I know in past ports I’ve done a little better about writing every couple of days about what’s been going on and what I’ve been up to but Cape Town was just so amazing! I pretty much stayed in Cape Town and didn’t take advantage of the trips to the African Townships that have their own distinct culture and heritage. I was told that they were quite meaningful for those who visited but if you went to a Dalit village in India, as I did, you would get much of the same impression of the poverty and social/racial inequalities present. After seeing a lot of the world’s poverty in the past few ports it was certainly a refreshing feeling to be in Cape Town, which is a fairly modernized city. In the waterfront area, where the ship was docked, it was quite touristy and the down town area was like many other cities in the US. Overall the city had somewhat of a Cleveland or Boston feel as you walked the streets. There was a charm that you find in little New England towns too. It was a great comfort to be there.
I was scheduled to hike up Table Mountain – the dominant feature of the Cape Town landscape – on our second day there. Unfortunately, when I got up that morning I was really sore from wandering the city the day before and I was feeling a little under the weather – a result of living in an enclosed environment and breathing the same air as all of the rest who have been sick. So I slept for another few hours and went out to tea with Dean Lloyd and took the cable car up to the top of the mountain later. The views from the top are breathtaking and I can only hope that the pictures can do justice to it. I wandered further into the city on Day 3. I walked the botanical garden, museum, university area for most of the morning to get a feel for the place. It was amazing. That night I called home for the first time since Vancouver. I got to talk to my entire family, including Garrett! I said hello and he made one of those uniquely baby sounds. Even though I’ve seen pictures just hearing him made his existence for me that much more real. I can’t wait to see him in person and, as Chris (my brother) says, Garrett can’t wait to meet me either. What a brother I have! It was great to hear all of their voices again! I haven’t felt homesick at all on this trip; there’s been too much to see and do to feel homesick. I’ve been missing them terribly and can’t wait to be with them again, though. But I don’t want this all to be over either! On Day 4 my friends Valerie and Samantha and I took a tour through the Stellenbosch wine region. It was a lovely afternoon of driving through the countryside and tasting some good wines with some good friends. I would highly reccomend that you give South African wines a shot – those of you over 21, of course. I’ve gotten hooked on sparkling wine myself, it’s good stuff. Some of the white wines were pretty good as well. A good time was had by all and I am so thankful that I got to be there with such good friends.
Cape Town is a wonderful city and will certainly be towards the top of the list of places for me to return to. Many of us could see ourselves even living and working there for a little while. The people we encountered were such a joy. We are even going to try to keep in touch with one of our waiters who was so eager to share experiences with us and learn about the US and tell us about Angola, where he’s from, and his impressions of Cape Town and school and all of that. I am so amazed by everything that I’ve seen and done! I still can’t fathom the fact that I’ve been to so many places and experienced the beautiful diversity that is all around me. And I’ve only scratched the surface. I’ve only gotten a taste of each port and I will definitely be returning and branching out to other countries as I travel throughout the rest of my life. I can only hope that you all have the opportunity to catch a glimpse of how the greater world works and find the beauty of everything that is out there. My thoughts are with you and I can’t wait to see you all and share what I’ve seen and hear what’s happened in the past months. But first, Brazil is calling and I must answer!