The Africa Diaries Entry #2: May 20, 2010

First day in Cape Town, South Africa!! I’m so happy to be here. It’s really cool. Today I went on a day tour of a township called Langa. It is a really poor area in the Cape Flats. It was an eye opening experience. A lot of people live in squalor and garbage and there are animals everywhere. The government does provide fresh water, so that is good. I saw a pre-school there and got to meet some children. They were so happy and they loved having visitors. Even though I’m generally not fond of children, the kids were so happy that they made me smile and they made me happy too. They liked to pose and to get their picture taken and then look at it on the camera screen afterward. I gave a tiny girl my sunglasses.

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After visiting the township I went to an apartheid museum and it was quite sobering and interesting. Then I went to visit Robben Island, which was also very interesting. People were isolated on the island for having diseases like leprosy and prisoners were also kept there. Nelson Mandela was a prisoner on Robben Island for 18 years. I got to see Mandela’s prison cell. The tour of the island was led by ex-prisoners and it was a really interesting tour.

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Mandella's prison cell

Mandela’s prison cell

Inside Mandella's Prison Cell

Inside Mandela’s Prison Cell

 

I met a girl named Alex who did the same overland tour as I am about to do, only starting in Nairobi and ending in Cape Town, she loved it, and told me it was amazing. I’m excited.

I’ve been trying to determine if water truly does circle the drain clockwise instead of counter-clockwise in the southern hemisphere. I can’t tell so far. The toilet water doesn’t really circle the drain so much as go straight down in my hotel room. Yesterday I took a bath and tried to watch the water go down, I still couldn’t tell. Again, it just seemed to go straight down. The water that comes out of the tap here is yellowish. It felt a little strange laying in a tub of yellow water, but the temperature was nice and I just ignored it. Before I let the water out I peed just to see if I could even tell there was urine in the water. I couldn’t tell. It was fun.

Tomorrow I will go on a hike and bike tour and I signed up for cage diving with sharks the day after that – yikes!!

The weather is really good and I like it here.

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The Africa Diaries Entry #1: May 19, 2010

During 2010 I toured through Africa.  I kept a detailed journal.  I plan to share it, this was my first entry.

May 19, 2010

I’m in a hotel room in Cape Town, South Africa.  It’s taken over a day and approximately 23 hours of actual flight time to get here.  The flight from Phoenix to Minneapolis was fine.  From Minneapolis to Amsterdam was torture- crying baby, old guy telling war stories, young guy next to me invading my personal space and no leg room.  Flight from Amsterdam to Cape Town was surprisingly enjoyable.  I sat next to a young man named Will who is staying in Cape Town for 6 weeks to help arrange micro-loans for women.  Also next to a young woman named Desiree who is volunteering with horses, children and rhino tracking in Namibia.

As the plane landed my heart began to beat faster.  I have long wanted to travel to Africa, and now I’m finally here.  I was so happy as I got off the plane and my feet touched African soil for the first time.

I was picked up by a guy from the gap adventures tour company and brought to the Saasveld Lodge on Kloof Street in Cape Town.  It’s night so I haven’t seen much yet.  The city seems cool.  People drive on the left.  The city is extremely excited about the world cup this summer.  I won’t be here for it.  I’m taking a tour of Robben Island tomorrow.  I’m so excited.  I need to sleep now.

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(at the hotel after incredibly long travel time)