Here goes an attempt to remember the past week or so. Last Friday night we made our way back to Long Street after doing to some research to find good bars/clubs. I really don't think Long Street has anything lame to offer, but it's sometimes a challenge to accommodate everyone's preferences. When we got out of the taxi outside of a bar named Joburg, we ran into our friend who manages the restaurant at the Waterfront. The dude calls himself James Bond, he's so tacky and difficult to explain…I'll point him out in a facebook picture. Anyway he was thrilled to see us, got us into the club for free, and began buying us rounds of drinks. His real name is Reme and he's 30. we drank and danced and amongst a most sketchy crowd. Reme (and everyone who's ever been to Joburg) warned us of the crazy theft that always goes on there so we all had to be super careful with our s***. I woke up earlier than everyone the next morning and was ready to hike, as was the plan. By the time everyone got up it was early afternoon and clouds had rolled in. I was really looking forward to going but everyone either thought it was going to rain or was to hungover to function…I was pissed. Of course I can't hike by myself around here so we spent the day doing random errands around town. We went to Reme's restaurant for dinner because him and Alex became infatuated with eachother the previous night, and since she wasn't there the first time we met him, she wanted to check it out. We had a great meal/drinks and proceeded to a bar nearby called Mitchell's. It was a great pub and I wish it was closer to our house because the atmosphere and the music hit the spot. Our waitress (though we didn't actually need her at all, for some reason we sat at a table rather than the bar) was new at the job so she took forever to get the drinks and had to ask me three times what I ordered. I find a lot of people here don't understand "soco" unless they're the bartender. We returned to our neck of the woods and spent the rest of the night in some bars in Observatory. Sunday has slipped my mind which means it couldn't have been too exciting. I believe it was a rainy day.
Speaking of the weather, it's quite strange. It's usually sunny at least for part of the day (though we've already had a lot of beautiful warm sunny sun-bathing days). The coldest it's been I think is about 60 during the day. It gets chilly quickly by early evening, but I find myself not using my heater nearly as much anymore. We have 2 days of rain this week, though the rain comes and goes, but it hits quite hard when it falls. Especially when the wind picks up, it'll rain for about 5 minutes but it'll be brutal. I was walking to class one of those days, convinced the rain wouldn't come back because the sun had come out. of course it began pouring and I was drenched by the time I to class. I had to sit through a couple of classes soaking wet, and walk back in the cold. I am quite sick at the moment, but also because a few people in the house had been sick on and off for the past week so I was expecting my turn. We did laundry for the first time, the place is right at the end of our street and only costs $5 for a load to be washed, dried, and folded. We do having a washing machine at our house but no dryer. I used the washing machine today because it was warm and sunny enough for clothes to dry outside. When Jamal tried using the washing machine earlier this week, it flooded our kitchen (the washing machine is located in the kitchen, kind of in place of dishwasher). We were warned this may happen from time the time. Euphone comes 3 days a week and cleans everything in the house, except our rooms. She always does our dishes even though she doesn't have to and cleans the most absurd places, I think out of boredom. For example she's currently emptying the refrigerator of all our food so she can clean and wash the shelves. On Fridays when I have some extra time I make her tea and some breakfast because she rocks. The more I go to the grocery store the more I discover "home-y" foods and products and it's super exciting. Katrina is good at finding yummies for her vegan diet. I'm much less skeptical about buying fresh fruits and vegetables (though still only at 2 grocery stores and not a lot) and I actually drink water from the sink now. Currently laying outside and enjoying the sunshine. The sun here is pretty strong even during winter and it's easy to get a quick sunburn. Katrina just came back from the gym and announced that she saw a naked white man (though muddy) waltzing down Main Road…welcome to cape town. The handle on the cheap school bag that I bought weeks ago broke and I've been lazy to fix it so I travel to school with the bare necessities. I've made friends with the neighbors, one of whom is in my econ class. They're studying at UCT for their entire degree and I believe they're all from South Africa. Got some good tips as to where to go and what to do. After 3 weeks of being here I finally couldn't handle the dirty rug in my room that had hairballs on it from day 1 so I went a little crazy and cleaned/washed/swept everything in sight. I also rearranged the furniture and helped myself to a set of drawers from one of the bedrooms in the back house. This past weekend was Alex's 20th birthday, which was made super fancy by her week-long lover, our restaurant manager friend. We went to a club named Karma at Camp's Bay. Couldn't really see the surroundings as it was nighttime, but we all got into the club for free and Alex's dad sponsored an ungodly priced champagne bottle. To be honest the club was much too plastic for me. It was entertaining to look around and observe ugly rich people dance like zombies to music that consisted of the same two beats. We peaced out of there within a couple of hours and returned to the house with some friends. For some reason I was particularly drunk (I fell INTO the cab when we left the house only to get there) but we all ended up staying awake until 5 in the morning. Waking up before 8 am was brutal but necessary, we had to go to a training session for SHAWCO, the volunteer thing 6 of us in the house are doing. Training was "mandatory" but a complete waste of life, we were just listening to lectures for hours. Saturday night we celebrated Alex's birthday with a good old house party. After we got home from dinner however, we discovered we'd run out of electricity (it's prepaid) and guests were already arriving. We used candles for an hour or so before we got more electricity, but decided to keep the lights off anyway. The house was full of people and it was fun to teach locals how to play American drinking games. Considering my sickly state of being, I took lots of meds and went to bed extremely early despite all the chaos. The house wasn't as trashed as I expected the next morning but I still cleaned out of boredom and sobriety while everyone was sleeping in. We went out to breakfast at Mimi's in Obs and checked out a cool music store of all records. We spotted some sweet hippie stores as well but were too sick to function so the rest of the day was spent lamely. I got some awesome African herbal inhalant oils that have been doing wonders. The world wide web hasn't been reaching our house at all for the past two days and I'm actually starting to be loaded with schoolwork that requires the use of internet…oops. Susie, Katrina and I collaborated this evening to pick off avocados off the tree in our front yard. We keep renting movies at a video store down the street (a membership requires presenting a passport) and not getting to watch them because they're due the following day at noon. Our landlord spent some time in our house fixing heaters (I have a brand new one that is sizzling hot) and replacing the second water heater in our house (now we have even more hot water than I ever imagined). Walked back home in the dark (well like 7 pm) the other day and noticed one of the homeless women on our street nakedly washing her clothes in a bucket. Also while napping I was awoken by another old homeless lady repeatedly ringing our unpleasant-sounding doorbell to ask for food/money. Sucks. There has been a white van reportedly driving up and down Main Road, pretending to be a taxi but actually just fetching university students and robbing them. Last week for Kevin's gov't class we had a guest speaker at our house, Judith Todd, who moved from Zimbabwe at a young age and has done a lot of work related to Apartheid and human rights. Her talk was amazing and overly depressing. In addition, we went to a public discussion about Xenophobia. There were a couple of guys that were actual refugees and what they had to say was quite heavy. That entire class hit me hard and I had a minor mental breakdown. I told Kevin his class drives me to drink and he told me to do my thing, so Wednesday night was spent at Stones. I have a feeling every week after his class that'll be my ritual, and it's quite convenient that it's 2 for 1 night there on Wednesdays. Yesterday for class Kevin took us to Parliament to watch a debate about police forces/security in South Africa. The ANC, African National Congress wants to abolish the Scorpions, the equivalent of the FBI. After the debate we got to speak to an ANC member who was entertaining but most definitely biased. We also got a mini tour and stepped into the room that is the S.African national assembly…way cool. On Tuesday afternoon I had my first volunteer session with SHAWCO. The project that I'm volunteering for does not involve a township…it's a children's home/orphanage that serves as a school. I'm gonna be going there once a week and having my own 2-3 girls to teach English/math and help them with homework. They are so cool and ridiculous (also I got stuck with the older age girls, around 13, so some of them have attitude…but I'll get them straight. Anyway they're all mostly children that have been neglected so they have big issues with people always coming/going in/out of the lives. This was clear when the first thing one of the girls asked me was if I'm only there temporarily and I said yes and she got really sad and gave me a dirty look. They're really cool girls and love to talk. I spent my entire first day discussing Hollywood and American celebrities and silly things that they knew way too much about. They all speak Afrikaans as their first language, and their English is pretty up to par.
I have yet to be able to take a legitimate nap in my bed, I'll announce I'm going to sleep and wake up fully energized 10 minutes later.
….I'm not quite sure what today is in relation to when I began typing this blog. We haven't had internet in the house for about a week so I'll write randomly, hence the disconnected/ piled up information that probably makes this blog entry hard to follow. I believe I'm beginning week 3 since the start of post. Anyway this past weekend I insisted on those interested in hiking Lion's Head to wake up early on Saturday morning and do the damn thing. The hike is super short, and I'd consider the mountain more of a hill. Perhaps a bump. It takes about 2 hours roundtrip but had some great climbing of rocks (option, at-your-own-risk route). Brittanie has like, never, been hiking before so I was super excited for her. It takes about 20 minutes via car to get there from our house. The main trail basically wraps around edge of the mountain until it reaches the top. A couple of minutes into the hike we noticed stairs that lead into a more intriguing route so we pursued that. Most exciting was the part that consisted of climbing using chains that are bolted into rocks. See facebook pictures for details. The weather was beautiful but you could see the rain falling on Table Mountain across from us. The summit was slightly chilly but provided a breathtaking view of our town and the ocean. We overlooked the beaches of Camps Bay, saw Robben Island out in the ocean, and were surrounded by the mountain range on one side. Had lunch and were back home early. Sunday went to listen to jazz at Café Sophia, which is located at the plaza with our grocery stores. They play jazz there for hours every Sunday…it was nice. Attempted an internet café on Saturday but only managed to access a few websites in a couple of hours…oh Africa. Oh Friday we frolicked on Long Street in the afternoon and window shopped some awesome African stores and other things that are too expensive (of course they're really not bad in dollars, but we've all adjusted to the Rand). Had Ethiopian food for dinner, quite the experience! (pics).
For some reason I'm (we're) still having trouble with checking for oncoming traffic on the appropriate side of the road. Last week while wandering around at night almost got ran over by my accounting professor on Main Road…he mentioned it to me the next day.
Had my second SHAWCO experience today. We actually got our "curriculum" books for the children, consisting of English and Math. The girl I tutor, Nomsa, is quite the avid learner and we almost finished our math booklet, which is supposed to last for a few visits. I kept asking her if she wanted to take breaks and chat but she refused. The time goes by really fast and it's quite fun.
Birds have been invading our porch and pecking at the avocados fallen from the tree. They also pooped on my newly washed and waiting to be dried laundry.
We've had numerous homeless people ringing our doorbell lately asking for anything.
Expect another post in the very near future, assuming technology cooperates.