I love Africa!

2/25/11
Oh Cape Town what can I say about you? I was in heaven; I loved every second more than I could ever explain. We walked off the ship that first day and I couldnt stop looking around, I felt like I was in America with more diversity. Everything was so nice and boy was it completely different than Ghana. I was contemplating packing my things and staying there for the next 2 months, I couldnt get enough!! We did get to Cape Town a day late due to high winds and not being able to dock because our ship would have taken out the entire town with the way we were rocking. Because of the day we loss, I also lost my chance to go shark diving and sky-diving, Im sure my mom is breathing a little lighter knowing that, but I will be back someday and I can promise they will be on the itinerary.

Day 1: We finally got off the ship around 12:30 and head directly to our FDP that was supposed to start at 8:30, once again it got shortened and things we were supposed to do were taken out of the plan. We first headed to a township for lunch, I was slightly confused because these townships compared to Ghana were luxurious! The houses actually had cement walls and actually were filled with furniture. Lunch was awesome, there was music being played the entire time and one of the men actually sang, he had an amazing voice and I even got a video of it!! After our lunch that lasted less than a hour (due to the U2 concert that was taking place that night all of the streets surrounding the soccer stadium were closed as of 2PM) we headed back to the pier where we got on boats that took us to Robben Island.
Im not sure exactly what I was expecting Robben Island to be like, but whatever thoughts I had were blown out of the water when we met our tour guide who had actually served time at Robben Island for 7 years. He shared with us the living conditions, how they were actually punished for trying to read and learn about other governments other than their own. This was during the apartheid that he was a prisoner and he had actually been incarcerated because he was apart of a group that was trying to end the apartheid and was charged with government conspiracy. We saw the cell that Nelson Mandela called his home and it was tiny. The outside of the prison was really nice, you would never guess where you actually were. Our tour guide worked in the kitchen for most of his time and basically described my job to me. He was in charge of making meals for everyone in the morningsounded a little like what I do! The tour only lasted about a hour of the actual units and kitchen and then we got a tour of the whole island, penguins everywhere!! It was now a place where old prisoners and their families could live and actually had a school for everyones children. It was a nice experience.
After our tour was over we got brought back to the ship and quickly ventured off to find dinner. On the pier there is a large Ferris wheel and it felt like I was downtown Minneapolis there were so many people out, wandering around. To my dismay (not), we ate at an amazing Italian restaurant, with real food, it was amazing!! I had a caprese salad, and Bolognese pasta, with Peroni beer!! I dont think I could have been a happier person. After dinner we met up with everyone from our group and went to Long street, this street is where all the bars are and tons of clubs. Within 20 minutes of being there my friend got 400 Reals stolen from her. Although that only equals about 70 US dollars, it wasnt a good start to our night. We continued on our night and ended up having the time of our lives!

Day 2: Started off a little rough, considering our night didnt end until 5AM. We decided today would be a good day to wander the town, we ate lunch on the pier over-looking the water and were accompanied by some seals. The weather was so unlike Ghana, there was an actual breeze in the air and it felt so nice to sit outside. We wandered the pier area and decided to go shopping. (Of course) It was crazy to see how many shops in the mall were American, we tried our best to stay away from them and we ended up getting some really cool souvenirs, words wouldnt do them justice. We continued the day very relaxing, enjoying everything we were seeing and ended up at a South African restaurant for dinner. We all enjoyed amazing steak and the rest of the girls had some fish that they said was great. The rest of the night was spent just like the night before except at a bar that was playing dub-step all night, everyone favorite.

Day 3: Bright and early we left for our safari, we took a plane to Cape Elizabeth about a 1 flight north and ended up at our resort around 12. We were quickly whisked up in the safari jeeps and brought to the Bosa, a outside eating area. I met the cook within seconds of being there as he was choosing out my meal for me. I can say that I quite possibly died and went to heave that day, it wasnt the entrée I remembered as much but the desert that I cant stop thinking about. Peach breaded pudding, chocolate mousse cake, and some apple dish…think about eating stuff like that for 3 days straight! After lunch we were brought to our chalets, they were absolutely beautiful and overlooked the entire game reserve! I felt like I was up north in Minnesota being in this amazing log cabin!
After getting settled in, we headed out to our first game ride of the trip. Within seconds we were seeing animals everywhere, the most commonly seen animal was one that resembled deer greatly. Our first game ride was successful, within the first hour we had a gang of about 12 elephants walk within 3 feet of our jeep, and not even 10 minutes later we came across a lion pack napping under the trees. I think my jaw just stayed dropped the entire time, it was too much work to snap it shut just to open it again a couple minutes later. I had never imagined that zebras stripes would differ so much between one and another, it was crazy to see how much they differed. We took a break on top of the mountain to enjoy the view and a snack. It was at this time the sun was setting and the colors on top of all the green plush were breathtaking.
We finished our game drive and headed back to the resort for another meal in the bosa, this one topped the last and I felt like I could gain 5 pounds in one sitting. The rest of the night was very relaxing, they had started fires in the bar area so the 20 of SAS students along with the dean of students sat around enjoying wine. It was a good end to a long day.

Day 4: This day consisted of a complete day of game drives, it felt like it was going to be hard to top the last, and I wasnt really into it considering our first drive started at 6 AM. It was today that we saw the giraffes for the first time; the sight of a tall giraffe as the sun is rising is epic. We learned on this day how a rhinos front -horn/tusk is worth 100,000 dollars in some Asian because a lot of men believe it is an aphrodisiac. This certain game reserve has had trouble with people coming in on helicopters and taking the horn or tusk off with a machete leaving the rhino in a lot of pain, ultimately killing them. The rangers communicate over their walkie-talkies to other rangers to help them find animals but now with rhinos they have to be top secret about it because they never know when a guest is actually there for the sights or to find out the exact location of the rhinos.
The rest of the day was spent much of the same, we had a couple of hours after breakfast for a nap and to lie by the pool. It was such a nice day and the infinity pool was calling my name. Our last ride of the day was from 4-7 and once again we were surrounded by all of the Big 5 except leopards.

Day 5: We left bright and early the next day for our last game drive, this one was quite unsuccessful, considering we didnt end up seeing any animals. After our drive we quickly got packed and left for the airport. At this point everyone was ecstatic to get back to Cape Town! We hustled off the plane and headed directly to the mall to get more souvenirs and some last minute presents. The rest of the day was spent at Mitchells a bar right on the pier with about 40 other Semester at Sea students. We enjoyed amazing pizza and drinks as we spent our last hour before we had to board the ship for another 4 days at sea.

I have realized this trip sounded so uneventful but I cant even begin to explain to you my love for that place. I keep finding myself thinking back to how pretty it was, how nice everyone was, and how at home I really felt. It could have everything to do with how American felt, but after Ghana that was all I needed.
Today was the 3rd of 4th day on the ship and we presented our global studies project. This project has been a pain in my rear end! Try getting together with 5 other students in between classes, lying out, and just relaxing. ROUGH! We ended up doing great! I was so proud of my group and the 2 guys that were in charge of presenting did an amazing job! Our project was on multinational companies in Ghana and how they effected Ghanas economy, environment and any other issues. It was a very interesting subject to research and I learned so much of how the oil industries in Britain are basically taking over Ghanaian land with very little kick-back to them.
We get off the ship in 2 days and we will be in Port Louis, Mauritius. Apparently our ship is only allowed to port there for 1 day because of past Semester at Sea experiences, meaning students got way too drunk and basically ruined it for the rest of us! My FDP was cancelled so I am loving the fact I will be spending the day on a catamaran with all my friends, snorkeling and then heading to a big island to meet up with everyone else.
A couple days marked the halfway point of being on the ship and when I go to bed at night I get teary realizing we dont have much time left. I feel like I just got on this ship and its almost time to get off. I can only imagine how quickly the next couple months are going to go because we will be in and out of countries every other day.
Its funny, I thought the lessons I was going to learn on this trip were going to be from the classroom, but instead its from walking around the ship everyday with the people I love. I am such a happy person here, I probably wont be coming back. SORRY!

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