After the class we talked to some of the students over pizza, and mutually enjoyed listening to each other's accents (the South African accent is like a mixture between a British and Australian accent. I think they win for coolest accent). I also got my first real avacado in months from a tent among all the food tents that were set up and it was so good I had to mention it here even though I'm probably boring you. I ended the day at a place called 'The Waterfront' that was near our ship and had a ton of good restaurants and shops. It was a good day.
The next day I had nothing planned and pulled together a last minute adventure to Table Mountain with my friend Kyla that was on my lab the first day. She had a group of friends who were planning on venturing to the top of Table Mountain and I decided to jump in on it. What started out as a big group ended up as three people- me, Kyla, and my friend Carson- after most of the group decided to take the cable car to the top instead of hiking. I'm so glad I hiked. It was not an easy hike, and It was really hot and sunny. The view, which was visible the entire way up, completely made up for that.
Seriously, look at this view!
Also the view from the top!
After we reached the top and reveled in the reward for our hard hike (beautiful scenery and snacks from the store on the top), we took the cable car back to the base and went in search of authentic African food. At the suggestion of a random store owner at a shop I bought a hat in, we went to a place on Long street called Mama Africa's. I can now say I have had ostrich meat with bananas and thoroughly enjoyed it. It isn't something that sounds that good, but trust me, it really is. We also wandered around Long street and found some book shops, coffee, and free wifi (which is actually pretty rare. America wins at free Wifi and free refills for sure).
The next couple of days I had signed up for a safari at Fairy Glen safari. It's well known that the place to go for safaris in South Africa is Kruger National Park, but I was saving that money for a camel trek in Morocco (which has a somewhat crazy story attached to it that you will hear about in the Morocco post). Fairy Glen safari was still very cool, and we saw four of the "Big Five" animals. The Big five are: the African Elephant, Cape Buffalo, the African leopard, and Rhinos. We saw all but the African leopard.
The day after I returned from my safari I woke up feeling like death itself and completely missed the field program I had signed up for (it was an impact trip and the only one I missed the whole trip). I couldn't sit and do nothing, so I joined some friends (Noble, Brittney, and Alyssa) and randomly explored while day-drinking (it was Noble's 21st birthday). We wandered around Greenstreet- which had a bunch of booths set up for shopping, explored Kristenbosh National Botanical Garden, and had dinner at a really good sushi place at the Waterfront.
The last day I felt increasingly terrible and the cold and rainy weather seemed to mirror my terrible headache. It was all made better though because Penguins are adorable. I signed up for a day trip called "Penguins and Paddle" and I did not regret it. The rain actually was kind of nice also.
SO CUTE! (Just ignore my giggling. They were so cute I couldn't help it! :D)
The things I really wish I could've done were cage diving (Actually did sign up, but our reservation was cancelled because of the weather), and visit a township. I know that I only saw one side of South Africa, and there is still so much I want to learn. I don't know when, or if, i'll ever get back to South Africa but I really hope that I do someday.