Cape Town, Day 4: Table Mountain

An icy cold can of mango juice.
An icy cold can of mango juice on my ankle.
My ankle hurts. Looks like a huge bruise. It’s been sprained in the most stupid way possible. But let’s start from the beginning.
Today was planned to be the Table Mountain Hike day. However, waking up this morning, I found a couple of slight obstacles.

Firstly, my whole body was sore from the hike the day before, it hurt to move. Secondly, the city was covered in fog again, and it was quite chilly; grey grey grey everywhere. The air was full of moist. me and Rachel walked around the Waterfront, landed at the Portuguese coffeeshop (this coffeeshop again!) and checked the forecast. The forecast was quite pessimistic. Well, thought we, fortune favors the brave! – and hopped on the Red Bus. The route was long, but the audioguide made the trip more entertaining. We circled around the city center, and then finally got on the highway to the Table Mountain.
We walked out of the bus and realized it was pretty damn cold. The nearby shop attracted our attention with Table Mountain merchandise, and I got a warm scarf… Yeah yeah, fifth or sixth?
And then magic happened. In ten minutes, while we were walking around, it warmed up, and it warmed up a lot. So we walked to the trail and started our way.
Now mind that I was still sore from the day before… and then I saw those steps. Holy crap. Lion’s Head was a piece of cake! At least most of the path there was flat, with little rocks along the way, but the tough stuff only started at the top. Here the whole trail consisted of huge rocks that you had to climb. For people of 170 cm height and taller that shouldn’t be a problem; for me it was yet another freaking challenge. It was a 2,5 hour trail. And there literally was no flat part. It was going up and up and up and up. My breath was heavy, and my muscles didn’t want to collaborate – they were still in shock from the day before. I had to stop once in a while to let the tension in my legs go away so that they would let me take another step up. Up and up and up. We took a couple of breaks, but it was still not enough. And we were tight on time. At a certain point I borrowed Rachel’s sharpie and started leaving fun marks on the way – yet another excuse to stop and catch my breath. LOTR was the subject for sure. You should’ve seen this mountain! It’s like hiking to Mordor or something, remember, when Sam and Frodo were climbing up those steps near Minas Morgul? Only today I was Frodo, read “the whining one”. Again, I was seriously unsure whether I could actually make it to the top. It was tough. But it was Rachel’s first mountain to climb; and it was an adventure, after all. We kept climbing; our path led into nothing, and by saying “nothing”, I mean “nothing”, because all that waited for us ahead was a pile of thick white fog. We were climbing straight into a cloud. It looked surreal. It felt surreal. Only for my body it was yet more climbing, up and up and up. We met a couple of other hikers on our way. Most of them were faster than us. They encouraged us to keep going – saying we were close to the top. In the mountains, you don’t care about names or skin color or wealth or shit. In the mountains whoever you meet is your friend. It’s where the survival instinct turns on, primal and true. It’s a good shake for anyone with any prejudices against other people, thought I. The hike was harsh. A couple of chocolate-and-biltong stops helped.
Up we went. Into the cloud and through the cloud. We didn’t even grasp the moment when we suddenly were on the top; we just saw that the mountain was really flat, like on the postcards.
We walked around, still failing to believe we made it. Took some pictures. Walked to the cable car station.
And it cleared up. The clouds suddenly just retreated, and the sun shone, and we got a magnificent view on the city below. That’s when we tried to be creative and repeat the “I’m going to jump, and nobody can stop me” shot from the day before (that we did, yeah). The trick is to find a big rock close to the edge that has some flat ground ahead, and to find the right perspective. So I jumped and jumped and jumped, but the rock I’ve been jumping from was too short. Well, I climbed on the rock next to it, and jumped. “DUUUDE!” – shouted Rachel. “This picture is a killer!!”
Her words ran past me like a cable car (they’re fast!). All I could perceive was the sharp pulsing pain in my ankle, and it wasn’t going away for a couple of minutes. How could I land so badly? Well, yet there I was. At last I was able to get up, but I knew my ankle was sprained and the hurt stayed with me till this moment, and I still have to limp while I walk. Seeng doctor Dave going up the gangway that evening was sort of ironic. He would’ve facepalmed so much if he heard the story. But I secretly hope my ankle will get better and I won’t have to bother him. That was a fail for sure.
While Rachel was purchasing the cable car tickets, I got us matching bracelets at the store, hand-woven and very cute. After all, we shared this adventure together, we made it to the top, and we deserved it! And it took us about three hours in total…
We jumped into the cable car the moment the doors were closing. The cable car was yet another first for Rachel. She felt pretty uncomfortable about it, but I kept distracting her, first with the bracelet, and then with the apricot sweets I bought at the top, while the cable car was racing down the mountain.
We hopped on our bus that was ready to leave, and it took us along the coast, via the long scenic road, to the Waterfront. There I parted with Rachel who hurried to the ship to give Iva her two-day bus ticket back, and I caught wifi at the bus stop and talked to family for a while, and after that got a nice massage at the wellness part of the local crafts market. This place is full of wonders for sure.
After that I had to go find a pharmacy, because my ankle kept hurting; got a cotton bondage… The rest is history – walked around the mall, got more wifi, et cetera.
[offtop – one of our neighbors is definitely having a good time, her moans are pretty loud – well, you know, campus stuff – end of the offtop]
So, here I am, sitting on my bed, with a cold can of mango juice on my ankle. The ankle definitely likes cold. Will keep up the good job…
Tomorrow we have a Human Sexuality field lab – meeting local sex workers – and Desmond Tutu is speaking on the ship. I just wish we had more time here. My romance with Cape Town gets quite serious!

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