There's a place for every kind of traveler, from a Taoist spa in Thailand, or sitting under the star filled sky in the African bush, to the sophisticated Cape Town. Amazingly different, completely unique and not at all what I expected. I came to South Africa with few pre-conceived perceptions, only an idea of what I thought CT might be like, but in fact, it has beaten every thought or idea I had. It absolutely has blown me away and I have fallen in love!
Maybe it's the similarity in climate and feel to my adult roots in California, or maybe that Seouth Afreca has a character that is too interesting and compelling to ignore. After all, this is the land of Nelson Mandela, who brought down apartheid, and then had the audacity to say “no retribution look to the future.” It's easy to see why CT, or the Mother City, is so loved. And love it I did! From the moment I stepped out of the plane and lost my passport, nothing was gonna stop me from relishing this fabulous place. From the sea to the backdrop of Table Mountain and Devil's Peak, to the funky style of Long Street, to the classy valley wine estates, and the spirited markets and water front, not to mention the very hip coffee shops, the craggy coast line, along with the warmest and most welcoming people I have ever met. Never in my travels has a city grabbed me like this one did—-it is simply nature's masterpiece!
We went up the newly adorned 7th world wonder of nature of Table Top Mountain, admiring it from the top and all around the city, then to the World Heritage Kirstenbosh Gardens, a wine tour where I fell in love with not a wine, but a dog, Simonstown to admire the Jackass Penguins, and my favorite---the Old Biscuit Mill---an indoor/outdoor market of food producers, farmers, arts and crafts, people eating nibbles and sitting on bales of hay, big lounge cushions, anything so long as they're outdoors and having fun.
With few inhibitions and a desire for exploration on a full stomach, I walked about this city like I owned it. Granted, the wonderful wines of South Africa cures everything, and the power of good food always makes life better, especially when you are in the Peace Corps and in a country where the food literally sucks.
We also were in Namibia, a sure contrast to Cape Town, but equally great seeing the desert where the land stretches out in all directions, shimmering to an uncertain horizon. Everything seems to just makes sense to me when I am in the middle of nowhere. My cares and worries disappear, my body and mind get exercise, and there's nothing to disturb the ebb and flow of life. I felt like Iwas 18 again zooming around on our quad bikes through the dunes, singing XMAS carols through the streets with my fellow PCV's, seeing the sea again, and nourishing our souls with good food.
Life is so good, if we only take the time to see it and understand it!