Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Month in Review

Cape Town, photo credit to Peter-Jon Grove

Cape Town, photo credit to Peter-Jon Grove

Cape Town, photo credit to Peter-Jon Grove
One month ago today my plane landed in South Africa.

It's been quite a month! To date, I have:
  • Waded into the Atlantic Ocean
  • Tried to get onto a train that was so full that all the doors and windows were open for people's limbs to hang out of. When I attempted to get close those crushed people shoved me away. (I opted for a taxi after that).
  • Eaten chips (er, French fries, that is) practically every day.
  • Been assaulted by a drug addict on the last train out of Cape Town for the day. (Luckily PJ was with me.)
  • Revisited beloved Observatory, the funky student town I lived in four years ago.
  • Been harassed by a disgruntled taxi driver after leaving his empty taxi for a fuller one. (Once again, Peej was with me)
  • Crafted, beaded, knitted, composed fiction. And, I have an idea for an art project involving all my old train ticket stubs.
  • Witnessed a broken train let off loud red sparks that sounded like firecrackers at Salt River Station. Luckily, it wasn't my train.
  • Haunted cafes for hours reading for class, writing out response questions, or paging through a novel for fun.
  • Hiked up the mountain to UCT. Been frustrated with bureaucracy. Given up on grad school. Found the hope and resources to keep trying.
  • Gone thrift-shopping. And, I had to buy a shirt at the mall one day, because a strong gust of wind made my top get caught on a fence. The tear was pretty ugly.
  • Witnessed a mugging. It was violent--I saw the mugger slap a woman--so we called the cops.
  • Ingested countless muffins and gallons of coffee.
  • Gotten a mosquito bite on every square centimeter of my skin. I am convinced.
  • Helped PJ celebrate his birthday, and Valentine's Day.
  • Gone to a carnival.
  • Spent hours in various Internet cafes.
  • Been following this controversy. The long and short of it: Late last month a YouTube video of ANC spokesperson Jimmy Manyi commenting on the future job prospects for the Coloured population of Cape Town went into heavy circulation. The clip was with KykNet's Robinson Regstreeks and aired in March 2010, while Manyi was still the director-general of labour. Manyi was quoted as saying in the clip: "So they must stop this over concentration situation [of Coloured people] because [Coloured people] are in over-supply where they are, so you must look into the country and see where you can meet the supply." (The Guateng Province, where Johannesburg is, remains an ANC stronghold. The Western Cape has the highest population of Coloured people in the country, and the ANC has much less political clout here.) And now there's infighting at the ANC--some members condemn this speech as racist, others defend the sentiments.
  • Stirred the pot in conversations with strangers. Chatted up taxi drivers.
  • Been calmed by two rainstorms.
Month 2 starts now. My vague goals are to keep a leg up on school work, eat more muffins, and finally get up Table Mountain.

The beach is my happy place.
Fourth Beach, Camps Bay
I love a summer fair!

5 comments:

  1. Wow! That's such a strange dichotomy of things you did last month. Eating muffins and witnessing muggings. After reading this, I'm really glad PJ is there with you too! Good luck, have fun, and stay safe!

    Nick

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  2. Thanks broski! Every day is intense, but I'm so glad to be here. PJ and his family have my back, and I'm careful!

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  3. Be so so careful. You celebrated Valentines day!? :)) <3333 i love peej.

    Also, excuse my ignorance.. but Im assuming ANC is a political party? What does it stand for?

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  4. I'm assuming Wikipedia was helpful. But to sketch it out: ANC = African National Congress. Very instrumental in fighting apartheid, and reconstructing the country after liberation. Mandela's party. And, unfortunately, it is super corrupt now, only 16 years later :/

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