Published: June 27th 2008June 27th 2008
Friday, June 27, 2008, 9:10 AM
I’m multitasking right now, researching at the hospital (I just made the most marvelous discovery of the wireless I am entitled to as a UCT student so I can use my laptop ☺), making a few phone calls about my safari, and filling you all in on the past week before I leave today at 1 PM for a weekend trip on the Garden Route, ultimate destination: highest bungy jump in the world. The rental car (newly christened “Lola”) arrived two days ago, so this will be her inaugural voyage. So much to say, so little time…I’ll start with Sunday (June 22) where I left off:
I woke up eary, per usual, and made it to the gym with my wonderful roommate at a reasonable, wow-there-isn’t-a-queue-for-the-treadmills time. We ate lunch, then headed off with a group to the aquarium! I got some pictures with hundreds of Nemos, a Dory, some leopard eels, and lots of other critters. We watched the shark feeding, and basked in the pleasure of feeling 5 years old again. Although it was a rather cloudy, dreary day, we explored the water front, and tried walking to Green Point for
dinner. Keeping with the trend of many of our Cape Town adventures, we got lost, ended up calling a cab, and hiked it back up to Long Street for dinner at a quaint little pizza joint. We met, by chance, some guys from Navy who LIVE and DIE for Bucknell house party, haha, and who I’ll probably see next April, causing problems in the SAE house. But they were nice, and had amazing stories about their motorcycle trek throughout South Africa. We remained loyal to Long Street after dinner, had some nice drinks and jazz at Dubliners (the central Irish bar/pub), then finished the evening dancing (more accurately sweating) up a storm at Zula’s. Fun day.
Monday was South Africa’s Youth Day, a national holiday in memory of a child killed in some political riot (I’m not exactly sure on all the details), and thus we, along with the schoolchildren, got the day off! Unfortunately, it was the windiest day I have ever experienced, and hearing the wind rattle our windows on the 15th floor didn’t make outdoor adventure too appealing. So I stayed in, chatted with “peeps” (a common word for friends/people in SA), read my book (I
swear I’m almost done), and tried to console one of my friends, Charleigh, re her internship drama…
Apparently, she wrote in a blog as well and posted an entry mildly badmouthing a politician helping her company with a fundraiser (I heard the stories, and her statements were true…but I guess TOO true to put online). This politician had “Google Alert” and Charleigh’s blog popped up. He threatened to sue the company, and although Charleigh’s writing was only online for 10 hours (and it really wasn’t as incriminating as they made it out to be), she was fired, and also a nervous wreck until Lea and Steven (the Connect-123 directors) reassured her that the situation wasn’t as dire as she thought. She’ll be interviewing for a couple of other positions, and everything is fine now, but it was a wake-up call for many other bloggers in the program. The internet can be a dangerous thing. Anyway, I did get out Monday night, back to Dubliners to watch Tiger Woods pull through for us, and then hung out with Oli, Blake, and some others. We got through at least half of the Eddie Murphy’s 1980 stand-up. Fantastic stuff.
On Tuesday, I made my presentation at the pain management meeting and was named the “new head of department,” haha. I started collecting patient folders for my research and received a call from the Virgin Active Gym in Green Point. They kindly informed me that a man was trying to join using my same ID number, which rightly freaked me out a bit. How would someone have the same passport number as mine? But upon arriving at the gym that afternoon after Sarah Fox, I found that this man was a resident of Cape Town, and his ID number was actually a driver’s license number. So by some crazy twist of fate, a US passport and SA license number overlapped exactly (what, a 9! chance?!) and we both decided to join Virgin Active in the same week. So from now on, my friends have decided to call me Mr. Thomas Anthony Murray (whenever I swipe my ID card, I get his lovely 60 year old face staring back at me). The manager is working on getting that fixed, but in the meantime its funny to hear the gym personnel say “Miss, you must use your OWN card,” and then have to explain the whole thing again. Hahahaha. Figures.
That night was abnormally warm and windless, so we went to Diva’s pizza for a fabulous patio dinner (with apple pie and tiramisu because we NEVER eat dessert here), and came back to find a postcard from Penton in my mailbox. It was the greatest thing ever, and made me laugh: “I’m thinking a lot of you down in Africa, with no one but your Aunt, cousins, roommates, new friends and locals to keep you company, and nothing but your job, internship, volunteering, workouts, meals, going out, and various wine fests to occupy your time. Sometimes I wonder how you handle the monotony.” I read it to all my friends, and still it makes me smile. Thanks for that, Penton ☺
Wednesday, after a very interesting, early morning medical student lecture (on the routine trap that doctors fall into with diagnosis and deceptive diseases) and a morning of rather depressing analysis of rape victim/ NAI patient folders, Dee Dee and I discovered the blessing that is the hospital cafeteria. I know, I know, that sounds like the last food in the world that would be appetizing, but the women that work there are always smiling, and the grilled cheese and tomato sandwich I purchased for R 8.50 (or $0.98) was probably the best one I’ve ever had. After lunch we headed off to Sarah Fox (in the rain, as predicted by Jos, our best friend/owner of Diva’s), gymed it up straight after, and then had a dinner party with some friends in one of the “penthouse” apartments on the 11th floor (some of the flats are GORGEOUS…and thus we try to spend as much time in them as possible haha). Kevin, our resident chef, made gourmet salads with steak and blue cheese. The latter of which I think I have grown to love.
Thursday was more of the same, except for the fact that we organized a Round the World party that night. Each apartment picked a different country and made a drink and decorated accordingly. I think some noise complaints ensued from 11th floor neighbors, but it was worth it ☺. Chierika (a friend from London) and Paul (a fun Perspectives security guard) both had birthdays that night, so TWO birthday cakes from Charly’s were floating around (which really were “Mucking Afazing” haha).
Friday was our traditional half day at work, and it was raining AGAIN. Thus, a perfect excuse to go museuming. We visited the District Six Museum, Castle of Good Hope, and the local Pick ‘N’ Pay. Haha, the first two were very interesting (especially District Six, which documented Cape Town’s apartheid system and evacuation from “white areas”), and the Pick ‘N’ Pay kindly provided us with the necessary groceries that we had run out of. I managed to still have time for the gym, met a friend of Paul’s on the walk home, and then headed to Mama Africa’s, an authentic African restaurant, complete with game meat and live music. I had made reservations for 15 the night before, and by chance ended up with exactly 15! More people showed up later (word spreads fast I guess), but they came back after dinner for the music, so all was not lost ☺. I splurged a little (R 96), which is really only about $11 haha, and had a delicious springbok and kudu curry stew, or poikie.
The best part of the night was the marimba band, Abakhaya, who played throughout the meal and then until midnight. We listened while we waited for our meals (maybe that’s why the service seemed so speedy), and later got up and danced with the lead singer and amazing dancer, Zwelly. I got to talk to him during breaks, and a couple friends and I bought their two CDs (that we’ll be listening to on the drive today!). We bar hopped, ran into Zwelly again outside one of them, and then ended up at Zula’s again. Surprise, surprise. ☺
Saturday morning. Gym with Mal, per usual, and I got in on a pilates class (!). We brunched at Crush, a fresh health food restaurant/café below the gym, and I had whole grain “health bread” with anchovies. I’m well known amongst my friends here for my exotic tastes haha. When we got back to the apartment, one of my friends, Walker, had two extra tickets to the Sprinkbok/Italy rugby game, so Oli, Blake, Kevin, Walker, Dee Dee, and I took a taxi down to the stadium. And my cousin Cat met us there! I love that girl to pieces.
Keeping with the trend, it POURED throughout the game, but the fact that I had gotten a “free” face paint of the SA flag (really R 20 after the fact…the boys paid for it haha) made up for it. Our “cheap” standing room tickets were also conveniently located under an overhang so we stayed dry, and the Springboks skillfully slaughtered the Italian team 26-nil. Fun, fun, fun. I came back with Cat and the gang, introduced her to my apartment and Mal, and she in turn introduced me to the Cape Town train station so I could get to Simon’s Town. She actually had to baby sit in Sea Point that night, so the first time I took the train was on a Saturday night, by myself, to Fish Hoek. It really wasn’t as bad as people make it out to be, and I got to meet a few interesting people and listen to evangelists preaching their hearts out. Uncle Rob picked me up at the station, and I arrived “home” to one of Phoebe’s delicious, African-style meals. We had a nice quiet evening—I read my book and Phoebe’s most recently updated South African climate change booklet. Julia and her friend came back from a birthday party, and I turned in on the early side, with my hot corn kernel bed warmer ☺
The next morning found me happily caught up from the lack of sleep of the past week. We went out to breakfast in Kalk Bay—at the Brass Bell, a cute restaurant right on the water. Cat took the train in and met us there, excited about how much money she made, and we enjoyed our eggs and “bottomless toast.” We walked around the harbor a bit, making sure to talk to the fisherman, the driver of a water taxi to Simon’s Town, and Cat’s friends at the Ice Café where she used to work. Phoebe and Rob pointed out a few birds (bird atlasing for Phoebe’s new project), and Cat and I went for a run with Kep on the beach after we got home. The water was so warm, due to the Indian Ocean influence on that side of the peninsula, and on the walk back, we saw a bunch of baboons in the neighborhood, climbing into someone’s house. OIA. Only in Africa.
Later that afternoon, Cat, Rob, and I climbed Silvermine, one of the mountains in the Table Mountain chain, which had the most beautiful view from the top. Cat climbed the whole thing barefoot (quote, “to toughen me up”), and we resorted to carrying her down the mountain. We’ll never let her live that one down ☺. Cat and I went straight to her friend Jaime’s house for dinner, where we made our own ravioli! Then to Polana, the chill restaurant/bar with live music that I went to three weeks ago (I can’t believe it’s been that long already…). I met some more amazing people, danced (it’s becoming an inevitability for me), and when Cat and I came home, we had the dinner that the family saved for us. Springbok and stew at midnight, complete with chocolate and a nice long chat. Got to bed by 2:00.
Monday morning came a little too soon—we woke up and left the house by 7:20 so that everyone could get to school (Julia and her friend), work (Rob to UCT and Phoebe to UCT as well, teaching a course on climate change), and internship (Anne). The hospital is pretty close to UCT so that worked out nicely. Cat also came with us to see Phoebe’s lecture. I wish I could have attended as well, but I did get to the hospital early, so I had time to finish all the folders. The rest of the week was pretty much the same work-wise, but let me give you the highlights:
-I met some of the head-honchos at the hospital interested in my research after I presented it at the meeting on Tuesday ☺
-I have been taking full advantage of my gym membership and have not missed a day in the past week and a half. I have also tried a step class (much harder than it looks--old ladies were doing the step routines so much better than I was haha), pilates, yoga, and the sauna. Spinning is next on the list.
-The weather was BEAUTIFUL for a change Monday through Thursday (4 days in a row, gasp!), so a bunch of us took Tuesday afternoon off and went the Camp’s Bay beach. The 12 Apostles mountain range behind you, the open ocean in front, pictures don’t serve the scenery justice.
-We got the new car! It arrived a day early on Tuesday, and has thus far served us well by bringing us to a fantastic, half-price-from-5-till-7 sushi place. I had four plates of sushi for R 39 ($4.86). Can I just stay in South Africa?
-Driving on the other side of the road really isn’t difficult at all…the only thing I’m not sure about is if you can go left on red, just like you can go right on red in the states…I should probably check on that.
-You also can’t get lost in Cape Town. We call it “detouring” and you can always get home by orienting yourself to Table Mountain. We’ve detoured twice already in the matter of two days, haha.
-Connect-123 drinks night on Thursday was at the Extreme Hotel, a super-modern, funky bar with six eclectically themed bathrooms (outhouse, temptation, center stage, high rise, etc…
-I also got to meet some of the new interns, including Karen who’s coming on our roadtrip today! She’s older (25) and a teacher who wants to go back to school to become a physician’s assistant, so we’ll have lots to talk about ☺
Ok, I have to go. We’re leaving in ten minutes for the Garden Route, which I’ll be sure to write about when I get back. Love and miss you all~~
Random Fact of the Days: Everyone says “Cheers” (as a hello/goodbye) and “How’s it?” I haven’t quite joined them yet…