UCT, hiking, and figuring out where we are

These past few days have been so draining! On Thursday, I woke up early and went with some people to get pre-approved for enrollment at the university. They just had to make sure all of our travel and financial information was legitimate in order to actually take class. Thursday was a pretty mellow day because we were all so tired from the previous few days. In the evening was the “freshers” braai up on the campus rugby fields. We got a bunch of free food, drinks and live music! Thursday night consisted of watching The Hangover and making burritos with people.

Me and Zakumi, the World Cup 2010 Mascot

Yesterday, Friday, started with a three-hour line waiting to register for classes. I really miss student center after that. The line was standing in the sun for about two hours and then sitting to talk to a counselor to make sure the classes weren’t conflicting with each other. As of right now, I am registered for General Ecology, a class about Genocide in Africa, and African Music. I am debating whether to drop African Music and enroll into Xhosa level 1. I want to take Xhosa, but don’t want to be swamped with work all the time. I am pretty sure I will end up taking it though. Once people were done with registration (around 12:30pm) our landlord took us to Kalk Bay down the east side of the point to go hiking and caving. He explained the trip as a “moderate” hike but now none of us trust him in his judgment of adventure. The hike was about 45 minutes up into Echo Valley and into the Kalk Bay mountains where we were met with the entrance to Boomslang Cave. The climb up to the cave was amazingly gorgeous in the least but the entrance to the cave was not nearly as inviting as the hike. The 10-meter climb on our stomachs without flashlights was something out of a horror movie. Once inside the main chamber with some lit candles and flashlights, I was taken aback by the mysteriousness of the cave. Since there were so many of us, there was nothing to be afraid of. The chamber opened upwards the further we walked in almost higher than you could see with the flashlights. After about twenty minutes of winding our way around from corridor to corridor, we could see the light at the end of the tunnel and we made our way out. I have seen many places this trip that I have never seen or thought existed before coming here to Cape Town. All of them more beautiful than the last but the view we were given after emerging from Boomslang Cave, was one of chills and butterflies. Rocks on both sides and the peninsula and endless sea in front made for one hell of a picture. Even my pictures though, cannot express the depth and vastness of the cave exit, and in fact, the entire Cape Peninsula I have seen thus far.

Echo Valley:

Sarah, Anthony, Me and Jess before Boomslang

In the Boomslang!

Boomslang Cave

The hike downwards was something a little less fun though. We ended up losing the trail and bushwhacking our way to the town below, but nonetheless, we emerged (scathed, unfortunately) and found a nice Cuban mojito restaurant before the train came to take us back to Observatory. After cooking a delicious stir-fry, the night ended quickly as we were so tired. Today has been much more relaxing than the “moderate” hike though. We took the train again down the east coast to Muizenburg beach and got our sun and surf on. Unfortunately there were too many shark horns and flags going off, we couldn’t surf much. On the train ride back, a few of us talked to a couple little kids and they were adorable. They were very mesmerized with my new Jabulani World Cup Replica soccerball and wanted me to buy them three for them, ha. They also like Erin’s tattoo of stars on here leg. It is always interesting to see how children here react to Americans. They are just so curious and friendly, it is so difficult to not just give them all of your money and belongings. This is why I am excited for SHAWCO to start so I can actually feel like I am doing something to help the children and young-adults with some sustainable information instead of a few rand thrown there way.

Tonight some friends of mine are hosting a BYOBraai at their place. Should be fun to cook outside and relax. Tomorrow I want to make my way into Cape Town city center and explore, but we will see how much energy I have after getting super sun burnt at the beach. I have so much more to say but have to get going! I wish all of you could come see this place for yourselves. If you get the chance, please don’t pass it up.

Content, I suppose.