Saturday, June 13, 2009

Cape Town Rocks.

We left Kampala very early in the morning last Monday before the sun came up. The night before our host Betty threw a party in our honor at her house. That's another blog post all together. There was matooke, dancing, strange games and lots of Nile Special. In short: it was super rad.

We all left kind of sad to say goodbye to our friends, and a place that had grown very familiar to us. We were all pretty comfortable on the back of an erratic motorbike. We knew how to do the ubiquitious Ugandan handshake (I'll show you when I get back) and how to sit on the ground properly (on your knees).

We arrived to Cape Town after a short, hectic stop over in J'burg airport (suffice to say they better get their shit together before they're hit with the World Cup clusterfuck that's headed at them next year).

After our first week here draws to a close, my first impressions have turned out to be pretty accurate:

Wow. Is it ever different here.

I'm not exactly sure what I was expecting... cooler weather... better food... wider offerings at the movie theater... But it goes so far beyond that, I find myself forgetting I'm in Africa at all.

An example of things that are different here: meters in cabs, salads you can eat without thinking twice, potable water, pedicures, sodas in plastic bottles and metal cans, vineyards, museums, fantastic thai food, hipsters, a wide variety of people who come in all different colors, dentyne ice: arctic chill, lack of need for mosquito nets, pharmacies in which a prescription is required, lack of haggling for every single thing you might want to purchase, large number of fellow travellers, autumnul colors and weather, a large middle class... you get the idea. It goes on. And on and on and on.

It's hard to describe how shocking and overwhelming it was the first few days here. Especially for Lisa and I, who have spent the past three months gradually getting used to avoiding uncooked vegetables and arguing over every monetary transaction. I think it's the sudden familiarity with how things work and what things are that's so surreal.

What's even more shocking to think about is how a country like Zimbabwe could share a border with a country like this. Granted, there are very evil things bubbling under the surface here that I have only the most casual knowledge of, and I'll probably leave here without ever coming into contact with the way life is for the cogs in the wheels that live in slums and keep to themselves.

But the sheer functionality of South Africa is truly astounding. The stability of it. Wow.

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