Monday, April 21, 2008

Backpacking - Friday March 21 - Saturday March 29 - Cape Town

We arrived in Cape Town late in the evening. The Baz Bus drove us down Long Street to our hostel, Inn Long Street. Grace, Sonya, Ryan and I moved into our room and immediately opened the doors to the balcony off our room. It faced out into the buzzing night life of Long Street, the infamous party street of Cape Town. Alive with energy from our final destination we went out for dinner and drinks at the cafe across the street. Our energy didn't last long and we ended up in bed early as usual.

The next day we headed out to explore Cape Town as well as pick up somethings that were left in the Baz Bus back in Plettenberg. I approached a nice looking older couple on the street hoping for directions to the BazBus office, instead they kindly drove us. The office wasn't nearby and when we arrived we found out that the items that they thought were ours were not. We'd have to come back on Tuesday. We were angry and embarrassed. I couldn't believe that we had gotten this free ride and they didn't have our stuff. On our way back from the office we found a great African street market. There was so much to see. It was the first I've seen since being in South Africa. We were able to get a lot of gifts there. We relaxed for the rest of the day and went out for Indian food for dinner - our first ethnic food since being in South Africa.

Sunday was Easter so Grace and I got up early and headed to church. To our surprise we met a group of you American missionaries, one of whom was from New Jersey. It was nice to talk to them. I didn't enjoy the service at all, but it was nice to be in church on Easter. After the service we walked down Long Street looking for somewhere to have brunch. We found a great cafe for brunch across from the street market. Again we lazed around the rest of the day, reading/sleeping in the hammocks on the porch. For dinner we had Chinese - the first I've had since I've been here - it was delicious. It tasted so fresh! We even got to do some Sake Bombs, which apparently they don't do in South Africa.

Monday we lazed around some more and attempted to go out in the evening. It was a public holiday, Easter Monday, so not too much was going on.

Tuesday Grace and I had scheduled a winetour. We got up early and waited around for the person to pick us up. When he was extremely late in coming, the boy at reception called him to see where he was. The driver claimed he was never told to pick us up. We were not happy. Instead we headed down to the waterfront where we met up with Ryan and "Germany" who we had met in Mossel Bay. The waterfront was nice, but reminded us a lot of the Inner Harbor in Baltimore. Since we could now go to pick up our things from the BazBus office, Grace, Ryan and I walked down there to do so. The walk was very long and it was very hot. I wanted to kill someone. On the way we got to see the up-and-coming Cape Town soccer stadium for the 2010 World Cup. It's not coming along so well. We also got to see a big of the beach where we could see all the way to Robben Island (where we never got to go). Once we got to the office we actually got our stuff and headed back to Long Street.

Wednesday Grace and I were rescheduled for our winetour and headed out early to embark on that. It was all Americans and one Scot on our bus. The winelands were beautiful, surrounded by mountains. At our first stop we got to see where they keep the different kinds of wines. Then we learned how to do a proper tasting. Once we tried our first wine with the group we got a list and got to try six different wines from the list (although we tried a few more than that). Along with the wine tasting was a cheese tasting. The cheeses were very good, many were goats cheeses. At our next stop we did a seated tasting with a group. We did a lot of wines. I lost count. At the end we tasted the World Champion brandy. It was made at this vineyard. I did not enjoy that AT ALL. It burned and I thought for sure I'd have hair on my chest afterwards! I did purchase a few small bottles as gifts for people at home, though. Also, they had a little trivia contest at the end and the winner won a bottle of wine. I won at my table. The question was "what year did the brandy win the world championship?" 2003. I got a nice bottle of Rose. At our next stop we got to enjoy lunch. Mine was amazing. I had a lamb burger that is soaked in red wine. It was delicious. We tried a lot of sparkling wines there, but at that point I was not in the mood for wine any longer, I just wanted to eat. By our final stop I was finally sobering up, but was in no mood to continue trying wines, but they just kept on coming. It was not appreciated on my end. When we finally returned to our hostel we found out that we had to rush to go pick up our Greyhound tickets for our trip home. Grace and I raced down to do that, just before the office closed then enjoyed a dinner alone. Afterwards we headed down to an outdoor jazz festival where the African market usually is. We met up with "Germany" and spent the rest of the evening with him. He is a jazz lover so we had a lot of fun with him. When the concert was over we headed down to a pub across the street from our hostel. Every night we had heard cover bands playing great "white people music" as we call it - your normal cover band material: Build Me Up Buttercup, Brown Eyed Girl, 80s music. We decided to go check the place out. We ended up having a great time. The music was fun. There were a ton of people there. It ended up being a great night.

Thursday we headed up Table Mountain. We got a cab to the cable car, then took the cable car up to the top. Once we hit the top we all went our separate ways. I ended up walking the entire perimeter of the mountain. It was beautiful. I got to see the views from every angle. It was amazing. I could've stayed up there forever. I really enjoyed it. When we got back we had lunch and took naps. When I woke up I wasn't feeling very well but thought I was fine. Next thing I knew I couldn't keep anything in my stomach and was very sick. I ended up spending the rest of our time before going back to Grahamstown on Saturday out of commission. It was awful. I spent all of Friday, our last day in Cape Town in bed. I was not very happy. Being sick made me so homesick I thought I was going to die.

Saturday morning we had to get up at 5am to catch our Greyhound back to Grahamstown. I was still not feeling my best, but prepared myself for the 15 hour ride with crackers and ginger ale. I slept on and off most of the ride, but had a hard time keeping things down. It was a terrible, terrible experience. When we finally reached Grahamstown I don't think I could've possibly been happier. It was so nice to be back in "my" room and "my" bed. It was a dream come true.

The trip was amazing. I had so much fun and met great people. It was the experience of a lifetime, but it was nice to finally be immobile.