DAY TEN - CAPE TOWN
Phew! At least I got a little better for the Table Mountain. Karen joined us for that day. The view from the top was outstanding. Then we went to beautiful, green and lively Cape Town Gardens, where we were enjoying the sun while waiting for Tertius, who later took us to some burger place. Unfortunately, I started to feel unwell again, and didn’t really enjoy the rest of the day. I made a bargain – 280 ZAR into 230 ZAR for an African-shaped sculpture to hang on the wall. It later turned out that the same thing costs 199 ZAR in Johannesburg. In the afternoon we travelled to Franschhoek – a place, which name I will never remember how to spell. All of us were invited to a braai by lovely people, a professor of economy and his wife. Unfortunately I was still recovering and could only eat crackers with tea. It was, however, a local specialty (special tea), with an addition of buchu, which ellegedly works miracles when it comes to stomach bugs.
When you start a day with Table Mountain it must be amazing, especially if the weather is a good as it was for us. How do you describe the view, if you already used all kinds of positive adjectives you know at least three times? You go to Thesaurus. So the view was astonishing, startling, astounding, marvelous and breathtaking. Then we spent just a casual afternoon in Cape Town. We went to the Gardens, visited the Green Market, ate hipster burger, visited shops in the Long Street, Zuza failed to bargain. I remember being confused about not having to hurry or having a deadline. I didn’t know what was going on.
What made the day memorable was our bunch falling prey to street vendors and sellers. Our politeness and unassertiveness made us easy victims of aggressive marketing.
Our visit to Stellenbosh University wasn’t a visit at all. I really wanted to see the library but we just walked around. The most interesting thing though: there were two pictures printed and taped to the sidewalk. Both were pictures from someone’s Instagram account (Instagram is where people publish pictures) from a Halloween party. There were people dressed up as blacks. All bedaubed with some kind of black grease, maybe foundation. Anyhow, the pictures were commented “Blackface is racist!!”. Now, seeing what is happening in the University in Pretoria, I realize that in South Africa universities are a part of political discussion. However it looks like now, I guess no longer a discussion but a fight in most cases, it is still quite remarkable in comparison with Polish reality. Here, the importance of student organizations is practically nonexistent. There are student organizations but they have no influence whatsoever. Needless to say the students themselves, unorganized, are completely disengaged from politics in their country. So yes, what is happening in the universities in South Africa right now is overwhelming and exotic and it got out of control. But it is a wonderful thing that the students feel like they are part of the conversation and they’re active in voicing their opinions (even if it’s on a sidewalk).
We ended up in Franschhoek, where we had a wonderful time during dinner with our hosts and their dogs.
Oh yes, and I must conclude that there is nothing overrated in Cape Town.
Today we start with Table Mountain. I was really waiting for it. Along the way we pick up Karen. It is really nice to see her here in South Africa. We used the cable car to get to the top of the mountain. The view is definitely breathtaking. I cannot believe my eyes, it is all so beautiful. The whole Cape Town at me feet. Ships in the distance look as if they were floating in the air. We are now 9585 km from Warsaw- impressive. I will certainly remember these views for life. Then we went to lunch with Tertius Kapp-a lecturer who worked at our faculty. Afterwards we walked through the streets of Cape Town in search of souvenirs. Unfortunately it is time to leave that wonderful city. On the way to Franschhoek we stopped at Stellenbosch University. We quickly toured the campus and we relaxed on the grass for a while. Me, Agata and Zuza stayed with Joan Archibald and her bunch of dogs. The dogs were very excited for our arrival. One of them especially liked Zuza. She had to caress him all the time. In the evening we had braai with Adrian and Ilona's hosts. We spent a really pleasant evening.
Playing lice on Adamastor's head
The top of the Table Mountain – there are certain places in the world that just resonate with ancient energy (and Japanese tourists), and that is definitely one of them. My only problem is the little cart ride (or the elevator ride, I am not really sure how to call it) we took to the top. The achievement would be very much more enjoyable and satisfying if I would climb all the way up there instead of taking a cheap way out. Unfortunately, it is not safe to do that because of the mountain bandits. Anyway, sitting there on top all night would be a whole different experience. Note to self – do that somehow. We had a wonderful walk around the park and had lunch with THE man in Cape Town – Tertius – who hooked me up with yet another specialty of the Cape, a delicious kind of plant that is equally popular in Poland and yet is utterly different in South Africa. In a good way, naturally and expectably. I will be referring to it later. Sitting down for a while on Stellenbosch campus, we finally settled down in Franschoek for the night, in a mountain house close to the stars.
We’ve heard about Table Mountain hundreds of times. Honestly, it wasn’t a thing that I was really waiting for. I mean, I presumed that it would be beautiful, but what I saw on the top of the mountain was beyond my wildest dreams. I can’t even write about it the way I feel it. It was just perfect. You could see the whole Cape Town, below you. The clouds were floating upon the ocean. It looked like the ships were flying on the clouds. Later on, we took a walk in Company’s Garden, where we could see the monument of Cecil Rhodes. I really enjoyed those moments during our tour, when we didn’t do anything specific. We were just walking aimlessly, experiencing the daily life of Cape Town. After a few hours of walking around the city, we headed for Franschhoek. Me, Agata and Michał stayed at Joan Archibald’s house. She turned out to be a really nice lady, with three big adorable dogs. What I’ve spotted in South Africa is the fact that every host (except of Tildie) that I was staying with had a dog, at least one. I think their presence made homes even more homy and I really enjoyed their company. Later that day, Joan took us to Jan-Henrik and Amelia Hoon, with whom Ilona and Adrian stayed. Like with other hosts, we talked about our country, politics and our studies. People were always very surprised when they got to know that we are on South African studies. Of course there was a braai again. This time, a new dish appeared on our plates- slaphakskeentjies. The dish consisted of cooked onions with a sauce on the top of it. I really enjoyed the taste of it, as I’d never tasted anything of this kind.