August 10 – Tenth Day in Cape Town

Today we took our Mid-term exam; not one of our favorite activities, but its part of the process (international learning)!148 149 161

Later we went to dinner with Luke Angels, Director of African Angels Tours.  We dined at Café Extrablatt for the first time and it has become me and my flatmates most favorite place to eat!

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After dinner we were escorted by Kay-Lin Hermanus and her friend Amy to experience the night life of Cape Town.  When I’m home in America, I don’t go out for the night life; never was something I enjoyed doing.  I decided to go; just for the experience, to see how it was.  Remember, I’m out here experiencing and this was the experience for the day. We caught a taxi to Long Street, which is a major street located in the City Bowl section of Cape Town.  It is famous as a bohemian hang out and the street is lined with many book stores, various ethnic restaurants and bars.  Some of the clubs we barhopped to were Abantu Lodge & Backpacker, Bob’s and The Dubliner (to name a few).  At one of the clubs, we met a guy that was from Chicago and man he had that “Dougie” down; he was jamming!   In my opinion, it was pretty much the same as it was home; no one asks others to dance.  If they dance, they dance with the people they came with or by themselves; which is why I never understood the purpose of going out.  Again in my opinion, it’s more like a meat market, where people come out just to check each other out.  Different country, same concept.

Amy & Kay-Lin

The guys we met from Chicago; doing the “Dougie!”

By this time I had had enough of the night life, so Jaime, Anna and I got a ride home from Kay-Lin’s boyfriend.      175 176 173 174 178 179

August 09 – Ninth Day in Cape Town

August 09th was National Women’s Day in South Africa, which is an annual public holiday and honors the national march of women.  On this day in 1956, more than 50,000 women staged a march on the Union Buildings in Pretoria to protest against the proposed amendments to the Urban Area Acts (commonly known as the pass laws).  They left bundles of petitions containing more than 100,000 signatures at the Prime Minister’s office doors and stood outside silently for 30 minutes; many with their children on their backs.  The women sang a protest song, “Wathint’Abafazi Wathint’imbokodo! (Now you have touched the women, you have struck a rock)!  In the years since, this phrase has come to represent women’s courage and strength in South Africa.

Since Women’s Day is a national holiday, there were a great number of businesses closed on this day.  So on this day, we did what we usually do and went to the Waterfront.  And boy was it packed!  We spent the rest of the day studying for our Mid-term that we were going to take the next day.

An Unknown Story

This gallery contains 10 photos.

I’ve always known about the stories of Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Nelson Mandela; who are my most inspirational people.  Yet, I had no knowledge of the story of Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe, who was a teacher, lecturer, lawyer, … Continue reading

August 08 – Eighth Day in Cape Town

This gallery contains 22 photos.

Today, we had a date with Nelson Mandela; well, the closest we’ll ever get to him anyway; to Robben Island.  As I mentioned before, the first book we are reading is his autobiography “Long Walk to Freedom (LWTF).”  It profiles … Continue reading

August 07 – Seventh Day in Cape Town

Now, I know it may seems like we are on vacation, but don’t get it twisted, we are doing massive school work!

After class today, we went on the Bo Kaap walking tour.  Bo Kaap (formerly known as the Malay Quarter) is traditionally a multicultural area, rich in history and situated on the slopes of Signal Hill.  The area is known for its romantic cobble stones streets and reminds me a lot of San Francisco; with houses that stick together.  After the demise of forced racial segregation under apartheid, property in the Bo Kaap has become very sought after; for its location and its picturesque cobble streets and unique architecture.  The Bo Kaap Museum is the oldest house in the area still in its original form.

Our tour guide was Shireen Narkedien of Walking Tours of “The Cape Malay Quarter.”  During our tour, Shireen stopped in Biesmiellah, a Cape Malayan restaurant and bought koeksisters, Dhaltjies aka chilli bites and samosas.  Koeksisters are a South African syrup-coated doughnut in a twisted or braided shape.  Samosas are a fried or baked pastry with a savory filling, such as spiced potatoes, onions, peas, lentils, ground lamb, ground beef or ground chicken.  We fell in love with the samosas!

After the Bo Kaap Museum, we stopped in “MonkeyBiz,” a sustainable income generating non-profit organization that provide self-employment opportunities to bead artists and provides them with skills training and support.

On our way to catch a taxi back home, we saw a group of men shooting craps.  I positioned my camera to take their picture and most of them held up their hand like “No;” not to take their picture.  Then one of them came up to me and said I could pay them to take their picture.  I was like, “No, I will not.”

Later, my flatmates and I went to the Waterfront to go to McDonalds, because we were craving some fattening America-like food!  And when I’m in America, McDonalds is one of the last places I would go to eat.  This McDonalds had a desert section that sold cheesecakes, muffins; pretty much pastries.  They had a cool play area for kids as well!

Amber and Rachel – The Long Walk to Freedom (LWTF) presenters for the day

Bo Kaap Museum

Our Tour Guide, Shireen Narkedien

See how cold we are

Inside of Biesmiellah

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August 06 – Sixth Day in Cape Town

Today we woke up to a very raining day.  The season here right now is Winter and their winter weather consists of heavy rain and wind and today was our first day experiencing a winter day, which forced us to change our agenda for the day.  We had planned to take a walking tour of Bo Kaap, but due to the rain, it was postponed.  We spent the morning preparing for our afternoon class, reading our first book, Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela.  After class we collectively prepared a meal for an intimate dinner for ourselves, Arlene and a special guest.

Our meal consisted of bobotie, butternut and/or mushroom and bean curry (for vegetarians), yellow rice, chutney, avocado salad, green salad and malva pudding and custard (for desert).  Bobotie is a South African dish consisting of spiced beef baked with an egg-based topping.

NOTE:  We didn’t prepare the butternut and mushroom/bean curry.  It was prepared and contributed by Arlene, who is a vegetarian; so is Anna (in our group).  The main dish we prepared was the bobotie (with Dr. Bredesen as the Head Chef) and the sides.

Our special guest was Magadien Wentzel, whose true life story was featured in the book “The Number” by Jonny Steinberg.  Magadien is a coloured man who was a second year student at the University of the Western Cape and imprisoned for his involvement in the 1976 uprising during the apartheid years. He served two years in jail without trial as a political prisoner and while in prison he joined one of the most feared prison gangs (the 28s), which led to him serving 25 years in prison.  Magadien explained that joining the 28s was a wrong choice that changed his life forever.  The crimes he committed while inside of prison extended his sentence and he was released from prison on June 09, 2003.  With a 25 year prison sentence behind him, he is currently trying for a new start and plans to complete a degree in child psychology.

Bobotie

Mushroom and Bean Curry (vegetarian dish)

Yellow Rice

Avocado Salad

Green Salad

Garlic bread for Amber

Our Special Guest, Magadien Wentzel

Me and Arlene

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August 5 – Fifth Day in Cape Town

Today our guide was Arlene Hermanus; remember she was one of the people that greeted us at the Cape Town airport with Dr. Bredesen.  Our first stop was to the (Cecil John) Rhodes Memorial, who was an English-born South African politician.  He was the founder of the southern African territory of Rhodesia, which was named after him in 1895.  South Africa’s Rhodes University is also named after him.  His memorial stands on his favorite spot of Devil’s peak, with a view looking north and east towards the Cape to Cairo route.

His final will left a large area of land on the slopes of Table Mountain to the South African nation.  Part of this estate became the main teaching campus (Upper Campus) of the University of Cape Town.  Also, his last will and testament provided the establishment of the famous Rhodes scholarship, the world’s first international study program.

The University of Cape Town (UCT) has a beautiful campus as you can see.  Dr. Bredesen told us that UCT is like our Harvard University.  And that we saw, because we noticed that majority of them were driving Mercedes-Benzs and BMWs!  Students must have it going on at the University of Cape Town, baby!  Arlene said it has been said that the students cars are better than the professors!

Our next stop was to the Thembani Primary School in Langa, which is a suburb in Cape Town and one of the many areas in South Africa that were designated for Black Africans before the apartheid era.  It is the oldest of such suburbs and the location of much resistance to apartheid.  The name of the township is derived from the name of Langalibalele, a chief and renowned rainmaker who in 1873 was imprisoned on Robben Island for rebelling against the Natal government.

We had a special invitation from Gladys the Teacher to come to the school for a class in isiXhosa, which is one of the official languages in South Africa.  It is a tonal language where consonants and vowels can have different meanings when said with a rising or falling or high or low intonation.  One of the most distinctive features of the language is the prominence of click consonants like the word Xhosa that begins with a click.

Our instructor for our language class was the students!  After meeting the principal, Gladys the Teacher took us into a classroom where we stood in front of the class and the children gave us a lesson.  We would ask how to say something and they would volunteer to answer.  We would repeat after them and when it sound as if we got it right, they clapped!  It was fun for us and I’m sure it was fun for them, being the teacher.  Dr. Bredesen asked them if they knew a song and they immediately start to sing it!

We were concerned if we could take pictures of the children and Gladys the Teacher said it was okay as long as we wasn’t using them for promotional reasons.  And MAN, did those children like taking pictures!  Jaime made the mistake and showed one of the kids the picture she had taken on her camera.  When the other kids saw that she was showing it, they all swarmed all over Jaime to see!  They LOVED taking pictures!  I couldn’t snap them fast enough.  The more we snapped, the more children came!

When we were waiting for Gladys the Teacher in the office, one of the students came right in, shook hands with Dr. Bredesen and introduced himself; like a little politician!  They when we were leaving and the van was backing out, one of the students took it upon himself to direct the van out; like a little policeman!  They were so cute and it just touched my heart!

Our next stop in Langa was the Guga S’Thebe Arts & Culture Center, which is a focal point for cultural improvement and empowerment.  Community classes, including beadwork and the making of traditional garments and pottery are held there.  I LOVED this Center!  Here we were shown how the pottery was made, given a performance (enactment of two gentlemen experiencing their first day exercising their right to vote) and my most favorite; a drum lesson!  I LOVED the drum lesson; it was so fun and we were jamming!  Zamile was our tour guide for the Center, one of the performers in the performance and has become my first Facebook friend from South Africa!

Our last stop in Langa was a walk down the street to Eziko Restaurant, which helps to provide the unemployed with vocational skills in cooking.  We went to have malva pudding and tea.  Malva pudding is a sweet pudding of Cape Dutch origin, usually served with custard and/or ice cream.  It is made with apricot jam and has a spongy caramelized texture.  It was our first time having it, so it was cool to us; but Dr. Bredesen told us that she has had better.

It was another AMAZING day!!

Memorial of Cecil John Rhodes

The group at the Cecil John Rhodes Memorial
Notice my walking stick

The view from the Rhodes Memorial

Thembani Primary School’s Principal

The students, who were are teachers in a Xhosa lesson

The students singing to us

The student’s teacher with our instructor, Dr. Murphy

Their computer lab

Their computer teacher

Gladys the Teacher

Arlene, Dr. Bredesen, Gladys the Teacher and Dr. Murphy

The pottery teacher

Getting a drum lesson

Check us out; we were jamming!!

The performance

Malva pudding with custard

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August 4 – Fourth Day in Cape Town

Today’s adventure was a hike up Lion’s Head, which is a mountain in Cape Town between Table Mountain and Signal Hill.  It peaks at 2,195 feet above sea level!  Of course I didn’t go and neither did Amber.  My other two roommates (Jaime and Ronisha) went.  When they got back and Ronisha showed me her pictures, I was like, “I don’t think I would have done that even if my back was in better condition!”  They literally climbed the mountain, using their hands and feet, all the way to the top!  Ronisha was exhausted and went to bed for the rest of the day!

Dr. Bredesen showed us (without Ronisha) how to get to the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront, which is in the heart of Cape Town working harbor with indoor shopping and entertainment venues merged with oceans vistas and mountain views.  It’s basically a mall and has a great number of American stores.  If you are a shopper, you would love the Waterfront!  We walked around to familiarize ourselves with the place, because apparently we would be coming here a lot!

Moyo African Restaurant had employees giving complimentary face paintings and some members of our group, along with Dr. Bredesen got them.  The group got drinks (smoothies) from Kauai restaurant that is a healthy convenience food choice, is recognized as having developed a culture of healthy eating and has a philosophy of “eat better, live better.” Their food is made from the freshest natural ingredients available.   Amber and I were a little adventurous and ordered the ostrich wrap.

On our adventure the previous day, Alexei had informed us (when we saw the ostrich) of the many uses of ostriches; feathers used for feather dusters, skin used for leather products and meat was marketed commercially.  We were shocked that people really ate ostrich!  Now, here we were the very next day, ordering an ostrich wrap; just to see how it taste.  It looked like beef and tasted like beef and I usually don’t eat beef.  Now, would I order it again?  Probably not, but I had to try it because I’m on an adventurous mission right now!  I only ate half of mine and shared the rest with the group; so they could taste it as well.

Oh, I forgot to mention that this is the day I bought a walking stick!  It really helped me while doing all of this walking, too.  I’m out here like a REAL GRANDMOTHER, Baby; but I’m out here!!

Ronisha and Jaime ready for the hike of the Lion’s Head

At Victoria and Alfred Waterfront

Dr. Bredesen

Amber

Emily

Cali

Rachel

Anna

Ostrich wrap

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August 3 – Third Day in Cape Town

OMG, it has been a challenge trying to keep up with this blog!  There is just so much to write about and not enough time to experience it, write about it, update my Facebbok page with pictures for my family, do my assigned school work and maintain this blog with accurate information!  WHEW!  But I’m going to keep trying…  I will prevail!

Our third day was an activity-filled day; there is just so much to write about this day!  The pictures we were able to capture were just truly amazing!

We were picked up in a van by Alexei of DayTrippers Tours, which is an adventure touring company in Western Cape and boy did we have an adventure!  Our first stop was a special request from Dr. Murphy, to Maidens Cove to take the traditional Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) Study Abroad picture.  Our group is the third group that Dr. Murphy has brought to South Africa for Study Abroad and each time, the group has taken a picture in the same spot at Maidens Cove.  It is situated between Clifton’s Beaches and Glen Beach and is known for its views of Table Mountain and the Twelve Apostles Mountain Range.  Next, we made a stop to view Noordhoek Beach from Chapmans Peak drive.  The beach is isolated due to its huge in size, has soft white sand and views of the bay are spectacular!

Our next stop was to Hout Bay, which is a costal suburb of Cape Town with a mix of neighborhoods from the very rich to the very poor.  It lies in the valley on the Atlantic seaboard of the Cape Pennisula.  While at Hout Bay we took a 40-minute scenic excursion to Duiker Island (also known as Seal Island); which is home to a squad of blubbery, bewhiskered cap fur seals.

Next, we stopped to view the statue of “Just Nuisance,” who was the only dog ever to be officially enlisted in the Royal Navy.  He was a Great Dane, who between 1939 and  1944 served at HMS Afrikander, a royal Navy shore establishment in Simon’s Town, South Africa.  He died in 1944 at the age of seven years and was buried with full military honors.

Just around the corner from Simon’s Town, we ventured to Boulders Beach, a sheltered cove of soft white sand, massive granite boulders and water that’s a little warmer than the icy temperatures of Cape Town’s Atlantic Ocean beaches.  Boulders Beach is the home to a colony of thousands of African penguins and it was fun watching them go about their daily business.  It seemed as if they were posing for the pictures.

Our next stop was a 5km bike ride to the Cape of Good Hope National Park.  When Alexei stopped the van and said, “This is where we are going to ride the bikes.”  I looked around and saw nothing, but land and roads; I thought he was kidding!  I wondered, “How are we going to ride bikes on a two-way road; no bike trail?!”  But he wasn’t kidding and we did; except Amber, she didn’t know how to ride a bike!  The bike ride was mainly downhill with a short incline, where I got off and walked my bike up.  We stopped mid-way at the Buffelsfontein Visitor Center, which showcases all the plants and animals to look out for in a particular season, for an open air lunch of curried pasta, salad, rolls, chips and fruit.

We were supposed to continue our bike ride to the Cape of Good Hope, but everyone except Dr. Bredesen, Rachel and Anna opted not to.  They were the SOLDIERS!  I’m glad I didn’t, because on the second half, they came in close proximity of a great number of baboons!  I was in the van and still scared, because we had been told horror stories about their behavior.  They were so bold one of them just sat in the middle of the road like, “Now, what are you guys going to do?!”  All the cars on the road, which was a two-way road, waited until they could maneuver around each other to pass the baboon!

As we traveled on to Cape of Good Hope, Alexei spotted a whale in the ocean!  He was excited, because he said it was very rare to see them.  It took me a long time to see the whale, because it would go down and wait a while to come back up.  It was so far, it was hard to see.  That GOD for the lens on my camera, I was able to zoom in and take a picture of the whale!

We got out the van at Cape Point and where told we were going to climb to the top of the mountain.  When I saw all of those steps and how high we had to climb, I was like, “Oh NO, not Big Mama!”  Remember, this was the first day of me being out from my body breaking down the day before.  I wasn’t fully recovered, but I was trying to hang.  You expect me to climb all the way up to the top after a bike ride?!  No, no, can’t do!  I think everyone was saying the same thing until Dr. Bredesen advised them if they were planning on going to Lion’s Head the next day, this walk up would be good practice; because Lion’s Head was ten times worse.  Everyone went except me and Dr. Murphy.  The group didn’t walk all the way up; they just went to the first level.  Dr. Murphy and I stayed down and walked the lower cliffs to take pictures.

When the group returned, we loaded the van to our next stop, which was the decommissioned (for being built in the wrong place) Cape Point Lighthouse.  Dr. Murphy asked the group if we wanted to walk up to the Lighthouse or take the Flying Dutchman, which is a cable-drawn railway funicular that takes you up and down again.  We all opt to take the cable car!  When we got to the top, we realized that we still had to climb stairs to get to the Lighthouse!  I felt like, “OMG, I shouldn’t have come up at all, because I refuse to walk up all of those stairs!”  After a bit of persuasion and encouragement from Dr. Bredesen, I walked up, taking rest stops at every level!

Now, you see how long it took you to read this blog for this day?!  Imagine how we felt experiencing it?!  I must say, it was challenging, but really, really, worth it; as you can see from my pictures.

It was TRULY an AMAZING day!

My roommates wanted to go shopping for groceries upon our return, but I just couldn’t do it.  They went without me.  When they came back, Amber cooked tacos for us for dinner!

Adventure Filled Day

Alexei Harris, our Day Trippers Tour Guide

Our traditional Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) Study Abroad picture

Our Study Abroad Instructors – Dr. Murphy & Dr. Bredesen
We could not have selected two better people for this experience; very knowledgeable and thorough!!

Statue of Just Nuisance

Boulders Beach – Home of the Africa Penguins

Baboon sitting in the middle of the road

The Group getting ready for a 5K bike ride to the Cape of Good Hope

The Group on Chapmans Peak Drive

The ostrich we passed during our bike ride

During our open air lunch at Buffelsfontein Visitor Center

Dr. Bredesen teaching about the plants

Alexei giving Amber a “Learn how to ride a bike” lesson

The whale we saw!

We saw another ostrich; they are a big thing in South Africa

The Bike SOLDIERS

On their way up to the Lighthouse

I made it to the top of the Lighthouse! Thanks for your support, Dr. Bredesen!

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Roommate Roles

I have the best roommates ever!  For some strange reason, we automatically took on different roles.  Ronisha is our gate keeper.  You have to use the key to open and close the doors.  Ronisha keeps the key and opens and locks the door for us.  Amber is the Alternate Gate Keeper.  When Ronisha is not available, Amber opens, closes and locks the doors.  Jaime is our Time Keeper and Wake-Up person.  She’s always had the correct time (we’re still trying to get use to this time change and our laptops have the wrong time).  Amber is the Cook, with Ronisha being her assistant.  I am the photographer for everybody and spend my time downloading these pictures and trying to maintain this blog.

For our first home cooked meal, Amber and Ronisha made spaghetti.  As soon as we began to eat, Amber said, “We should have had some garlic bread.”  So to substitute for garlic bread, she added some Lay’s Salt and Vinegar potato chips in her spaghetti!

I forgot to mention in my last post, that on our second day Dr. Murphy brought the necessary equipment for each apartment to have the internet; we were ecstatic!  We were fiending for the internet, which is why I’m able to work on this blog!  We are in there; so, keep tuning in!

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Jaime Skyping after we got the Internet

Amber and Ronisha making our first home-cooked meal (spaghetti) in our apartment

Amber eating her spaghetti and potato chips

Our Living/Classroom

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