Posting Location: Wah Wah Internet Café Friends,
Made it to Cape Town last night around 11:30! After 20 hours of sitting and watching movies on the airplanes, we are finally here. Unfortunately we flew in at nighttime so I couldn’t see much of the landscape around the area, but it was daytime as we flew south from Amsterdam. The land that we covered from the lowlands of the Netherlands all the way to the southern tip of Africa were some of the most diverse I have seen in my life. The Swiss Alps were beautiful, making me realize why Swiss cartographers are so good at their profession (wow I am cool). Then we hit the magnificent blue Mediterranean. Finally, the north shore of Africa came into view, the first time I have ever seen the continent. Even seeing this unrecognizable landscape made my heart start pounding. The continent I have heard and read so much about, and seen countless times on a map, was now directly below my feet. The Sahara desert was vast as you can imagine. It only took about 4 hours, going 600 miles per hour to fly across, nothing big. You couldn’t tell where the land ended and the sky began because of the heat radiating back off the sand. It was as I imagined; dry, sandy, and filled with mirages of beautiful women drinking from water holes.
We landed around 11pm in Cape Town and waited in line for customs, got our bags, and found the orientation leaders who were wearing bright green shirts. The leaders are all students at the University of Cape Town and seem very nice. We got to the dorms and put our bags up in our rooms and of course had too much energy to just go to sleep right then and there; which I regret this morning as I type this. A couple of the leaders took us on a walk to a small area where there is food and bars. Seeing as it was already one in the morning, a group of 15 or 20 white students wandering around was probably the most noticeable thing to we could have done as we drew the attention of many people walking back to their houses, but nonetheless we were enjoying the humid, 70-degree weather of Cape Town. Jealous?
We walked around this morning to find a pharmacy to get necessary sun block for the beach. Since there is nothing to do today (22nd), a couple of leaders and us are taking taxis to the beach! I got my cell phone for the local area and it seems to be pretty reasonable for the entire time I am here… about 200 USD for the entire 6 months! All incoming calls from people to my phone are free for me. Later before noon I took my first mini-bus ride to Camps Bay beach on the other side of Table Mountain with a lot of people. The combination of the Atlantic Ocean and Table Mountain containing the beach was unbelievable. Just being here for a day makes me wonder why any of us go to school in freezing Wisconsin. This city is everything a person can imagine, and more. The kindness of the local people, the scenic views from literally everywhere, and the beautiful mountains surrounding the entire area make this place truly amazing. Also took a campus tour after the beach and went up to the Rhodes memorial, which is dedicated to Cecil Rhodes, the largest figure involved with the creation of the University of Cape Town.
The view from Rhodes memorial
Rhodes memorial again
One of the most surprising things to me so far has to be the diversity of the Cape Town area. I went into this thinking that the University area was going to be mostly white, since I was told that, but there seems to be mostly Black Africans. I really enjoy being around so many interesting people. So far, even though it’s my first day, I am thoroughly content with my decision to study here. Tomorrow we move into our houses, which will be awesome, but first I believe the orientation leaders are showing us what an evening in the city center of Cape Town is all about!
Cheers, my friends