Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Wow, it’s been quite some time since I’ve written. The leisurely pace of Cape Town is starting to get to me I suppose. Not too much has happened (especially compared to all of the other events thus far) since my last post but I guess anything is worth writing about. At least my mom will enjoy it. ;)
I had my first Afrikaans test today. There were 45 questions for 45 minutes and they were all written! It was kind of difficult, but the length was really was made it more difficult. But, it’s over! Yay!
I’m really doing a poor job at keeping up with this thing. I wrote that last paragraph nearly a week ago. Anyway, over the weekend interstudy took us to Aquila Private Game Reserve about two and a half hours outside of Cape Town. When we got there we split up into two groups to volunteer in the nearby town of Touwsriver. I was placed at the old age home where we renovated the common room. We had to remove all of the furniture, prime the walls and then repaint them. It was pretty hard work—my hands were blistered afterwards—but it looked a lot nicer. I think it would have been better if we painted the walls a different color than the original, though. Some of the girls painted different types of flowers on the walls to try and brighten up the room. Some of them looked pretty, but if I were an old person I wouldn’t want to look at paintings you’d see in an elementary school classroom. Once the room was finally finished, we all collapsed into the chairs, sweating profusely and exhausted. An older woman in a wheel chair rolled into the room shortly after and gave us a very long speech about how she went into a coma and died and then came alive again. Apparently she saw Jesus and now we all have to follow him because he is going to come back any day now and we will see the holes in his hands and feet. He’s also going to take all of us who have faith in him to heaven while the rest of us will be suffering “hell on earth”. It was a very long and crazed speech and not exactly what we were trying to listen to at the end of the day, but she eventually thanked us for what we did and left. Then the people who organized the volunteer work came in with beers for us, which made up for all of her religious babbling.
The other group got to volunteer at an orphanage, which made me pretty jealous since I would have much rather played with kids, but they also worked pretty hard. Over all, we all were glad to have helped out a little bit by the end of the day, even with the temperature being over 111°F. We even finished with enough time to run to the liquor store before we went back to the reserve.
On the bus everyone was pretty worn out but we had an hour or two to chill out before we went on our first game drive. The place was absolutely beautiful, with two pools—the one having a bar with stools in the water. Will and I had a drink for the effect and then changed for the drive. We all gathered in the front of the lodge and hopped into huge jeeps headed for the dusty trails of the reserve. My group saw elephants, hippos, rhinos, lions, ostriches, springboks, wildebeests, zebras, buffalo, and giraffes. Before we headed back for the massive braai, we stopped and were served champagne among the animals.
The braai was amazing. There was a plethora of different foods set upon a long table by the circular fire pit where we ate. After eating, I engaged in the drum circle led by one of the people who lived at the reserve. Having been more than a few drinks deep, I called it a night fairly early (before midnight) especially since we were scheduled to go on another drive at 6AM the next morning. Apparently I missed out on skinny-dipping and naked chicken fights, affectionately deemed “interstudy gone wild,” but that’s not my story to tell…
The next morning I awoke reluctantly before six to go on the drive. The sun was not up yet, so once we got into the jeeps we were able to watch it rise among the mountains and indigenous plant life of the reserve. This time we saw cheetahs and a leopard in addition to the other animals. They reminded me of bigger versions of Mia. It’s funny how every cat acts the same. No matter what species of cat, it always has an attitude.
When we got back from the drive we were given a breakfast buffet and then we spent the rest of the day by the pool, tanning, reading and swimming. I’m probably the tannest I’ve been since I got here!
Last night we went to Mercury, a club in town, which has good specials on Monday nights. I got a “cane” and cream soda for only 5R! Cane is a type of alcohol, I think derived from sugar cane, which is really common in South Africa. A band played for a little while—they were okay, a little too “emo” for me. Somehow the several of us girls that went managed to spend little to no money, milking the free drinks from fellow bar flies and then fleeing the scene.
I promise in time I’ll write about all of the other noteworthy things that I have scribbled in fragments on miscellaneous pieces of paper, but as I have two papers due next week in addition to a test, I’m going to hold out on you all. Sorry guys!

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