Week 8: Goodbyes

This week marks the end of my second month here in Cape Town. I now have less than a month left, 28 days until I depart Cape Town, 30 until I am back home in Corvallis. So for the next 28 days I am going to stay as active as I can and try to make sure I see and do all the things that I could hope for on this trip.

Work this week consisted of finishing up the photo tagging. I was able to process over 29,000 photos this week. At one point I managed 11,000 in one hour. On Monday however, I helped with a vegetation survey where we went through the reserve looking for metal tags to track how the Brunsvigia plant has done over the past 20 years. We used a metal detector and had to dig upwards of 10 cm in the sand to find all of the tags. There were very few that we could not locate and some that we found that had not been found the last time this survey was conducted. That was my life this week at work and we will see what work has to hold this week.

On the activity front. Friday was wine tasting for the vactivity. We went to two wineries. Blaauwklippen and Lanzerac. Lanzerac was the first winery to bottle one of South Africa’s very own Pinotage grape. This is a red wine grape that was was bred in 1925 as a cross between Pinot noir and Cinsaut. It was first bottled in 1959 by Lanzerac and they describe it as, “smoky-soft top notes combine with black plums and cherries, hints of polish and leather. Juicy, well-integrated tannins support a spicy, meaty core with a refreshing acidity and long smooth finish”. This is the first bottle of wine that I have bought here in South Africa. It will pair nicely with a good elk steak and vegetables. Saturday entailed going to the Saturday food market near the V&A Waterfront, eating at said market (a lamb roll), a quick stop at the mall, meandering through the Waterfront market, watching the harbor and two older gentleman playing a game of giant chess, and ending with smoothies at another food market. Sunday we went to the city center to visit the South African National Gallery, a walk through the center, and some lunch at Nando’s (a South African Portuguese chicken joint that is apparently very popular in the UK). Also on Sunday, my house ran out of water. This could be for a variety of reasons. 1) As the house is now almost full, 9/10 bedrooms occupied, we went over our daily water allowance and will need to enact better water conservation efforts. In which case it will be back on Monday with our new daily allotment. Or 2) the water to the house is off and we have no idea when it will come back on. This happened at another intern house and last time I knew they still didn’t have water (it was going on four days the last time I heard anything). Hopefully this is not the case. Regardless, the housing company, Rent-a-room, brought 24 litres of drinking water and supplied each bathroom with what I would guess is a 10 L jug of water for each person to use in the bathrooms. I did not use this water to shower today, I went to a fellow Milton that lives in another house to use their shower. Hopefully it is just the first of the two explanations and the water will be back on tomorrow. Well that was my adventures for the week.

This week also marked the end of the time here in Cape Town for some of the people that I have grown closest with. Coming here as part of an internship placement company and living in a house supplied for interns and students, you meet a lot of people who are also here in Cape Town for a short duration of time. These are the people that we tend to become close to, the people I go on hikes with, the people I go to the market with, the people I go to a movie with, and the people I spend most of my free time with exploring and experience this wonderful country. On my second weekend here in Cape Town I sent out a message on the VAC group message on WhatsApp asking if anyone wanted to enjoy a sunny day at Muizenberg beach. There were a few responses and so I went with one of my new housemates Alex, (from the Netherlands) to meet a group of other interns at the local grocery shop to go to the beach. Lo and  behold, two of the people I was meeting with were also from Oregon. Claudia and Jess both go to Pacific University and are here doing a physiotherapy internship. This was the start of the “Miltons.” So named as it is the street where my house is, which is where we spend a lot of time together. Then a couple weeks later came Shauna (from Ireland). A little after Shauna, Alex (from England) came, then Manisha (also from England), and we became the Milton Bunch. But not everyone is doing the same duration of internship. Out of this group, I was the first to arrive here in Cape Town, but I will be one of the last to leave. Shauna was only here for three weeks, so she was the first to leave and after only those three short weeks we had already all done so much together that it was sad to have to say goodbye. Shortly after Shauna, Alex (from the Netherlands) left. She was here for about six weeks. This week was a particularly sad week. England Alex ended his stay here in Cape Town and we had to say another goodbye to a Milton. We had grown pretty close over the time he was here, as he also lived at the Milton house. So not only did we see each other when we all hung out together, but everyday doing normal everyday things like cooking dinner and sitting on the couches. And as the group continues to get smaller each goodbye becomes a little harder. It is sad to say goodbye to someone who has made your time in this fabulous country even better. And not only did I have to say goodbye to Alex this week, but another intern that I became close with left the same day as Alex, Sam. Sam is from New Jersey and we always had a good time with him. We mostly saw Sam on Thursday nights when we would all go out and he was always one to keep pushing the night longer. On the first night I went out here in Cape Town, Sam kept me out until, if I remember correctly, around 3 am. Hanging out in one place, going to another to play pool, and back to the first place. Sam genuinely just likes to be around other people and didn’t like to end a night early.  So this week was filled with goodbyes and leaves the Miltons with four.

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