Another week and a half has gone by. It was not particularly busy at work. Susan and I went to Cape Town last weekend. We had an incredible time. The nicest part of being there was that we didn’t have to worry about walking around at night just the two of us. As much as I love Durban sometimes it gets exhausting always being on the lookout for someone who wants to rob us or constantly being approached by beggers and peddlers. We partook in a lot of activities but mostly we just walked around.
We arrived on Saturday and took a known taxi driver pick us up. Taxi drivers have proved good allies to have in South Africa. We stayed in DeVaderkant (I have no idea if that is even close to how you spell it), which is known as the gay part of town. It was beautiful. It reminded me a lot of Charleston, South Carolina (where I lived for a little while) in that all the houses were different colors and were warm pastels. People also had beautiful gardens. We stayed with the WashU kids at their apartment, which was nice. It looked nicer than it actually was- there were roaches and drips, but we were so happy to have a free place to stay that we didn’t complain. The WashU kids were only going to be there for the night and then they were leaving the next day so we went out with them and all the other kids in the Mizzou program that were there from various schools. We went to see the Springboks, the national rugby team of South Africa play Italy and then ate sushi and then went to a Cuban bar. All and all it was a nice night full of talking to new people, both Americans and locals.
The next day Susan and I went to Robben Island, which is the political prison that Nelson Mandela, among others were held during the apartheid era. I wish that I could express the experience in pictures or words, but my camera battery died and there are no words that can truly express the experience. It is something that everyone should do if they can. You take a long boat ride out which is quite pleasant and then go on a bus tour around the island. We saw penguins and tons of rabbits. Then you walk through the actual prison with a former prisoner and they tell you of the true experience there. It is very powerful.
The next day Susan and I went to Table Mountain to hike it. I hadn’t had the opportunity to hike it when I was in Cape Town in college, so this was another chance for me to conquer the rock. It was a very pleasant spiritual experience. It was also an hour and a half of straight stairmaster- I always think that I am in decent shape until I do something like that. I took quite a few photos and had a great time. It felt so good to set out to do something and then to complete it and feel good about it. I feel like I’ve lost that feeling since law school. It’s all mountains to climb with no scenic view at the top, just frustration and more work. I loved it.
The rest of the time we just walked around and enjoyed the city. It is a great city- very European. There were tourists everywhere and tons of different languages spoken. I’m glad that we took the long weekend to go there and see it. I am also glad that we are in Durban. However exhausting it is to be in Durban and constantly be aware of my whiteness and my American identity, it is a more authentic experience and it has forced me so far outside of my comfort zone. As tiring and sometimes frustrating as it is, I am glad that I am doing it.