I made it through my first week here in South Africa and was getting a little worried that I hadn't accomplished any of my goals. So, early Friday morning I set my sights on the goal list and decided to crank a few out. First on the agenda, Table Mountain. I got on the train and headed to City Center then decided that rather than paying for a taxi or a kombi to take me to the foot of the mountain, I'd walk. Bad Idea. After walking though some beautiful community gardens, I started up the hillside, into the wealthy areas of Cape Town. When there was no more road, I decided to do what any Fortier would do and bushwacked through the shrubs to get to the trail. I wasn't exactly sure where it was but I had a roommates drawing to guide me. As I headed up, I passed the road to the tram to the top of Table Mountain. (I've made a vow to never take the tram and hike instead) It was there that I ran into a few locals who asked me why I walked through there. I turned around to see signs saying "Beware, Snakes". No different from Southern Utah besides the fact that there are signs explicitly warning you about the snakes not just making you aware of them. Melissa says that I should, after this incident, live by the WWMD motto (What Would Melissa Do). I think it's sound advice. Anyway, the hike turned out to be awesome. It was such great weather (For me, great weather is misty and overcast) and apart from not being able to see the view, it made my day. I thought about maybe taking the tram down but then I saw that it had a R 65 one-way price tag, I decided against it. For those who know me well, you know I would avoid paying for anything if there is an cheaper/free alternative. So, I turned right around and started heading down. When I got down, I headed to the waterfront (tourist part of Cape Town) to see if I could score myself a new duvet since I've been freezing my ass of since I got here. After getting sick of that scene fairly quickly, I started walking, empty handed, back to the community gardens and came across a local youth group that races canoes. (see video) Was pretty cool to watch. Then I saw that Cape Town was hosting a community Hip-Hop festival so I went to check it out. There was a band named Toucan-Toucan playing and they were amazing. (see video) After a little warming up, I started to groove with this 3-year-old South African. She was awesome but she was too shy when I tried pulling out my camera for a photo. After the concert, I found Lang Street. This is a pretty popular area of Cape Town and is quite the nightlife location in the Cape, or so I hear. It was a short walk down the street then I decided that after walking/hiking around all day that I'd head home. This is where my second goal was achieved. I rode in a kombi. A kombi is a small mini-bus used as a means of public transportation in the city. You just wait on the side of the road and they come hauling by, yelling at you to see if you want a ride. When they stop they literally toss you into the bus, slam the door and you're off. The worse part is that they cram nearly 15 people into something the size of a mini-van and expect you to get around everyone when you need to get out. You also have to endure the worst R&B music while the driver speeds and dodges pedestrians. It's also a strange experience for me since it's not normal for white people to ride in them. You get some strange looks, but so far all of my experiences with kombis have been good. They are the "cheaper alternative" I'm always looking for. When I got back to Obs< I was so hungry so I bought a "Burgie Dog" from the street vendors alongside the road on the way back to my house. They call them Burgie dogs because they are sold by virtually homeless people called Burgies. They aren't that great but at 10 Rand (about $1.30) The price is right. On Sunday, I went to Robben Island. I met up with some other interns living in Obs and we took a boat to see where prisoners were held until it was decommissioned in 1995. This is also the place where they held criminals as well as ANC (African National Congress) political prisoners including Nelson Mandela. It was pretty crazy to hear about all the forms of torture they were subjected to and the tedious physical labor they had to accomplish every day. The tour guide told us a story about how the prisoners learned to live with the smell of their feces so they could have privacy. The guards would not want to subject themselves to such smells so they didn't go near. It was during these times that the prisoners would debate all the knowledge they were learning while reading books as well as studied for exams. Apparently they created a nickname for the area where they would do this. It was known as Robben Island University because there were numerous inmates who actually received undergraduate and masters degrees while serving sentences. Many of them went on, after the ending of apartheid, to become active members in the ANC. Overall a great experience and I think I'll try to go again before I leave, to gain some additional insight from a different tour guide. When I got back home, I played a couple games of pool with some locals, made a few new friends and had some eggs and sausage for dinner. Breakfast food for dinner is quite possibly the best idea ever. So, a pretty entertaining weekend for me I'd say. I was able to knock quite a few things off the list. However, I have yet to study for my upcoming scuba certification that happens on Wednesday. Overall, a good first week in South Africa. Looking forward to maybe some wine tasting, bungee jumping and surfing in the near future. I'll make sure to keep you posted. Cheers!