ZA Travel Diaries| Lessons Learned From Cape Town

MAKE THE MOST OF UNAVOIDABLE JETLAG

I admit that as a young, novice international traveler, I mistook myself for being way more invincible than I actually am. After more or less 40+ hours of flight travel to and from Cape Town, I’ve learned that I cannot just snap back with my usual energy and vigor. I was so TIRED when I made it back home! With two fully allotted travel days, I had only planned to stay in Cape Town for 5 days. I knew the trip was quick, but my body has shown me exactly how quick a trip that was that I attempted. Suffering from jetlag upon arrival, I’d submerged my days with back-to-back activities from morning to late evening. At night, I couldn’t even manage to get good sleep only to begin the next day with a full itinerary, running on near-empty. The sights were so incredible, but I couldn’t help but to wonder would they all just be a faded memory in my subconscious.

TIME MATTERS WHEN VIEWING THE CAPE POST-APARTHEID

I take great interest in learning of economic sustainability of oppressed communities. A lot of you may know that the apartheid recently in 1990. Since that time, South Africa has undergone a series or political and social reconstruction. From this, the people have noticed increased opportunities to rise in their socio-economic status However, as a result of political corruption and other factors, South Africa has a long way to go. Blacks in particular have had less time in comparison to African Americans to obtain the same social and economic opportunities. The reality is that not all townships are pretty. Some people live in tin houses within neighborhoods so far from the rest of the population, you’d think in was unjust.

WINE MAKING IS AN ART

Shoutout to our guide at Lanzerac in Stellenbosh for all of the great info. about wine making and preservation.

1.) Storage times matter after you open a wine bottle

White Wine|1-2 days

Red Wine| 3-4 days

2.) Every little aspect of wine making is super crucial for overall human health. Any factor, such as the wrong temperature, could turn a wine completely poisonous. Apparently, wine poisoning is incurable. Storage after opening matters because all wine sellers aren’t made equal. They also might not be adjusting their temperatures of their facilities as according to the wine type versus the local weather, so the condition of the wine could change.

THE WIND

I’m not even kidding when I say the wind in this City can take you away. I felt like I needed to put on some additional pounds before arriving just to walk around because the wind was almost unbearable and disrespectful.

THE POLITICAL ARENA ISN’T WHAT IT SEEMS

A few family and friends have asked me to give my opinion on the political climate in South Africa based on my very limited amount of time there. While I am careful not to say much of my own opinion, I will reiterate what I have continued to hear from various locals (particularly men) I encountered:

  • From my understanding of young to middle aged men’s perspective, South African politics are a joke. Political positions no longer are highly revered because of the simplistic means in which one can obtain a position in political office.
  • Minorities in political power don’t mean too much now

With the South African apartheid barely in our rear view, the mere thought of minorities gaining political power in the country may seem exciting to some. Literally, Nelson Mandela, reigned as a global champion of human and political rights in his day. Unfortunately, from what I’ve heard over the last couple days, once revered political parties and figures associated with positive change against the apartheid in South Africa have allowed their value systems to change as political power has become increasingly obtainable.

Right now, a Zulu man and Former South African President, Jacob Zuma, is in the international hot seat as he faces 783 counts of alleged corruption practices, which includes fraud and racketeering. While he’ll probably be pursued for a fraction of these, let’s face it, that’s not very good for his already declining reputation since he’s resigned his position and been accused of being involved with the infamous Indian clan, the Gumpta family. While visiting a comedy club in town, this family was definitely noted as the butt of a few jokes.

  • Money rules the world, DUH!

Okay, so we see more color representation in the South African politics, YAY! But hold your applause. As I learned more about which families or individuals owned businesses or controlled major industries, I came to the following universal conclusion: Whoever controls the money controls the world-LITERALLY. But c’mon, we already knew that. The same is true in South Africa and around the globe. The political leaders and representatives that we see in the media with fancy titles aren’t necessarily the key power players. Policy and the economy are always determined by wealth creators and maintainers.

POVERTY IS REAL BUT SO ARE YOUR PRIORITIES

The tin housed settlements(townships) that I saw on the outskirts of the City were reminiscent of some of the homes that I’ve seen in Costa Rica. No matter where you are, know this: poverty and drugs don’t mix well. It’s already a pitiful state to face the barriers that come with lower socioeconomic status but to be introduced to drugs too is a MESS. The Cape Town meth addicts that I saw within the Black/ colored communities reminded me A LOT of the previous crack epidemic in the U.S. amongst African Americans.

What was kinda funny was that one of our guides, Colin, told us that even a lot of these people in townships still saved about R38.00 just to have satellite television to watch football(soccer), despite their living conditions. Sure enough, almost very home in the townships that I saw had satellites affixed to them too.  It just reminds me that people prioritize what that value, no matter their financial situation.

CAPE TOWN’S DROUGHT IS A GLIMPSE INTO THE FUTURE

My short time in South Africa was just a taste of what’s probably to come as climate change continues to devastate the globe. It’s not completely unexpected to see signs directing toilet flushing etiquette in public restrooms. It’s not uncommon to see unflushed toilets if they just contain urine or limited sinks with running water when you’re out and about.

ZA Lingo

I kept hearing Afrikaan phrases while in Cape Town. Of all that I’d heard, this is what I remember:

Baie Danke (*pronounced “Buy-a-donkey”)-Thank you.

Tik– slang for Meth

Cheers!– Bye. /See you later. /Blessings.

Now Now– Right now

Just Now-Some time later

Take Away-To-go (Ex. “My food order is a take away.”)

Gherkins– Pickles

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