We got home from Durban early yesterday morning. The trip was great in the end, but started off kind of weak. Right off the bat Durban was not very fun because our backpacker (hostel) owners were not very welcoming to us arriving. This set us off on the wrong track for the next half day because taxis were bringing us to the wrong places, the weather was not nearly as sunny and warm as we expected, and our disappointing dinner of chinese food didn’t even compare to Asian Supermarket on Lower Main Road here in Observatory. Fortunately, the next day was really warm and sunny, so we managed to make our way to the beach. There I swam in the Indian Ocean for the first time in my life! It was a beautiful ocean that was way warmer than the atlantic has been. We also spent some time in the Suncoast Casino where my luck didn’t fare me well unfortunately. This didn’t deter me from the better time we were having in the city though. We managed to get some good food that night. The next day we spent some time at an Indian market, which was no different than the markets in Cape Town with the thousands of reproduced “African” things that are more than likely mass produced in some huge factory in China.
The best photo of the Durban World Cup stadium. It totally overpowered the city (which was good). It is also a new stadium, similar to Green Point
Durban was a fun city, but not nearly as entertaining as Cape Town has been. The population is much different than Cape Town with only 7% white and a huge Indian population. Durban is the city with the largest Indian population in the world outside of India, which had a huge influence on the cuisine. Race relations in the city seemed to be far less progressive than Cape Town. We asked many people where we should go out to bars and restaurants and we were pretty much told to stay in the neighborhood we were in instead of going downtown because we were white. It was far different than Cape Town in this respect, where race, although hugely apparent and influential, doesn’t impede on peoples’ interactions with each other. All in all, Durban really just made us all appreciate Cape Town much more.
Lately the house has had a totally different vibe than it did during school. Everyone is finished with their exams and some people are even packing to either go home or move to different places. It is sad, but also exciting. The world cup is coming up so quickly. It feels weird with the house seeming like it is almost over when we haven’t even hit the biggest part of being in South Africa yet. It will be a bittersweet goodbye to all of my friends in the house and around the city. We have been taking minibuses to the city quite frequently as of late in order to do everything we want to downtown. We hit up the old Dutch castle from 1652 (fort) that once stood on the shore line before more land was added to extend the city. We also have been walking through the Company Gardens a lot, which originally provided produce for passing Dutch East India Company (VOC) trade ships; hence the garden part of the Company Gardens and the Company part of the Company Gardens. Amazing how things work like that.
Tomorrow morning a few of my roommates and I are driving up to Namibia for a 6 day trip to the Namib dessert. I cannot wait to see the dunes and the extensive dessert! We are planning on camping most nights in the chilly dessert nights, but I am sure we will find ourselves in a backpackers a couple of nights. Almost our entire house is driving up to Namibia but all at different times. We leave tomorrow morning, the girls leave Saturday morning and some other people leave on Saturday evening. The drive is long to the border (about 9 or 10 hours) and then the drive to Sossusvlei where the dunes are is another 8 or so hours. Good thing we all get along then right?
I will update when we return on the 9th! Bye for now…