Published: February 14th 2012February 14th 2012
So here I am in Cape Town with an oversized head, sitting at home with nothing to do while the surf is the best it has been in a few weeks. To say the least I am feeling quite bummed (I will get to the oversized head later).
I finally arrived in Cape Town on Monday (I was supposed to be here Saturday evening). There was a pair of nice guys waiting with my name on a piece of paper. They were part of a taxi service to get me to Muizenburg (where I will be staying in Cape Town). Unfortunately we had to be waiting at the airport for a long time as there was another volunteer coming. I spent two hours waiting there, struggling to keep my eyes open until she finally flew in. A half hour drive and my travel was finished.
I live in an apartment with four other guys, two are English, one Chinese and one is Canadian. There are all pretty good guys and I am glad to have met them. The place we stay in is pretty small. It contains two rooms, a small bathroom and a sad excuse for a kitchen. It has no stove but rather a toaster, fridge and microwave.
To eat we walk about ten minutes to the girls’ housing to eat. There is where a lady from one of the townships cooks for everyone. Once I had arrived I was taken there to meet the rest of the volunteers.
Tuesday was an interesting day. We got to head down to the surf shop that runs the surfing part of the program. The place is called “Surf Shack” and is full of very friendly people. One of the best was our surf instructer and overseer, Grant. Grant is a nineteen-year-old South African who has been surfing since he was a little kid. We spend most of our day with him, being taught to surf, cleaning wetsuits and working with the kids.
A normal day consists of the following: we arrive in the morning and process all the wetsuits used from the day before (wet ones to hangers outside, dry ones to the inside where they can be put back onto the racks). We then make peanut butter sandwiches for the surf kids to eat after they are done in the water. After that, if the surf is good, we head out for a lesson with Grant. Once we are done our lesson the kids arrive and we work with them for a few hours. Unfortunately they are all competent surfers and so instead of teaching them we just surf with them. The end of the day is when we again process wetsuits and clean up the shop.
Wednesday was a tad bit different. After we finished with the wetsuits we hopped on the train to go to a mall further into town. That was all well and good except for the fact that we snuck into the first class part of the train with tickets for the economy class. I can blame Grant for this blunder as he told us to buy economy and took us to first class. During the whole train ride he had the group of us on our toes as he kept looking forward and back and outside, making sure no ticket checkers came.
The mall was just a regular mall, nothing special. I did, however, try on the most amazing wet suit. It fit me perfectly and I was super tempted to buy it, but Grant said he knew a guy sponsored buy Billabong and said he could get it to me for really cheap. In that case I didn’t buy it and now I am waiting to see if that will work out.
Our train ride back started off really well buy then went sour. Ticket checkers caught us and so we had to pay a 40 Rand fine ($5.30) which was reasonable but it sucked as we could have simply avoided it by paying a small bit extra for the tickets.
The food here is fantastic, and Grant showed me a place downtown Cape Town that has the most amazing Indian food. We ordered what is called a Bunny Chow for 35 rand, which was enough for us to share. What it is; is a loaf of bread that has been hollowed out and then filled with chicken curry. You then pick away at it with your hands. I have never had such amazing Indian food, especially for so cheap.
Thursday was my horrible day. I looked in the mirror at the surf shop and noticed my head. It was not normal size. At all. It was very swollen and it made me super nervous. We called Tim (the program director) and he took me to the hospital to get it checked out.
The doctor didn’t really know what had happened to me, but speculated that it was from the sunscreen that I had been putting on my head. The doctor prescribed a shot of anti-histamine as well as pills to take to try and bring the swelling down.
I would normally agree with this diagnosis, but the swelling isn’t fluid. It is quite tough and if I push my finger into it (which requires quite a bit of force) it leaves a large dent in my head for about 10 minutes. I really hope that this changes as the surf is amazing today and I would really like to paddle out and have some fun.
That is all for now.