This week has been a lot of late nights and exploring! I wanted to make the most of the time before classes start up to get to know Cape Town. It’s funny the every day things you don’t notice at home and how different it is in another country – grocery shopping, for example. They don’t keep the eggs refrigerated here – they’re just out on the shelf. And there are attendants who weigh your produce for you in the produce department to determine the price there. Another thing I miss – insulation. The houses here are so cold! As soon as I get home, I throw a hoodie on. But the cabs here are insanely cheap – a twenty minute ride ends up being around 15$ CAD.
I’ve explored campus a little more – two of my housemates and myself walked up through campus to Rhodes Memorial. Rhodes was pretty much a baller who owned a lot of land in Cape Town, and he left the land to the nation when he died. Part of his estate was where UCT’s upper campus is now.
The next day a group of us went to Clifton beach, on the Atlantic Ocean. As always, I was the first person into the water. It’s a little shocking at first, but not that cold once you’re in. Since it’s the middle of winter here, the beach was pretty empty.
We stayed at the beach pretty much all day and watched the sunset – it sets at around 6:30 or so this time of year, not as bad as a Dryden winter! The views from the beach are pretty spectacular, and I cannot wait to get a surf board!
The weather wasn’t as nice yesterday, so Caroline, Hannah, Thea and myself went downtown to see some of the historical areas of Cape Town, and to visit the aquarium! We started off walking through the Castle of Good Hope, which is an old fort downtown that was originally built due to strained relationship between the Khoikhoi people and the Dutch traders. The fort was used as a main settling point in Cape Town by the Dutch, and was where they tried criminals. Back then, a sentence couldn’t be carried out until you confessed to your crime, so if you where charged and hadn’t confessed, you would be sent to the torture chamber to see if they could change your mind there.
There are still soldiers who work at the Castle. We spoke with one, and he told us in Cape Town the soldiers don’t carry weapons on them until 9 p.m., which I thought was interesting enough to share with you.
After we saw the Castle, we went to the District Six Museum. District Six was originally a mixed-race neighbourhood, but was destroyed when it was declared ‘white’ by the South African government. The residents were all evicted and sent to live in a ‘coloured’ area. These forced evictions based on race began in the early 1900s, but were carried out most prominently throughout the 60s, 70s, and 80s.
Once we finished up at the museum, we went down to the water front to go to the aquarium. I had to get a membership (it wasn’t even 20$ CAD for an annual pass! Such a steal!) and then we all explored. There are a lot of species of fish that are only found off the southern coast of Africa, so it was really cool to see the different varieties of fish (if you are an aquarium nerd like me, of course).
After the aquarium we headed back to our neighbourhood and went out to watch the rugby match between the Bulls and the Stormers. We tried getting tickets but it was sold out, and people were tailgating at the stadium early in the afternoon. So we went out to a pub and ended up meeting some South African guys, who taught us the South African version of Moose. It’s clearly the wrong version, since they were playing with a Canadian and a Norwegian, the true moose people.
Today, Dan, Thea, Hannah and I went to one of the mountains in the city, Lion’s Head, and climbed up to the top – 2, 195 ft! It was a pretty good climb, mostly easy but one spot close to the top where you get to use chains and rails that have been fixed into the mountain to climb up the side.
Classes start tomorrow, so I think next week will be fairly chill. That’s all for now!