Sorry about the lack of postings in the past few days. I guess that’s what happens when you don’t have internet access. Which has been kind of nice, actually; not being plugged in all the time. But at the same time, it’s frustrating. A month won’t take away that dependence unfortunately, but when I come back to the States, I hope to at least bring back with me that lack of dependence, or a reduced amount of it at the very least. This is a study abroad trip just as much as it is a retreat.
The Safari was a typical African experience, which I what I’ve paid for. I’ve seen lots of animals that people pay to see in a zoo, except I saw them in their natural habitats (except they’re game reserves. Close enough.) Monkeys, leopards, lions, elephants, all of the Big 5. But after a few days, as great as animals are, you start to become desensitized to their cuteness and such, so 3 days was just the right amount of time before we left.
Anyway, let’s catch up: lots has happened in the past few days. We went on a 2-3 day Safari trek, the last bit of our time in the wilderness before finally settling down in Cape Town for 3 weeks. City life. My favorite. It’s a big change from the scenery that we’ve grown used to. Mountains, breathtaking views, prairies, grass, trees and the like. The beauty and the splendor really make me want to see more of Africa, to see how it compares to the southern tip of the great continent. There is so much to see and describe than I can even begin to elaborate here in just a paragraph, so I hope to have some adjoining pictures here shortly.
The markets remind me of Haiti. The local townspeople all gathered in their primitive economies, buying and exchanging what little they have. Crowded, but here they’re selling more touristy handmade (I hope) items. After just 4 days I had collected all my souveniers and now I need to restrain myself. Though I did lose my knife to the security in the airport (forgot to put it back in my checked luggage) so now I have a reason to buy a new one.
I should probably journal a bit about the food. It’s not that different. Vegetables mostly. Some meats, rice, and the squash is really great. When we go out to order water, it comes as bottled water, and its not free, but it’s cheap (like R13, which is about a dollar in U.S. terms). I ate Kudu once, which is like elk or deer. Tender and delicious. This is a good place to come if you’re a vegetarian as there isn’t much meat. But if there is, I certainly haven’t had much of it except for the occasional burger. Oh, but the best part is, we found a restaurant named The Illinois Spur. I have no idea why or how, but I had to try it. It was tasty, and we joked and postulated about how it got its name.
Lodging has been very accommodating, even staying in the Ndebele village overnight. Beds are comfy, and the morning sunrises are always spectacular.
It’s chilly up until about noon, then it’s 70-80 degrees. And to think, this is their winter season. At night, though we won’t see it anymore due to city lights, the sky was the clearest I’d ever seen. It was clear, you could see all of the stars and even the edges of the Milky Way, which is what I’ve always wanted to see. (next on the bucket list is the Northern Lights.)
One morning, I woke up at my usual time of 5:30am, as my internal clock still hasn’t adjusted yet, and the roosters were the main culprits, and after a short walk I was inspired to write some poetry. That hasn’t happened in a long time. It’s an allegory about the call to fight injustice (apartheid) from the perspective of a tribal warrior.
A rooster calls.
Rouse the people.
No time for sleep!
Beating its breast, all around.
Now we must rise.
The time is 07:45.
The time is now.
Take back the night.
What separates it from the day?
A rooster calls.
Of course, make of it as you will.
Finally, realizing that it was Eastern Illinois University that brought me here really gives me a sense of school pride, actually. A lot of people knock the school, and maybe it does have its faults, but EIU brought me to AFRICA. It delivered me to a fantastic experience, people and I wouldn’t have it any other way.