Table Mountain, why are you so beautiful?
The next day, Monday, I had class. After, I meandered over to the guesthouse and we took a taxi to meet some cheetahs at Cheetah Outreach. The money goes towards giving dogs to farms in South Africa - the dogs keep cheetahs away, and thus out of gunshot range. I loved the idea, mostly because I love dogs, and these Anatolian dogs were so loyal, that one time one of them fought off a lion, won, had to get stitched 12 miles away, but ran the whole way back to the farm to protect. Such beautiful loyalty. I loved the cheetahs - Rafiki and Sara. That night, we went to the V & A Waterfront, where we ate at this Dutch place called Der Anker. It was so delicious. I had duck and I have no idea what the appetizers were, but they were delicious. More talking and laughing. My family and I spent a lot of time in an African souvenir shop - good times. We then walked around the Victoria Wharf, and my family was tired, so we headed back to get an early turn-in for shark cage diving the next morning.
"CLEAN YOUR ROOM!"
When we got there, we had to put on our wetsuits while the boat rocked vigorously, and I realized my lack of sea legs (I think we all did). Before I could even think, I was in the cage with my family and a random German boy. It wasn't cold because of the wetsuit. I felt safe. The way it worked was we were above water, but when a shark came by or was lured in by the chum, the racially ambiguous Mitch would shown "DOWN DOWN DOWN" in whatever accent he had, and we would use the cage to propel ourselves down and stare into the eyes of a Great White Shark. It was calming being next to my family and in line with the water's surface. We spent 20 minutes in the cage, and Mitch stopped counting the sharks after 12. There were a few times when its open jaws were in my face, one when it was chewing on the tuna head directly in front of me! I grabbed on to Kevin, and I only screamed once. I was pretty scared in those moments, but I felt safe directly after them in the cage. We laughed above water. Jack stayed in for a second time, and it was cool to see the sharks come in and out of the water, and my mom was scared when it started thrashing right in front of Jack-o, but it was safe! My dad could NOT STOP SAYING "We are gonna need a bigger boat". We got changed after a bumpy ride back, and were served lasagna as we watched the experience. My mom commented “It looks so much scarier now than it did in the cage!” and then 2 days later, “I cannot believe all of us did that.” So true, ma.
Jack in cage
Sniffing the Ocean
We got up super early for safari, and slept most of the ride there. It was in the beautiful Aquila Game Reserve. We were served champagne, and enjoyed breakfast and the peacocks roamin’ around. Our guide, Carlo, was very nice and laughed a lot. We saw the scary hippos (will always creep me out), the buffalos (was told we were lucky we caught them eating – usually ram into the vehicle), springbok (a small dainty type of antelope – South Africa’s national antelope), the ever-hideous wildebeest, the ZEEBZ (fatter than I thought, have weak back – why lions pounce on their back and why HUMANS CANT RIDE THEM LYING RACING STRIPES. Donkeys in pajamas), rhinos (fighting with each other #classic), ostrich (I just love ostriches so much more than I could have imagined), the lions (actually scared – at one point they all stood up and just stared at us, in positions of pounce – the creepiest thing ever), THE ELEPHANTS! (teenage boy one who was named an African dialect word meaning “irritated” – irritated he was. He held his ears back, looked like he was going to charge, and threw dust at us. His bro was “chill” –Carlo) (I love elephants) (I want to formally meet an elephant), and the giraffes (eatin’). We also saw a leopard, it was so scary looking, but it was in a cage. You have to go to Kruger to see a leopard loping around. Also, Jack made fun of me for the amount of times I said "majestic".
Livin' in a gangsta's paradise
I HATE YOU
Say "Ah!" -Baha Men ("Who Let the Dogs Out" or as I like to call it "Who Let the Lions Out")
Why do you hate me?
After, we ate lunch, and horsebacked through the reserve – uncomfortable, beautiful, amazing, felt like the West, I hate hippos, why are they so creepy, I was scared of the hippos. Like every single horseback riding experience I have ever had, I got the unruly horse that chose to gallop all over the place. I ain’t complaining – my family made fun of my laugh, I love galloping. That night, we ate at The Wild Fig in Obz. We had the fancy place to ourselves, and it was delicious and great conversation, as usual. My favorite parts of the week were the dinners.
"Blurry Horse Selfie"
The next day, I went to school again. After, we walked around green market square. My family shopped around, buying this and that. My mom bought a "Zebra on Wheels" and was thinking about going back for the Giraffe. They were unnerved by how pushy everyone was there, as I always am. You gotta act uninterested. We ate at an Irish pub of all places. Then we took a taxi to signal hill, where I had contacted a guy for three paragliders, for me, K & J. However, he said only two were available for today, so I let my bros take it, because I have more time to paraglide than they do! We watched the lift-off, making fun of their runs. Turns out Jack's tandem guy is the second best squash player in all of Africa. Wow. He was really quiet. My parents and I took pictures and talked and walked. When the boys got back, we talked at this table as they smoked their Cuban cigars. The sunset from signal hill I was always told to experience, and I can understand now why so many people recommended it to me: it is spectacular. So many colors, a great view of the city and table mountain, as well as the sparkling water! We were all stunned. We ate at Cafe Paradiso on Kloof street, which was spectacular. We all had too much wine, the discussions were lively.
Ma & Pa
"I want ice cream"
If only this was the sunrise - than I could sing the Lion King
The next day, after school, we had a peninsula tour scheduled. It was a beautiful and hot day, and our driver loved to talk. He told us proudly about Table Mountain, one of the oldest mountains in the world, and how it is really amazing because you can get all the seasons on the mountain at any one time, depending on where you are on the mountain, and of the mountain's complex natural water system, and how the water is dusty with iron, better for you than regular water. We had spectacular views and stopping points. Boulder Beach with the penguins was fun - I just love penguins! Kevin, Jack and I cracked up when one penguin obliviously fell in a hole (my parents missed it). My mom and I also stopped to observe what we thought was a penguin, only to find basically a groundhog or a giant rat on the beach. Random South Africa, classic.
We could only spend a little time at Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope, the latter of which is one of my favorite spots in Cape Town, if not my favorite. We saw wild ostriches, and was walking next to our car! They are so beautiful, the way they walk, and so funny when they look at you! I love ostriches so much. Also, I felt like I was witnessing a dinosaur when I looked at its feet walking: you can really tell how dinosaurs are related to birds with the ostrich. It was amazing. My brothers and I collected shells and stones and sea glass. I talked to the guide the whole way back about his life and his brother's life (lives in Australia but native to SA), and how he climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro 26 times. That night we went to Harbor House in the water front, and our eyes were bigger than our stomach. Fresh seafood - lobster, shrimp (prawns, as they call them here), calamari, mussels...so much! Wine.
Chapman's Peak Drive - my favorite road in Cape Town
The next day, Saturday, my parents took their leave. However, not before discovering Old Biscuit Mill, which impressed even the melancholiest of Jack-os. My dad asked why we hadn't come here before, and the answer is, it only is open on Saturday mornings! I got this giant samosa filled with chicken that was amazing, as well as this peanut butter thing that was to die for. My family was majorly impressed, but as my brothers aren't big shoppers, we only stayed for the food, and then made our way to the Two Oceans Aquarium. I was impressed by the giant eel, and as an animal-loving family, we had a good time pointing and observing the animals. We walked through one of my favs on the Water Front: the Water Shed, and heard this amazing band playing, which we listened to for a while. Kevin bought their CD.
^giant samosa filled with chicken
I guess this is what they call clownfish here! I LIKE IT BETTER
I had to say goodbye to my family then, which was very sad. I missed them more than I thought upon seeing them, as people warned me about, and I feel like now I miss them more than before. However, I saw no use in being sad and sitting around, so I went to a rugby match, which was a lot of fun! So much cheering, so much more than any Phillies or Eagles game I had been to! Plus it was interesting to watch, and South Africans don't have such different chants as us, besides the Cape Townian DHF Stormers chant which I nonetheless got stuck in my head. Grace kept singing her North Eastern song, so I also had La Salle's fight song stuck in my head. We ate chocolate then went to bed, and I was happy to not be totally sad that my family was gone. At least South Africa is fun!
By the way, BIG BIG BIG shout out to Cape Town for being so amazing. I feel like my family coming FURTHER (if possible) renewed my love of Cape Town. My family was so impressed, and my dad joked about moving here (joked? IDK!!!) and Jack said to me multiple times "you made the right choice". #PROUD of such a beautiful place, and #HAPPY that people that I love enjoyed it so much! Cannot express my gratitude that they came, I will have to think of something to return the favor....
Climbed Table Mountain on Freedom Day #HappyBirthdayNewSouthAfrica