Our time in Cape Town has come to an end; so I will take a moment to reflect on it.
There was one thing I did miss more than my sister, son, daughter-in-law, grandbaby and family of friends and that was CENTRAL HEATING! Everybody that knows me know that I hate being cold and man have I been cold here. I LOVE Cape Town’s winter weather, but the lack of central heating is something I just cannot get used to. Their solution to the lack of heating is to put on more clothes and/or sleep with hot water bottles. I did sleep with more clothes on, but I refuse to buy a hot water bottle. My paranoia about that was the water bottle would leak in the middle of the night and I would not be able to sleep for sure. It seemed to be colder inside than it was outside. Lindsay from Beth Uriel explained to us that it was because most of the buildings were made of cement. If you noticed on every picture you see of me, I have on my jacket; inside and out. What you couldn’t see was the other layers of shirts I had on! Yet, it was never enough. The lesson I learned as I venture into finding employment in warm climate is to not only research the climate, but research the resources of handling the climate.
Another thing I did not like was riding in the Kombis, which we did not have to do that, much; but when we did, I hated it. Kombis are a form of public transportation; a combination of a taxi and a city bus. They ride around picking up people like taxi’s, but they load people in like a bus. I really did not like the way they packed people in them like sardines; they almost had people sitting on each other’s laps. When you would think, “Okay, it’s full in here, they would stop and pick up more people!” All the time, I’m thinking where are they going to seat them and believe me, they would find a spot! They even had a crate inside for some people to sit on, when they ran out of seats! And they hustled those Kombis like they hustled drugs. They rode around looking for people walking and would whistle and yell to see if you wanted to get a ride. I rather walk than ride in a Kombi.
Now what I could get used to was the laundry service. We did not have to wash our clothes. There was a laundry service right around the corner from us and all we had to do was take our dirty laundry bag there for cleaning and drying. They would weigh your laundry and you pay according to the weight. The most I paid was 75 Rands, which is $7.50 in American dollars. The best part of it was they would have it ready for you the same day! I will admit, they did not get them as clean as I thought they should have been, but the service was surely worth it!
As far as my packing, I can rate as pretty good right now. Though, we had cleaning ladies that left new bath towels each day, when they came to clean the room, they did not leave wash cloths. Thanks to my flatmate, Nisha, who brought plenty, I was able to use one of hers until I bought my own. So far it seems like I did not need to bring any short sleeve or summer/spring clothes at all. I should have brought all winter clothes, along with hats, gloves and scarfs. We all resulted in buying those things here; trying to stay warm. The best thing I brought was my Sigma Gamma Rho afghan, which I use as a blanket. I walked around with it around me while inside like Linus with his blanket.
What I will take from Cape Town as we move to our next destination is an enhancement of my appreciation for the things I do have. The first month in South Africa revealed to me that we, in America are TRULY BLESSED! We have unlimited resources that we are so used to having that we feel we are supposed to have. I became so frustrated with not being able to have things I wanted or how I wanted them, For example, all of the food portions here are smaller; the fish fillet at McDonalds is so thin, it’s like you are eating a bread sandwich. They sell pop mainly in the cans rather than the bottles and the cans are not 12 oz. cans. Subway only gives you four choices of breads to choose from, limited choices of meat and they don’t sell soup. Everything you see that is like home is different. They don’t have Diet Coke, they have Light Coke and it’s different. I found myself about to have a tantrum; like a spoiled little kid. When I calmed down, my level of appreciation grew for the resources we have in America! I understand why people here feel like America is like Heaven; because we’ve got it like that!
As our picture shows, here’s to Cape Town! Now, let’s see what Port Elizabeth has to offer us!!