Cape Town, Day 1: Waterfront Exploration

I jumped out of my bed at 5:40 in the morning, and me and Rachel rushed to the upper deck. Yesterday they said that the sunrise took place at 6:00… Well, we were misinformed, because the sun was already out, popping from the clouds. But the view. No – THE VIEW.

Table Mountain, topped with puffy white clouds; the Lion’s Head sticking out to the right from it; the city stretching in between and further; and that wind, tasty wind all over the place!
So, an uber-quick breakfast, and sea by sea we had to go through the face-to-face immigration, but it turned out to be really fast and efficient, so thank you Cape Town customs.
Then – planning and waiting, waiting for the ship to be announced cleared. At that time the pain in my neck and upper back became annoying enough for me to start annoying the crew, and they finally removed the cover from the pool. I jumped into the green – it’s green in this port, not blue – water, refreshing and icy cold, and succeeded to exercise for half an hour. Although trying to float on my back in the end was a poor decision, my body got really frozen, and I had to spend a while warming up under a shower with a view on the Lion’s Head. Not bad, after all!
Look who’s awake – yeah, the cicada, always by the pool on deck seven; and there are stars tonight, bright stars, not as clear as I’d wished because of the light pollution. It’s after midnight, and tomorrow we’re planning to go visit the cheetahs – hope the plan works. Day 3 – Lion’s Head hike, day 4 – Table Mountain hike. Hope all will go according to plan, because I really like this challenge.
So after a swim me and Rachel walked to the V&A Waterfront, which was totally mindblowing. Firstly, it resembled Pier 39 in San Francisco. Secondly, it looked very, very chill. And hippie-friendly. We reached the mall, and there turned out to be an international belly dancing event going on, which we had a chance to watch a bit. And then – yeah sure, mall and wifi. The mall looked so American – even more than American; there was stuff from all over the world. And the grocery store. That grocery store. To sum up, I got blueberries (blueberries blueberries blueberries), some incredible fruit tart, and my day was shaped pretty nicely. We wandered around the mall, found a bunch of interesting shops, and an African crafts market, which was very, very tempting. But what surprised us most was the people. In every shop we went to we got involved in a conversation, long, detailed and friendly. It felt like the sellers didn’t give a damn if we bought something or not; they just wanted to talk, to learn about our countries, SAS and all. They never pushed you back to buying stuff, they never pressed you; and they gave us lots of advice on Cape Town. Our favorite spot was the tea shop. As soon as we walked in, I was struck by the delicious smell inside. These guys know how to use aroma marketing. There also were a couple of teapots to sample different sorts of the traditional African tea. We ended up talking with this amazing lady – a co-owner, I assume – for almost an hour. Turned out she used to teach English, lived outside of SA for about thirty years; her accent had the flavors of Dutch, French, German and British pronunciations. She was telling us about life in Shanghai, about the apartheid that drove many families away from their homeland. She said that I had a very noticeable American accent; Californian accent! At that moment I was sooo proud of myself, because ain’t it cool to have an accent in the language that’s not even native to you?
In the end I bought a double-walled teacup that I’ve been hunting for since they opened these Viennese cafes in Saint Petersburg; and she gave me some tea for free, of the flavor whose smell captured my attention at the entrance. Will definitely come back and buy more tea!!
At last, when we left the mall, having agreed to come back with our laptops and have dinner there, we ran into another tiny market, where I got a quick airbrush tattoo – gosh, I didn’t even know those existed! – and started our way to the ship… But a sign “food market” caught my attention. And the words “bubble tea”, noted by Rachel, made it impossible not to come in.
It turned out to be an organic food market, and oh my god this food. We ended up staying there for a meal, because the market was to shut down soon. Imagine me sitting at this wooden table, with a wrap of freshly-grilled beef, avocado, feta cheese and something else, all pure deliciousness, a cup of apple-ginger lemonade and a bunch of macaroons. I mean, you know. I mean, today I’ve been spoiling myself pretty damn much. But, I mean, when you eat basically the same food for a couple of weeks… A couple of months… Well, you know. Right.
So yes, we walked [crawled] back to the ship. Guess what we saw while crossing one of the bridges? Seals. I’ve never ever seen a seal so close in my entire life. They were enjoying themselves tremendously, whirling around in the water and chasing one another. We couldn’t move for a while, getting an overdose of cuteness.
Got our laptops at last and spent a cozy evening eating strawberries (that grocery store again) and resolving the general issues that required internet in the mall. ‘Twas a good day. Now sleep – and it’s quite chilly up here – and this cicada, boy, is it annoying… 😉

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