Farewell Cape Town

My last night in Cape Town was super fun. I went out to dinner and a bar with Gideon, Neal, and two of their friends. We also met some other people who we shared a table with. It was a great way to end this leg of an awesome adventure. It’s hard to believe that eight nights passed by so fast but time is moving. Even with seven full days to sight see, there is still so much to see. I would like to also check out Johannesburg for a few nights one of these trips. One of the reasons I like Cape Town so much is because it is super relaxed and a lot slower than I hear Jo-burg is.

Here is a picture of me with Gideon, who is an awesome host. If you are looking for an Airbnb in Cape Town, I would recommend him for sure. The location (Bo-Kaap) is perfect, and he is a great host and all around great person.

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I have a 9:30 flight tomorrow morning to go to Botswana. Two hours later, and I will be there for four nights. I was originally planning on staying five, but I could not get the flight that came back on Monday. It will work out fine, because now I will get home Monday and have a few days to get myself back together before returning to work on Wednesday. I am going to shock my system by making myself stay up somewhat late. I am meeting Tali for happy hour on Monday, which will force me to stay up. Then Tuesday morning, I will resume my workout, though I will do 8:00 instead of the normal 7:00.

Luckily, I am unplugged from a lot of the American news so I am missing some of the election craziness. I will only have to endure a week of the circus. I think I have made my political position in the race clear. Eventually, we may get to where four major parties are contenders to win, but I don’t think that we are there. I think the GOP could/split into a middle ground conservative movement and a crazy right wing movement. Then the Democrats can split into a middle ground liberal movement and a fringe left wing movement. I do notice my personal bias when I describe the fringe parties. I am hopeful that the middle ground parties will prevail and work for the common ground, not just act by party line. I think that could be where the common sense will lie and a movement to do what is best for the country. It’s all theory though.

Anyway, I should wrap us so I can hit the sack.

Next time you hear from me, I will be in Botswana.

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More Cape Town

Yesterday was a very lazy day. It felt nice to do nothing.

I started getting my stuff ready to pack. I started and finished a book on my Kindle. I also worked more on my short story, which I must say I quite like. It’s cute. I also briefly started a piece on being a 40+, single, woman. I could probably write tons of articles on that. I have a lot of thoughts on it.

My only venture out was to have dinner. I went to a brewery with Gideon and Neil and then to a bar. It has been cool to be able to hang out with them both. I’ve enjoyed the conversations, and they are both super cool people. Intelligent and open. Gideon has been an amazing host.

Today I went to Robben Island. I knew some of the history from when I went to Slave Lodge and to the exhibit in the Nelson Mandela Gateway. I didn’t realize that the island had been used as a prison/castaway point for 500 years. They sent lepers over there back in the day. And if you had a mental illness you could be sent over there. And in the old times if you were epileptic, they thought you had demons so they were sent over there as well.

One of the guides was a former prisoner. I did not catch his name, but he was sent there in 1984 for basically treason. He is one of the people who lives there today with their families. He said he lives there with men who used to be guards. He spoke with passion when he talked about how now he and his family can live anywhere they want with neighbors of all races. He also explained how the meals you were given worked. Basically based on race.

I saw the lime mine where Mandela worked as well as his cell. The leaders of political groups (the thinkers for lack of better word) were kept apart from the general population because the government feared their words. The guide also talked about how they would get and send notes outside of the prison. I am glad I went.

It is hard to fathom someone being there a year let alone twenty. I am impressed by the men who were not broken there.

It was a perfect day to be on the Atlantic Ocean. I saw a whale! It was so cool. I used to dream about whales a lot. This is only my second time seeing one in “real life.” It was magical. I also saw what may or may not have been a dolphin but that was anticlimactic for me. Flipper has nothing on Willy, in my book.

I also decided to go off the grid a little. I got rid of my twitter account. Twitter was fun, but it did take up time. I also changed my Instagram name to not be my name. I feel a little vulnerable so I am going vaguer and taking out some of the detail. Like in my blog about me section, I had where I went to college and that kind of stuff. No more, which is smarter in the long run.

Oh and the ride over to the island also afforded me a better view of their container terminal. There was a COSCO vessel at anchor and MSC and CMA CGM vessels at port. There was also a bulk Star Shipping vessel at anchor. I have seen a lot MSC containers on trucks. I will need to look up who their number one ocean carrier is here. Loved seeing it! International trade rocks.

After Robben Island, I wandered around the city center some looking around.

Oh. But as people boarded the vessel to go to Robben Island, they took your picture based on your party. When my time came, I was alone of course. So the photographer was like, “Oh my sister from another mother. You have no man, but don’t worry. You have no stress.” Which made me bust out laughing. I am reminded of this scene from Sex and the City where Charlotte and Anthony are talking. And Anthony was like if you do a, b, and c (or maybe if you don’t do) you will have “no mens.” And Charlotte was like would that be the worst thing. Anthony got this look of complete discuss and was like, “uh yes!” It was a great scene especially with the use of the word “mens.”

So tomorrow I am off to Botswana. I have enjoyed Cape Town so much, and I will certainly be back. Let’s get a group together and come. It’s just a very beautiful section of the world, and it is vibrant.

This trip has curtailed my need to be “polite” though. *_*

Maybe I am being too literally in the interpretation, but if everything happens for a reason, what is the reason. If a person sees me as a tourist as someone to steal and take from, how do I see them? Because if I perceive you as a threat, that dictates a lot on my behavior and attitude. I want to wax eloquent on this because I have given it some thought, but I feel like my words would be full of an emotion I don’t want to put out. Part of which is judgement. So bear with me. I am sure no one wants to get trapped in the vortex of my mind.

I do consider myself to have compassion. But perhaps I need to remind myself of the scriptures about love and peace I wrote a few days ago. I hate when that happens.

I can easily forgive my family and friends. But I am finding it harder to forgive a stranger, and I am not sure there was meant to be a difference.

But at the end of the day, there are more things that are good to focus on. Like, I am in South Africa!

And excuse anything that needs to be edited. I am basically posting as  I go. So no rounds of edits.

 

Cape Point/Cape of Good Hope

I will edit later.

So I was very excited for today, because I was going to Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope. I joined a local tour. One American. One Argentinian. Two Russians. Two Taiwanese.

We drove past Seaport, which reminded me of West Seattle, and passed by Clifton. We stopped at Camps Bay for pictures.

Along the way we made a stop at Houtbay where my phone was stolen.

I am angry at the person who stole my phone, but I am also angry with myself because it was something mentioned in the guidebook. Long story short: A person asks you for the time. My reflex was to grab my phone to check, which equaled phone gone. In all my travels, I have never been pick pocketed, mugged, or robbed, so this is a new feeling on the dark side of traveling. The good news is that the phone is replaceable. I was not harmed (thought my emotions are a little frazzled). I was able to contact Deidre to have the phone suspended. As a precaution, I changed all the passwords on the apps I had on the phone. Though I wish a pox and calamity on his house, I think most of my anger is inward. The bottom line is that I can rehash it, and come up with a million things I could have done to be a “smarter” traveler, but it is done. But yeah, I am still pissed and upset.

But besides that, I saw some beautiful country. The Cape of Good Hope is the second furthest point in Africa, but most southern point on the west side. I kept getting conflicting reports on to whether it is where the Indian and Atlantic Oceans meet. We were told today that that point is actually another cape that is on the east side of the country. At Cape Point, I decided to climb to the light house instead of taking the tram. I felt so out of shape, and I had to stop several times. But the view was worth it. I loved the waves crashing against the rocks and the different colors of blue in the water.

Along the drive, we also saw ostriches. They are a lot bigger than I thought they are. We also went to a penguin colony. They were so cute and very domesticated. They were obviously used to being photographed. I also saw what is called a dassie. It reminded me of a large rodent but is apparently in the elephant family.

The day ended with a visit to Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. It was massive and very well kept.

Outside of the “inconvenience” of having my phone stolen, all my pictures were on that phone. It’s a new phone for me (though an old model), and I had not gotten around to syncing or backing it up. But I will take Deidre’s advice and not let it spoil the trip.

And the evening ended well. I was able to spend time with Gideon and Neil, whose home the BBQ I went to the other day was, to take my mind off of what happened. And now I will go to bed and see how things look in the morning.

More Cape Town

When I woke up this morning, it was raining. Hard. My first thought was that if it’s like this all day, I am not going anywhere. But by the time I got ready to leave, it had settled down. It spit a little here and there, but it was another nice day. Kind of on the hot side for me, but tolerable. It will be hotter in Botswana.

So I started today on the waterfront. I bought my ticket to go to Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope. Going to the Cape of Good Hope was one of the top things I wanted to do while I was here.

I then intended to go to some of the local beaches, but I ended up going to Neighborgoods Market at Old Biscuit Mill. It wasn’t on my radar, but it was something that Gideon highly recommended. I am so very glad I went. The Saturday market was buzzing. There were foods that smelled so delicious and there were conversations going on everywhere. I sat and took it in while sipping on a smoothie. Then I walked around to take pictures. Then I ate. Then I walked around again. I also sat outside for a minute to listen to some music and journal. As far as local markets go, this one was among the best. They had everything from BBQ, burgers, sushi, Korean, crepes, hot dogs, etc. Also sweets and drinks. It was cool and worth the journey.

I then found a taxi to take back to the waterfront. To back track, I asked this (local) guy at the tourist info place how much a taxi should cost to the market. He said no more than 70/75 Rand. He also called me a metered taxi. So the taxi ended up being 62 Rand plus a tip. I say this because when I asked the next driver how much it would cost for me to return, he said 150 Rand. I was like no. It’s not that much. He said okay 100 Rand. This is the point where he almost got cussed out. A few choice words were on the tip of my tongue, and they are now on the tip of my fingers as I type this. I keep my rage at bay. I rarely get angry. I try to live my life by two scriptures:

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” NLT

“Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.” NIV

The first is because we are all humans. The people I love will hurt me, and I will hurt them. Not intentionally, but we may say or do something that causes scars. The second scripture is because I consider myself to be laidback. I try to let most things just roll off of my back. So it takes a lot to make me angry. When it happens, it comes quickly. So when this dude told me 150 and then 100, I almost lost it. I paused to get myself under control and told him how much I paid to get there and he was trying to charge me too much and started to walk away. He started laughing and was like okay, okay. And agreed to the amount. But I was so indignant. How dare he? Again, I hate being hustled. Why try to cheat me? Then you laugh when you get caught. I get that I am a tourist, and there is the assumption of wealth. Am I poor? No, but even if I was a millionaire, I think it is morally bankrupt for him to try to charge me over double the price that it should have been. And he did not get a tip.

I returned to the waterfront to get my ticket to Robben Island.

Then I walked back into the center. I have passed by the Green Market everyday it feels like, but I had never actually looked at the stalls, so I did. And the vendors were like, “sister, sister, we will give you a good price.” They got the side eye too because I was thinking yeah like the dude in the cab. Again. I get it. But I hate bartering, so I just looked. I mean give me a decent price. If you start high, I will automatically low ball you back because I feel insulted. It kind of reminded me of Jamaica.

Then because I needed to center myself, I walked in the Community Garden. I actually walked through it Wednesday, but I rushed through it. I didn’t look, take pictures, or pause to journal. I did all three of those today.

On the way home, I stopped by to see Jasmin. Actually, I did yesterday too. Jasmin and her husband, Muhammed, picked me up from the airport. So I have stopped by there every day but once since I got here. I like her a lot. She gives me advice on how to conduct/handle myself here. She’s very sweet.

There is something to be said about having a vacation with only a few destinations. The last few have been go, go, go. It’s actually nice being here for so long. I can take my time and just do a little here and there. And actually get home and have time to relax, blog, and read. I continue to go to bed late, but I also sleep in.

 

Cape Town – Day Three

So last night, I meant to go to bed earlier. But “what had happened was” I had a sudden inspiration for a short story. So I ended up staying up until 2:30 typing away. I really should have gone to bed, but when it’s there. It’s there. I was talking to myself earlier, and I really need to make finding time to write creatively a priority. I write for the Scroll. I write for my job. I blog. But I haven’t really sat down and wrote creatively in a long time. So my plan is to get the short story finalized, run it my a few peeps, and publish it on my blog. I don’t want to give the plot away because I want you guys to read it. But the story idea came from one of Jane Austin’s novels, Northanger Abbey. Ironically, it’s my least favorite of her books but it has my favorite line from a Jane Austin novel. If adventures will not befall a young lady in her own village, she must seek them abroad.”

I went down the Waterfront today. I noticed it was by one of their terminals, so I overshot the terminal and went down toward the port. I had seen a MSC container vessel from the top of Table Mountain yesterday, so I was going to try to get a clear picture of it. So as I was walking, I was thinking, ‘I don’t know if I should be down here.’ Then I could hear my homie Dreeny Paine saying, “I’m Dreeny Paine. I do what I want.” So it sounded like good advice. Nobody stopped me, so I kept going and going until I got to a clear restricted access point. On a side night, I did remember afterward some unsound Dreeny Paine counsel that led me astray. It was on the subject of whether I should text he who will not be named after midnight. But that is another story.

Anyway somewhere along the way, this older “Rasta dude” started walking with me as he made his way to one of the terminal. He asked me if I was Rasta, and I was like no. After telling me I should invite him to the U.S. (the accent gives me away every time) he asked me if I smoked marijuana (and I don’t remember how we even go there), and I was like no. After which he assured me I should because it was from the earth. Anyway, it was like five or ten minutes but it reminded me of the Nigerian dude I met in Dublin. But I must say that I notice distinctly when I travel abroad peoples’ assumptions about me because my hair is locked. And that assumption involves my being a weed smoker. It’s just interesting.

So I get some pictures of the industrial area. If we haven’t met, I love the working waterfront. I have been working in international trade for over 20 years. It’s in my DNA. We live in a global society. All of our economies are tied. We cannot and should not go back to isolationism and protectionism. We cannot got back.

Then I went to the waterfront, which was basically Fishermen’s Wharf in San Francisco, and I could have missed it. Since I was there, I found a nice corner to journal. I had a lot to say based on the pages I filled, but it was soothing, and I at least know how I feel and what I need to do. It’s just a matter of not over analyzing my conclusions. Life is what it is. When I finished, I was approached by a guy who worked down there and asked what I was writing about and if I was a journalist. Anyway, he told me I looked lonely, which made me laugh. So then he fished around to see if I was with anyone, and I just replied I was staying here locally with someone, which was his queue to exit stage left. It did remind me of clearing Customs here. The agent was a woman, and she asked me why I was traveling alone, which I do get asked sometimes. My now canned response is that if I waited for someone to travel with, I would never go anywhere. But what was is lonely and what is just being alone? Oh. And TSA remains obsessed with my hair. It was the same when I went to Houston last month.

When I was journaling, I thought about my blasted camera. I have a camera. It has three lenses. Each one does something different. I just brought the wrong lens to the party, which happens in life. Think of yourself as a camera. Sometimes you need to view life at a distance. It’s part of planning. Emergency, retirement, etc. But sometimes you have to look at life from a normal lens to see close up. Part of my dilemma for 2015 was I was so focused on the future and what it would hold, that I could not focus on what was before me then.

I tried to go to Robben Island, but tickets are not available until Monday. I am not really the plan in advance traveler when traveling on my own. I kind of hit as I get there. So I need to figure out if I am in fact going back to go back there. There was an exhibit in the Nelson Mandela Gateway.

There were a few videos and watching them gave me the feeling I got when I went to Auschwitz and Dachau. So the National Party decides that there needs to be a separation of races and that black people could not look after themselves. People who are against the regime get sent to Robben Island to do hard physically labor and are mistreated. And people went along with that, at least the majority until the tide shifted. What hit me about one of the videos is that it shows a reunion of people who lived there. Nelson Mandela was greeted by the children of some of the men who used to be guards there.

I don’t know. I am all for social justice, so I would hope I would not be silent, which is why a lot of Trump’s rhetoric bothers the hell out of me. We keep saying never again, but it keeps happening over and over again. And walking through District Six where mostly “colored” people lived until the authorities decided it was a white area, puzzled me. I mean what. So if the wake of all the craziness that is happening in the world, I am hopeful that as a “human race” we can figure this out without the world imploding and falling apart. I don’t always agree with get “woke” movement because some of it sounds judgmental. I am more like stay aware and speak out against injustice.

“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.” Desmond Tutu

“How did we come to this?”

Table Mountain

Hello from Cape Town.

As always, my disclaimer is that I will edit when I get home!

So this trip goes down as the: Remember that time you bought a new camera, and you kept postponing testing it out. Even though a little voice inside your head (known as the Holy Ghost in Pentecostal circles) kept saying test your camera. And you were going to, but it rained. Or you were going to but look squirrel or whatever distraction got in the way. Yeah that trip where you had to use your phone to take all your pictures because you brought the wrong lens. Yeah that one. Luckily the phone takes descent pictures. In the end, it’s my memories that are most important, but I have always imagined myself old and grey glancing through my photo albums reading the blog posts I printed and inserted in the album. Just remembering with a twinkle in my eye.

So I have to say I love (all caps and bold) Cape Town. What a great city!

So the last few nights I have been going to bed around 1:30. My goal tonight is to settle in a little before that. LOL. Even 12:00 would be decent.

I spent today at Table Mountain. Tali, if you are reading this, you are so spot on about that place. It is just so magical and peaceful being there. I spent hours there. But let me back up.

So this morning, I got up and got organized. I left and was playing with my camera, and I ended up going back home (wherever I lay my head is home – LOL) to return it. Then I went searching for a cab to take me up the mountain. I saw a few, but I kept going. I ended up walking a lot then I backtracked. Anyway, I kept thinking, dude you could have been there. So I finally catch a cab. On a side note, I am pretty sure I was overcharged. In the end, I made the choice to accept it, but I hate being hustled. In the end, maybe I was overcharged $3 USD, but as Big Worm told Smokie in the movie Friday, “It’s the principle of the matter…there’s principalities behind this.” But I digress.

Anyway, I then stand in line. And I was thinking. Dude next time buy online, which the guidebook did suggest to avoid the long line (queue). And avoiding lines is where being on a tour comes in handy. Most times, the company buys in advance.

But with all of that said. With all the, “I should of” or “I could of” I ended up exactly where I was supposed to be to meet Nicolene. Had I digressed a little bit from what happened and what actually happened, I would not have stood behind her in line.

To back up further, at home, I have stranger danger in the worst way. Like who are you and why are you talking to me stranger danger. For some reason, I am more open when I travel with a bit of caution. But when I travel, I have a firm believe that I have an assignment or destiny if you will to meet certain people. It goes back to my blog post about my one of my favorite parts of traveling: meeting new people. So when it comes to planning my vacation and the timing of where I go and when I tend to be relaxed because I just believe I am meant to be somewhere and I will end up there to meet whoever I am supposed to meet. Like I tried planning the trip to Botswana a few years back, but it didn’t happen because it wasn’t time. Okay so I totally digressed.

https://latonjab.wordpress.com/2016/01/25/life-as-a-traveler-meeting-new-people/

2015 was kind of an odd year, and so I needed this reminder that all the detours and seemingly missed opportunities are leading me somewhere.

So I spent some of the time on the mountain with Nicolene. Nicolene, if you are reading this, I so enjoyed our time together. I don’t know God’s plan for you in this life, but I trust and believe with you that all things will work for your good.

The Good. The Bad. The Ugly. Things we understand and don’t understand. Things we like and don’t like. Things we agree with and don’t agree with. And I am talking to myself here because in 2015 some things transpired that I have to walk by faith that all of it will work for my good.

I took way too many photos. I walked around. I stopped. I journaled some. I did not want to come down from the mountain. It would be just an awesome place to have a retreat and just be.

Cape Town is one of the most beautiful places ever.

Oh, and I took a cable car up. I am not really a fan of them but alas, it was a lot sturdier than the ones I took in Singapore and Santorini.

Oh. And if I haven’t said it, please keep me in your prayers. I value them!

P.S. I also loved the flora on the mountain, and I saw a lizard!

From Cape Town with Love

Hello from Cape Town!

As always, my disclaimer is that I will edit when I get home!

I left Monday afternoon for Cape Town.

As I was walking through Sea-Tac, I ran into my friend Darrius playing in one of the concords. I thought it was a great way to start the trip.

So my first leg was a little less than nine hours, Seattle to Amsterdam. I think I might have dozed for most of that. I also did some reading of a smut fiction novel not to be named. I didn’t watch any movies or television shows. The next leg was Amsterdam to Cape Town. That was a little over 11 hours. I dozed part of it. I also watched an episode of Seinfeld and few episodes of Big Ban Theory and Money Monster, Mother’s Day, and part of How to be Single. Oh! I had lost the ring I got from Ireland. I did a deep clean of my house before I left, and I was hoping to find it, but nada. On my flight, I was looking in a side pocket of my purse and there it was. I felt such a deep joy of having found it again. I have worn the ring every day since that trip except when I traveled because I didn’t want to lose it.

My flight got in around 9:15.

I had some euros that I exchanged for some South African dollars at one of those currency exchange places in Seattle. I hate those places because they are never a good deal for the exchanger, but I really wanted to have some cash when I arrived to pay for my ride to where I am staying. I am so glad I did the exchange, because when I went to use the ATM at the airport, I was not able to get cash. Panic. Long story short, when I called to give my travel notice, they cleared me for debit card use, not ATM withdrawal. I am with a new bank (the old bank automatically cleared for both), so I will know to clarify what I need next time. Everything is working fine now. I emailed my bank last night, and it worked fine today. But it was not a good feeling.

So I get to home for eight nights after 10:00 I met Gideon and settled in.

I unpacked and organized. I think I went to bed around 1:30 a.m. I slept for a little over three hours when I was awakened by a call to prayer at around 4:40. It was weird because I also discovered I had part of my earplug in my ear. It was kind of weird, and I wasn’t sure if I dreamed it or it actually happened. .

Anyway, I was asleep and awake from there, and I finally decided to get up at 10:30 as to not waste the day.

I love my location. Is is in the heart of the city. So I left and spent the day wandering around. I did go to St. George’s Cathedral, District Six, Slave Lodge, but spent the day getting acquainted with the city center and Bo-Kaap district. I will give more detail on the places later and my feelings about them.

Gideon invited me to a BBQ at a friend’s house, so I had a great time talking with five locals. We talked about politics, race, economics, etc. It was a great evening, and it was nice having open dialogue. And it was a reminder that our viewpoint and story is shaped by the shoes that we walk in. The key is hearing and acknowledging that our walks and experiences are valid.

In going to Slave Lodge and reading about the history of Apartheid, I feel like we are at an interesting point in history. When I see the rise of the far right and a move toward protectionism and isolationism in some counties, I shake my head. We have already been down this road. When I hear rhetoric against groups of people – be it “the blacks, “the Muslims,” or the “Mexicans.” I see red. We have already gone down this road. Be it slavery, Apartheid, the Trail of Tears, or the Holocaust. We have already been down too many dark paths to be frenzied up like a pack of rabid dogs against any people. Beware of those who try to divide and conquer. I mean seriously. How does a party get voted in whose mission is separation, but I will leave that conversation for another time.

Cape Town is a great city. A nice heartbeat and buzzing with life. Like in America, certain areas are being gentrified.

At home, living in the CD is problematic to me. Back in the day in Seattle, if you were black you had to buy in the CD. They wouldn’t sell to you anywhere else. So it’s painful to see people being pushed out because they can’t afford an area where they had to at one point in time leave.

It’s kind of how do you reconcile or make amends for years of social injustice in a way that is just to the descendants on both sides of the coin. And how do you tweak the system that got us here in the first place. How do you change a human heart?

Anyway, I need to go to bed, but I will write more later.