Wow! What an amazing last four days days! On Friday AND Saturday, we took the mini-bus (I’ll explain what a mini bus is later) to Clifton Beach, which is an absolutely gorgeous beach with turquoise, but freezing waters. When we went down on Friday, it was completely empty and we basically had the whole beach to ourselves. But on Saturday, there was a major kayaking competition down there so it was packed full of young people and booths and stuff! Literally 20 feet off the shore, we spotted a shark!!! Everyone ran up to the edge of the water to see it swimming around, it was absolutely terrifying. Good thing no one was really swimming because the water was so freeeeekin’ cold. But it was still eerie nevertheless. No surf lessons or scuba diving for me this trip!
Yesterday, we took the minibus to the V&A waterfront, which is apparently the nicest shopping in all of Africa. It reminded me of Fashion Island mixed with Fisherman’s Worf in San Fran. Up and down the waterfront were very upscale (but still very inexpensive) restaurants and cafe’s, and a lot of the upscale designer stores we would find back home. It was extremely touristy and very upperclass, I could have easily been in Beverly Hills. Three of us girls in the group spontaneously decided to sign up for a two hour sunset champagne cruise on the harbor for about $18 US dollars (unlimited champaign and an awesome sail boat, hell yes!). It was probably one of my favorite experiences I’ve had in Cape Town so far! The views from the boat were indescribably beautiful, and we made friends with local South Africans on the boat. A few people including one of my friends decided to jump off the boat into the freezing, shark infested waters! After a few glasses of champaign, our time on the boat flew by and we were back on shore. We had dinner afterwards at an amazing sushi and seafood restaurant. The restaurant was indoors and was very classy, but the entire floor of the restaurant was sand and it had glass windows with 360 views of the water. It felt as if we were eating straight on the beach!
Today, me and my friend Zell decided to explore the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, which is a giant national park in Cape Town with many different flowers and endangered plants. We spent the majority of the day hiking trails, sniffing flowers and herbs, and just having the best time. We ended the day with an early dinner at a cute boutique restaurant called Mango Ginger in the Observatory, which is our neighboring town. The Observatory is very hippie and cool, with lots of thrift stores and classy coffee shops. It’s just a short 10 minute walk from our house so it is definitely my new favorite place to dine and walk around.
Anyways, finally back to the mini buses! The mini buses are the way that most people get around the city, considering that cars are mostly for the upperclass. It costs 60 cents no matter where or how far or long you take it! But its the price you pay for hopping in a van with about 15 other strangers. It’s like taking a taxi van with a bunch of random people squished in, and then you just tell the driving when you want to hop off. It’s like the ghetto version of a San Fran trolley, but it is truly the best way to get into town. The mini buses drive in circles all around the major destination, like the beach and the shopping districts and there’s always a mini bus passing by every 10 seconds to hop on and off. Having taken the mini bus a handful of times now, I am so grateful to have a car back home! Oh the luxury of hopping in the car and going wherever I please! It’s just different.
We have this entire week off until next Monday to do whatever we want, so I’m sure I will have some cool things to update you all on soon! Not homesick yet (sorry mom and dad!) but it’s probably because every day here has been so unique, special, and AWESOME!