Experiences of a med student with an incurable travel bug.

On Saturday 2/2 I went to Clifton Beach with my roommates and some other people they know from the University of British Columbia. The beach was gorgeous: fine, white sand on the Atlantic Seaboard, with huge boulders separating the different beaches. We were on Clifton 3, the gay beach — 4 is the nicest, but it’s always packed, so we just stopped at 3 where there was still some room and dozens of guys running around in speedos. yikes. Amanda, my last roommate got in today finally after a night of insanity; their flight got in late, then most of their luggage, including all of hers, was lost, so they didn’t go to the houses until 3am. At that point they couldn’t get in anywhere because no one heard them (they didn’t make it as far as our place, we’d been waiting up so even though we’d crashed by then there was no way we would have missed our buzzer of a doorbell). They were able to get ahold of Ida Cooper, the woman who makes all the arrangements for the Princeton kids and other private schools, who was able to let the Princeton kids into their housing — and then she told the rest of them that they were on their own, that they’d need to get hotel rooms for the night or something! Unbelievable. Amanda was able to sneak in with a Princeton kid and spend the night there, eventually making it to our place Saturday afternoon, at which point she had to go shopping as she had absolutely nothing. Luckily she eventually got back one of her bags, but the one that was lost on her way to New York is never coming back. 😦

Our orientation started on Sunday, and they took all 400 of us on a Cape Peninsula tour. We went through downtown, the waterfront, Cape Point, the Cape of Good Hope, Hout Bay, Chapman’s Peak, Boulders beach where the penguins are, and past the last prison where Nelson Mandela was held. We stopped for lunch, a braai (aka barbecue) in Simonstown, one of the poor townships, where the kids sang and danced for us.There were a couple boys that must have been about 9 years old that were just amazing dancers, it was so fun to watch them perform.

Over the rest of the week we were mostly just talked at during the day, but we got some useful info. We also had a drum circle, which was a lot of fun. One night we went to Mama Africa, one of the famous/tourist restaurants, with our orientation leader Blandina. It was a lot of fun and very good, I had crocodile! We went to a soundbar called Zula’s afterward, and it’s definitely one of my favorite places to hang out downtown; there are bands everynight, and people can come chill in the bean bags, at the bar, or on the deck overlooking Long Street (Cape Town’s much bigger version of Madison’s State Street).

On Saturday I met Graham and Claire, some of my aunt’s friends. They took me to lunch at Groote Constantia, the oldest wine estate in Cape Town, after which we drove around Hout and Llandaundo Bay. Then they invited me back to their house for a braai, where I got to meet Graham’s mother Barbie, my aunt’s South African mother. Barbie took her in when she had no where to live after first moving to Cape Town, so they are very close. It was so nice to meet them, they’re really great!

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