It is now the weekend of my first week here in Cape Town. There have been quite a few ups and downs getting settled in my new city. Overall it has been an amazing week, however, it is definitely important to make sure everything is all lined up when you are living somewhere else for an extended period of time.
Some of the things I wish would have gone smoother included: getting a South African phone, feeding myself, sleep, and Uber. On my first full day here I had orientation, when I should have got a phone set up. I was planning on using a burner phone. Well I did not end up getting my phone until the second day and ran out of time to set it up with my internship coordinators. Long story short, the burner phone was so slow and incapable of working to order Uber and use WhatsApp. The two things I bought it to use. So that means putting the SIM card into my US phone, not a biggie, a little frustrating but not the end of the world. Uber has been the bane of my existence this week. Because it did not work on my burner phone I was almost stuck at my work site on Thursday. I spent a good 20 minutes trying to get the phone and Uber to work to get home for the day. Neither was happening, so I had to call the internship office and someone there order me one. Since I switched to my US phone I thought it would work just great. Well this morning I woke up to go on a sunrise hike at 7:30 am. At 7:15 I try to order a Uber. The data is working just fine, everything is loading, then “verify card.” So I spend the next 3 hours trying to get a form of payment for Uber. Spent half of that trying to verify my bank with PayPal. Hopefully, it is now all squared away but I don’t want to get my hopes up. Feeding myself this week took a few days. The first day here I had every intention on going to get groceries, turned out I was super tired and fell asleep as soon as I laid my head down. The next day, Wednesday, was a bus tour. I did eat dinner this day. Finally, got to the grocery store Thursday after work. The last trial has been sleep. I think I am finally on a proper sleep schedule. Throughout the week, if I was not in an organized activity I was asleep. But the weekend should put me on track.
So now that it seems like I had a terrible week, lets talk about all the fun and amazing things. On Wednesday I took a bus tour. It was one of those giant double decker tourist buses. Always thought they were kinda lame, but honestly a great way to see Cape Town for the first time. I went with 6 other interns. Our first stop was in Constantia where we visited a winery. Turns out at 11 am, going on your third day with minimal food, wine tasting gets to you quick. The wine was delicious though. Next we stopped off at World of Birds. Starting as a personal bird collection years and years ago, it is now a bird and monkey sanctuary. There were so many different birds and we got to go in an enclosure with some monkeys that just climb all over you. Our final stop was the waterfront. Here I had my first proper meal in Cape Town. Went to a restaurant that served just about everything. I had a pizza, which I made sure to have leftovers for work the next day. Thursday was my first day at work. I started the day by going to a post mortem (necropsy) of a porcupine. Then the afternoon was spent out with the eland and a monitor. They are magnificent animals. The monitors are with them whenever they are out of their boma (enclosure) to not only collect data but to protect them from poachers and other hazards. The monitor was telling me how violent some of the neighborhoods are (not mine) and how he hopes he can one day and afford to move his family. It is really a different world here and in just the few short day I have been exposed to so much. Everyday here make me appreciate so much more what we have in he states. We take so much for granted. Here in Cape Town it is inadvisable to walk down the street by yourself after dark. In my neighborhood to avoid getting mugged for your phone or wallet, but in the monitor’s neighborhood it is to avoid being killed. Gang violence is so bad that he said even the police are scared if they are not in a large enough group. It is so important to understand and have an awareness of what goes on in the world outside out little bubbles back home. Friday, VAC is took us to do a wine tasting like an hour to the north at a vineyard and farm. They do different activities every Friday. Next week is a hike and the week after is a braai (BBQ), weather permitting.
We will see what the rest of the weekend has in store for me.