Final Thoughts, Five Things

It’s hard to believe it’s been a month since we arrived. There are certain parts that are starting to feel familiar, but it still feels very foreign to me. There are so many things I still wish I could do. When I look at a map of South Africa, it’s shocking to see how little ground we covered, even though I was pretty busy the entire time I was here. Except for a few “sick days” when I didn’t have any specific outings, I’ve been pretty much on-the-go every single day.

It’s been a fabulous experience, and I honestly do hope to return here. You wouldn’t believe how many locals have apologized for their winter–a series of fabulously sunny, cloudless (albeit on the cooler side) days. Of the entire month, we got only three days of rain. Otherwise it was generally either as warm or warmer (and sunnier) than San Francisco’s typical summer days. I can imagine how glorious their summers are here.

In honor of the so-called “Big Five” (African elephant, Cape buffalo, black rhino, lion and leopard), I’ve come up with my own lists of five. Here, as a summary, is my random list of  five things.

Five Best Moments

  1. Walking the Fan Walk to Green Point Stadium
  2. Getting in the cab at the end of my Table Mountain hike
  3. Spotting the lion and holding on to the back of the truck as the guide speeds away and the lion gives chase
  4. Cooking a traditional Cape Malay lunch with Gemilah in her home in Bo’Kaap
  5. Watching international tourists walk around sporting their flags and national team colors during the World Cup

Honorable mention: listening to the call to prayer from two different mosques at the same time

Five Biggest Surprises

  1. The natural beauty
  2. The racial integration
  3. The utter disregard for pedestrians
  4. The effort and attention to security
  5. Woolworth’s

Five things I still want to do

  1. Whale watching at Hermanus
  2. Kruger National Park (Eastern Cape)
  3. Climb Lion’s Head
  4. Visit the Cango Caves in Southern Cape
  5. Afternoon tea at Mount Nelson Hotel

Five best meals

  1. Lunch at Bombay Brasserie
  2. Steak dinner at Carne
  3. Dinner at Five Flies
  4. Dinner at Jardine
  5. Dinner at Aubergine

Five things I’ll miss the most

  1. The people and their almost total lack of snarkiness
  2. The changing light on Table Mountain throughout the day
  3. The weather (even in winter!)
  4. The efficient and clean taxis
  5. Free time

Five things they have going for themselves

  1. National self-confidence after a superb World Cup
  2. Active news media (Cape Town has TWO daily newspapers, but it’s currently under threat of a govt tribunal)
  3. A progressive constitution  that’s serious about civil rights
  4. A new generation that never knew Apartheid
  5. Social and environmental awareness

Five things that need work

  1. HIV-AIDS (although South Africa has 0.7% of the global population, it carries 17% of the world’s HIV-AIDS cases)
  2. Housing (South African has set itself the target of eradicating informal settlements by 2014)
  3. Reliable, cheap, safe public transportation
  4. Unemployment (25%)
  5. The dessert menus

What I have missed most from home

  1. My mom and friends, familiar faces
  2. Driving myself
  3. Mexican food
  4. The rest of my wardrobe
  5. Cooking

Five ubiquitous menu items

  1. Calamari
  2. Greek salad
  3. Chocolate molten cake
  4. Kingklip
  5. Butternut squash

Five things they have that we should

  1. Sea salt on every restaurant table (Swag’s suggestion)
  2. Virgin Active
  3. Origin Coffee (home barista training)
  4. Two living icons who represent freedom, fairness and forgiveness (Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu)
  5. Legal gay marriage

Now we brace ourselves for 24 hours of flying in coach. See y’all on the flip side!

2 thoughts on “Final Thoughts, Five Things”

  1. Let’s not forget that with only five South African TV channels tops to choose from (SABC 1, 2, & 3, e.TV, and MNET), I’m not sure we get a lot more with our 250+ channel offerings.

  2. When you are ready to return, I’m in! Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful stories about your amazing adventure.

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