Port 10: Cape Town: Day 1

A very joyful hello from Cape Town, South Africa! Today started similarity to the last day in India in the sense that we had no real plan for the day. We woke up early again this morning because it was our first day in port and we are always woken up by the sound of the machines going when we pull into our slot. Since I was already awake, I got up and went to the back of the ship to see the views Cape Town had to offer. I’m super happy I decided to get out of bed and take a look because we are docked with a perfect view of (NAME) mountain. I got out there just before the sun rose and was able to watch the sunrise. It was absolutely gorgeous. I should have known at that moment that this place would be amazing. Quite a few people had gotten up to watch the sunrise so we stayed out their and chatted as we took in the view. After the sunrise we snagged the sisters out of bed and went up to breakfast. At breakfast they made the announcement that we had to go through immigration, which in Cape Town is off of the ship. So, we quickly finished breakfast grabbed our I.D.’s and headed towards immigration. They initially told us it wood be no more than 30-45 minutes to get the ship cleared so we all just went out in basically our pajamas so we could quickly go through immigration and get back on the ship to get ready for the day.  Kathleen had a field lab today so she couldn’t go out with us, but Caroline, Rebecca, and I quickly hopped off the ship with nothing but our phones and I.D.’s. Unfortunately, that 30-45 minute guess was very off. It took them almost four hours to clear the ship so Caroline, Rebecca, and I were all stuck off the ship with next to nothing and dresses in our pajamas. It took us about 2 hours to get through the line just to go through immigration, but that time didn’t make us mad at all. All of the workers felt so bad it was taking so long and were so kind about everything, that it made those two hours totally bearable and even fun. After we got through the line and looked at everyone that still had to go through we decided that the three of us couldn’t just sit in the terminal waiting for the ship to be cleared, so we got on the shuttle with the basics we had and headed to wherever that shuttle was going. (Disclaimer: the shuttle was a SAS bus that took you places, so we knew we were safe) The shuttle ended up in between a  local market and mall. When we got there the driver told us he would stay there for 30 minutes before heading back to the port, so we quickly hopped out, looked at the mall directory and saw what the market had to offer before getting back on the shuttle. We decided we definitely wanted to go back there when we got our belongings off of the ship so we headed back to do just that. Once we got back to the terminal we only had to wait there for 30 or so minutes before we got back on the ship. By the time we got back on the ship it was already almost ‪12 o’clock so we quickly changed and grabbed our stuff and a quick bite to eat before heading back to the shuttle. We were back in town before ‪1 o’clock and spent the majority of the afternoon and evening there. The atmosphere of Cape Town is a lot like Cape Cod. It’s super beachy, everyone is relaxed and super nice, and it’s absolutely gorgeous.  The shuttle dropped us off right in between the market and the mall again so we shopped there first. The mall was a lot like male in America. We didn’t spend much time in the actual mall because it was so much like America that we can get that when we’re home. We also didn’t stay long because it was so weird being in an actual mall. We were feeling a bit of culture shock, which kind of cracked us up. The market was the cutest thing I’ve ever been in. Its a warehouse with a bunch of modern vendors and shops inside it. It was a lot like what you would find in a very hipster town in California. The vendors were selling goods native to Africa and a lot of handmade products that were all so cute. I could have spent the entire day there!! As we were walking through the market there was this woman who had a tiny little corner shop who was braiding hair. We stopped to look at what she had and Caroline and I ended up getting half of our hair corn rowed. It was very spur of the moment, but it was so much fun. We talked to the woman the entire time she did our hair and got to hear all about her life; her name was Rose and she was so nice. Rebecca decided to wait for Kathleen to get back from her field lab before getting her hair done. We told Rose we would come back with Kathleen and then headed back to the shuttle to meet Kathleen so we could all get some dinner and Rebecca and Kathleen could get their hair braided. We caught the shuttle just before it headed back to the ship, met Kathleen, changed into warmer clothes, and we’re back on the shuttle in what seemed like no time at all. It gets pretty chilly here in the morning and at night, but stays warm during the day so we had to change out of our summer day clothes into warmer evening clothes. We got back to Rose just before ‪7 o’clock, which is when she closed. She had waited around for us, which was more than kind. She braided both Rebecca’s and Kathleen’s hair and we chatted for a while. She recommended a place for dinner, so after she finished braiding we headed to her recommended dinner spot. She recommended this restaurant called Spurs, which was about  a 5 minute walk from the market. On the walk we were able to FaceTime both my mom and dad and say hello to them. South Africa is the first place since Hong Kong that my phone has really worked so it was super nice to be able to text them and even get to see them through FaceTime. We grabbed a delicious dinner at this place called Spurs, which was Rose’s recommendation, and enjoyed being at a normal restaurant. By the time we finished dinner it was almost ‪9 o’clock, so we decided to head back to the ship as Rebecca, Caroline, and I all have field labs ‪tomorrow morning that we have to be up early for. I cannot get over how much I love Cape Town. We’ve got a ton of amazing plans for this stop and I have a feeling this is going to be my favorite port.

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