This blog post will discuss the first time I went to the continent of Africa and explored the country of South Africa. Overall, South Africa was not as culturally unique as Peru or Japan, but there were still several cultural aspects of the country that couldn't be found anywhere. This is a large country that is almost the size of the US and it is filled with diversity that isn't normally seen in countries outside the US period. For example, the largest racial groups are as follows: Afrikaners or the Dutch, board shorts and plaid seem to have an air about them that was not looked upon well at all by the other racial groups. Indian, there appear to be a huge diaspora here from the British influence in South Africa; many reside in Durban. Bantu or darker South Africans, once the lowest rung on society, these are many of the natives descendent from the Zulu tribe who speak Swazi, Xhosa (clicking language), Zulu or English. Colored, considered higher than Bantu but originally lower race; intriguingly most of these people are not biracial and are descendants from the first South Africans on the west coast. British, considerably different than Afrikaners in a variety of ways, but still had white privilege.
Anyways, touching down in Tambo Airport, named after a civil rights activist, I noticed the multi-colored floors that make-up the South African flag as withdrew some Rand (ZAR). The Rand is a currency we significantly have an advantage over and you can just have fun spending that without thinking, so be careful. I soon after hopped kululu airlines from Johannesburg to Cape Town which was about 1 1/2 flight. I met a local, Nomvano, who was very nice and would give me a tour later on. We also had hilarious and gorgeous Indian flight stewardesses, a crazy Afrikaner, and a whole soccer team; the people are in good spirits overall here.
In Cape Town, I had an absolute blast in a trendy and amazing seaside city. I got to explore Robben Island, a prison where Nelson Mandela and opponents of apartheid were sent. There was a prisoner from those times who gave us a tour, along with a tour guide who asked me about weed the moment he figured out I was from California lol! While I was there, I also got to see Nelson Mandela's prison cell, a solemn moment. Also, on the way over, a South African girl and her classmates found me attractive and wanted to take pictures with me - internationally good looking, I guess.
Another day in Cape Town, Nomvano gave me a little tour of how nice houses can be in South Africa. Yes, people, they don't all live in huts or shantytowns. After, she took me to Mizoli's, where there is some of the best braai (wood fire BBQ) and pap in the city. Right next to Mizoli's was an extremely poor shantytown filled with the descendants of people who had been removed from District 6 in Cape Town - there's a wonderful museum on this called the District 6 Museum.
On a third day, besides exploring the waterfront near my hostel, I also went up to Table Mountain on a super rainy day, which was a stupid idea. I stumbled and thankfully fencing kept me good and I kept going away from the cable car ,where I almost tried to climb down the wrong side of the mountain which would've been fatal....uhm yeah.
As time went on, I got used to my hostel friends Miguel, Michael and Gail and we explored the South African cuisine - kangaroo, impala, warthog, ostrich and springbok. We also rolled through Long Street to Abantu, 50 cent shots named Soweto toilet and Creamy pussy lol. It becomes a wild street but it's fun and fairly safe, as the police know the tourists frequent there.
The following day, the hostel crew and I rolled to the Cape Town beaches at Camps Bay. Let me just take a moment and say that the beaches in Cape Town rival or may even be better than California beaches. My hostel crew and I pretty much agreed with the very close beach to mountain ratio as we ate at the Codfather. The Codfather was an experience that you have to experience as it is reasonably priced amazing seafood, angelfish, king klip, mozabiquean tiger shrimp and more with white wine.
Some other thoughts on Cape Town:
*My hostel was a pretty good one with lots of Germans visiting and a great looking cooking staff. While others would probably enjoy the receptionist staff. Major props on the easy taxi service though because while Cape Town is a walkable city, taxis help at times.
*Oscar Pistorius had just shot his wife, so I had some questions about OJ Simpson because I was the American and the trials/incidents were similar.
*I missed out on Great White Shark cage diving due to the weather. You know my extreme self would have done it.
Part 2 of South Africa and Johannesburg will be talked about in the next blog post.