Day 3 (The Tiniest of Snuggles)
‘Ello (that’s south african for “hello”)
Sorry I’ve been so M.I.A. After we got done with day 3 of activities I literally went to take nap for an hour before writing my blog, and when I woke up it was 2AM….awk. And we had to leave the next morning at 7AM and the place I’m staying at now doesn’t have wi-fi. So…basically even though I’m on my dream safari trip in Africa my life is a black abyss. What is life without wi-fi? Pointless, that’s what I say.
P.S. Because the wi-fi is so bad I can only upload my photos in a very small size. If you want to click on any of them to see a bigger version you can! It will take you to a separate webpage where it’s hosting the photo, so you might want to open in a new tab!
Anyway, just for a little refresher since it’s been a few days. Today is the day we were supposed to go to the top of Table Rock, take selfies with the penguins, ride ostriches, and meet the children in the township. Well, only one of these thing happened.
We started the day by heading down to to the Cape of Good Hope, which is the southern most part of the world (nobody counts Antartica). We rode with LeLe, our guide, for about an hour and half stopping along the way at various points to take pictures of the scenery.
The drive to the Cape of Good Hope was the best scenery. There were big rock formations that had a billion different colors in them. The water was like 5 different shades of blue. The houses and towns were built right into the sides of the cliffs, and all multicolored. It was amazing to watch as we drove by.
Along the way we were talking to LeLe about the ostrich rides and apparently the farm we were scheduled to go to DOESN’T LET YOU RIDE THEM! The one that lets you ride them is about four hours north…
I suggested we go anyway and I said I would hop on one when no ones was looking, but LeLe did not find this as amusing as I did. So all of my hopes and dreams are crushed. But maybe this is a good thing, now I won’t get impaled by their talons, or my face bitten off by their beaks. Also I’m pretty sure the weight limit was going to be 150 and thanks to Chipotle, my bad habit of eating my feelings, and the invention of jeggings I maybe weigh just a bit more than that…
But, good news is we saw an ostrich farm on the way to the Cape and LeLe pulled over so I could try to pet one. It was definitely not interested in us and our offerings. It kept pretending like it didn’t see us standing there. I even pretended to trip and hurt myself to see if it would look up in a moment of concern…nothing. Well then…
Once arriving at the Cape of Good Hope we did the usual touristy things.
We took all the photos, touched all the things we weren’t supposed to touch. My mom kept trying to get a “nice” photo of me and Sarah, but we just weren’t feelin’ it that day. I think she got frustrated, but I personally think we look fabulous.
After exploring the tip (hehe) we headed up the coast a little further so we could see the Cape from the top of a lighthouse. Sooo, a cable car takes you about half way up the mountain to the lighthouse, but then you have to walk the stairs the rest of the way. I am not about this life. I make a conscious effort to avoid exercise on a daily basis…but I figured if my 60-year-old father could make it, he would be strong enough to carry me on his back too. Just like the good ol’ times!
Once at the top, the view was phenomenal! On one side of the lighthouse you could see the Cape. On the other side you could see where the two oceans met.
We were hoping to see a baboon on the trail up to the top since their were signs everywhere warning people about how dangerous they are. But unfortunately all we found of the baboons was their poop flung everywhere.
After trekking back down we decided to head to see the penguins. Now if you remember from the last post, I promised to take a selfie with one. We got all the way there and the penguins were behind freaking fences!!! I don’t know why…it’s not like people would chase after them, corner them, and pick them up for a selfie and a potential snapchat faceswap. But I still got really good photos of them and even saw a baby one being groomed by its mom or dad. I’m saving all my really good photos for Facebook after I put a watermark on them, because apparently Buzzed likes to steal people’s photos without crediting them.
Anyway, we got to see them waddle and swim. It was adorable. Also outside the penguin attraction was a cute little market run by local people with lots of art and souvenirs. We bought copious amounts of things that we did not need, but will definitely love.
Our lunch took a little longer than expected so we had a choice…either cut our time short with the kids in the Township or cut out Table Rock. So, we cut out Table Rock. We figured we had been standing on top of a huge rock all morning and Mom and Dad already got photos from the top of Table Rock so we didn’t feel like we were missing out.
One cool thing that LeLe does is he always asks us to always get to-go boxes (called Take Away here) for our leftovers because he takes them to the township and hands them out to people.
So after lunch we headed to the Township. The drive was about an hour and half, so along the way LeLe gave us a history lesson on the Apartheid. It basically occurred in three major waves (for lack of better words). The first wave made it so blacks and whites could only live in certain places, kind of like reservations. This was to make sure that not too many black people congregated in the city. The government feared that the black people would start a revolt so they placed them in assigned areas. The second wave of the apartheid was the morality law. This basically stated that no interracial couples were allowed, no mingling between different races, and they weren’t even allowed to eat together. And bi-racial babies were considered criminal. LeLe told us that even now, 30 years after the end of Apartheid, he gets made fun of for having white friends. The third law was the Pass Law, which in the most basic explanation, sent all non-white people back to their “countries” which is what LeLe called specific areas where tribes resided. They would deport the local black people to “their” heritage village even if they had never stepped foot in there before, even if they were born and raised in the city. This was used to create tribalism, in the hopes that the black people would fight each other before fighting the white people.
The people being sent away still worked in their original city in South Africa so they would have to get a passport to travel back into the big cities of S.A. Every day they would have to wait in a 4-hour line to get it stamped before going to work; even after they moved back. They would have to get to the office four hours before work and just wait.
It was crazy, all the things he was telling us, and is even crazier to think that this JUST ended in 1986. The effects of Apartheid are still highly visible. Every restaurant we went to was only white people, the black people were still confined to their shanty towns because they can’t possibly work their way out. It’s literally just stunning to think that this was so recent and still holds such a great effect on people. Even when LeLe would join us for lunch the waitresses would ask him to sit in a separate section from us and wanted him to order off a special menu. We told the waitress to basically fuck off in the nicest way possible, but it was still so shocking.
We finally arrived at the Township and LeLe left us at the very highly protected visitor’s center to wait while he went and made arrangements in the shanty town. Because ya know, showing up with a group of white tourists is not greatly encouraged, unless it’s to strictly interact with the children. At the center there was a ton of art and one style in particular that we all fell in love with. This guy draws out a picture by hand on wood, then coats it in glue and uses different colored sand to “paint it in”. We ended up buying his work as well…whoops.
LeLe came back for us and then took us into the shanty town. Literally there is no way I can possibly describe it in such a way that someone who did not see it in person could understand. These people live in abandoned shipping containers, they take large pieces of scrap metal and tie it together to form “houses,” they wash their clothes in a communal 20 gallon bucket in the middle of the dirt road. They have one line of port a potties that hundreds of them have to use and only get cleaned once a week. It’s so heartbreaking to think that people live this way.
We really wanted to make so sure not to make a spectacle of the township people’s living situations and culture. So we always asked before we took photos, we handed out as much money as possible, and actually spent quality time getting to know these individuals instead of passing through and snapping quick photos.
As we walked through the area we saw children playing with tin cans as soccer balls. We saw them crouched over a pile of trash looking for items to tie into a bracelet or to make some type of instrument out of. None of the children were accompanied by adults. LeLe had us buy a bag of boiled chicken feet which we handed out to some of them, and they were so excited.
Every time someone would allow us to view their home or meet their family we would give them money to help them out. One woman was in the middle of cooking when we visited and when we pulled out the money (which she was not expecting) she was so overjoyed, she put back the tiny and I mean tiny can of fish she was going to boil up for her family and said she was going to go buy a fresh chicken to make. It literally made every one so happy.
LeLe also took us to the township “sports bar.” Which is a scrap metal shack with overturned gallon jugs for seats, no electricity or much ventilation, where the men gather to sit around and talk about sports. They also have this pail full of home brewed corn beer that they pass around and all take a sip out of. It is considered disrespectful to not hold it, drink, and pass it so we were encouraged to participate. I personally was not comfortable drinking out of it so LeLe said if I just held it and passed it that would be ok. Now my Dad and Sarah took hefty sips out of it so my mom and I are kind of just waiting for them to drop dead of Dysentery or Typhoid.
After the bar we were off to see the children. So in the township, as I mentioned before, teen pregnancy is rampant. Which means STD rates are up, as well as HIV and AIDS. So LeLe and his brother started a project, called Happy Feet, where they bought a couple of old shipping containers, placed them right outside the township border, and encouraged children to come there as a safe place. They teach classes there with the basics such as health 101, math, english, and writing. They teach Sex-Ed classes, music classes, and dance classes. He said that as soon as they opened up dozens of children started showing up, just looking for entertainment and affection.
He told us their favorite thing do is dance and sing. He said the children taught themselves how to drum and choreographed their own dances which they perform at shows to raise money. He told us that they wanted to put on a show for us and good lord was it amazing.
We showed up in the van and the children instantly came running. The kids spoke limited English, if any, so most of what they did was show us their belongings. Some of the girls had little bottles of nail polish, some of the girls showed us the cartoon characters on their undersized shirts, and some of the boys showed us their makeshift toys. The children kept touching me and Sarah’s hair because I’m sure it’s very rare that white people sit in the dirt with them and allow them to make contact.
They kind of shuffled us into this tiny room where they put on the most amazing display of drumming and dancing I have ever seen. It was so impressive and literally mind blowing that these children are self taught and better than any professional drummer I’ve ever heard. I will post a video of the dancing once I have better Wi-Fi connection!
After they finished several dances and we spent adequate amounts of time holding them, and playing them, and taking pictures of them (they were obsessed with seeing themselves in a photo), we headed back home.
It was unlike anything I have ever experienced or ever will experience. We asked LeLe if we could set up a funding page for him so that he could send kids to music school or buy them supplies but he said no. He said any money coming in he wants from people who actually come and experience the project. We didn’t understand why, because like 30 American dollars a month would fund them entirely, but we will definitely respect his wishes.
When we got back the family went out to dinner but I was so exhausted I passed out the moment I sat down on the bed just to “take off my shoes.”
Tomorrow we head to Camp Kapama Game Reserve, where we will be among the big five (Elephant, Leopard, Rhino, Water Buffalo, Lion).