We left early Tuesday evening to go to Table Mountain. We took a cable car up to the top of the mountain, which was a near-vertical trip. When we got to the top I found extensive walking trails reaching far along the mountaintop. And I had just been expecting a little look-off and gift shop! The view from the mountaintop was unbelievable. I won’t even attempt to put into words the beauty of the view.
Also on the mountaintop I saw an animal called a dassie. Dassies look like big, gross rodents, and apparently they are addicted to nicotine from eating cigarette butts left behind by tourists. I'm going to try to get a picture of one from someone to post on here in the near future.
One of my favorite parts about Table Mountain was that there weren’t any ropes or fences stopping you from walking right up to the edge of a huge dropoff. That was pretty exciting. We stayed on the mountain to watch the sunset, and by that time clouds had settled BELOW us.
On Wednesday morning I went for a run. I ran toward upper campus, toward Table Mountain. The entire first half of my run was uphill… It was pretty miserable. But when I turned around and ran around campus it was so exciting to see students bustling around for orientation. I ran by a freshman dorm while new students were moving in. I got a little bit better sense of where everything is on campus, and I even gave someone directions to the Steve Biko Building! I’m practically a local already. (Look up Steve Biko! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_Biko)
I went to Long Street later in the afternoon. Five friends and I tried waiting for the Jammie Shuttle (provided by UCT) to take us closer to our destination, but after waiting for over half an hour, we decided to go for a taxi (minibus) – my first experience with one. As we hopped into the first minibus we spotted, a woman on the street yelled at us not to get it. That was comforting. But, aside from being overcharged (still less than the equivalent of $2 per person), all went well. One guy working in the taxi kept hopping in and out, getting people in and out, exchanging money… it looked like a surprisingly active job. We were dropped off at a flea market area right near Long Street. Within about two minutes of getting out of the minibus, Christina, Elizabeth, and I all bought dresses... After that we calmed down a little and I just browsed the stands without actually buying anything. I plan to go back soon. A friendly shoes salesman (who has a sister that lives in Minnesota) recommended a little food shack around the corner for lunch, so of course we followed his advice. I experienced the Gatspy for the first time. A gatspy is a South African dish that is essentially a sandwich comprised of a long roll, French fries, some kind of meat, sauce, and lettuce and tomato. Yes, I ate meat again. We then walked over to Long Street and a few of the side streets that were cobblestone streets with more street vendor stands set up. Kind of a New York feel.
First experience in a minibus
A famous gatspy (this is a HALF gatpsy)
Yesterday, we went to a beach in a little town called Fish Hoek. We took the train from Rondebosche, which provided a nice scenic trip along the coastline. I love using public transportation, and the men walking through the train trying to sell candy and snacks were pretty entertaining. Fish Hoek was a little beachy town with some personality. I liked it, and I was impressed with the houses running up the mountainside. What an incredible location to live. Unfortunately, however, the beach was COLD. Like pretty much everywhere in Cape Town, the wind was deadly. I gave up on getting a tan pretty soon, and laid on the beach completely covered with my towel. I ate in a little restaurant in the town, and the man working there asked where we were from in America. When I told him Tennessee, he grinned and said “Ahh, Jack Daniels!” So, Tennesseeans, apparently that is what we are known for across the world.