An adventure weekend.
This weekend was quite eventful, packed with a series of events only doable in Cape Town.
After the first week of classes I can safely say I am extremely happy with my professors and the topics I’m studying. For the first time in my schooling I am excited to go home and do my reading, because I know it will be extremely interesting. Even more so, my Ethics class is one that continually keeps me thinking. My professor is so intriguing that his points in class easily apply to my daily life. Even the readings, which are surprisingly short and interesting, can fit into my routine. Ethics is just a fascinating topic, and I hope to continue reading and studying it.
My photography class is also applicable, considering I took over 700 pictures this weekend alone. After studying so many different pictures in just one week, I can use what I’ve learned to improve my own photography.
On Saturday the entire CIEE program went wine-tasting about an hour outside of Cape Town. Now, there were a few mixed reactions to the event. I was looking forward to finally understanding the process of wine, learning what I liked and didn’t like, etc. Others in the program were looking forward to getting drunk and not having to pay for it.
We got a personalized tour through the vineyards and winery from the daughter of the owner. She gave us an outline of the how the grapes are planted, harvested, and fermented to create different types of wine. The scenery around the vineyards was breathtaking, with vines as far as the eye could see, with a horizon of the Cape Mountains. Even with my wonderful camera, it was too massive and incredible to capture.
The vineyard that we went to, Nelsons Creek, was unique in its operations. It was explained that the original owner would sell different pieces of land to his black workers, and allow them to determine where the wine they harvested was sold. This land was the first to be own by blacks in the area, and although the profits were not as grand as they could be (the blacks lacked marketing or business education) the wine itself was abnormally incredible because the blacks were experts in the land, harvestation, and the process in general. This is the reason Nelson allowed for them to each individually run their part. The result was unique and remarkable wine.
There were a couple of dogs at the winery that continually begged for food during our lunch. It made me miss Juno. Overall, however, it was a great experience.
Yesterday, Sunday, a smaller group of 8 of us went sand boarding down dunes about an hour away from Cape Town.
Now my initial impression of sand boarding was that it was going to be extremely similar to wake boarding, or snow boarding. I am terrible at both of those things. And, of course, I was pretty bad at sand boarding. That doesn’t mean, however, that I didn’t have any fun.
As we arrive at the dunes after being picked up by the tourist organization, the scenery was pretty bleak. It didn’t seem like we’d be boarding on any major dunes that you picture in “typical” Africa. We had seen a little bit of sand in the distance as we drove in, but only about 10 feet of it. I think we all were slightly disappointed.
When we finally parked and were issued our board and helmets, there was barely any sand in sight; Just a simple path that twisted off from the dirt parking lot. We started walking.
We reached the top of small hill nearby and were struck by mountains of sand. It was pure white and stretched completely into the horizon. There were sand buggies and four-wheelers flying by, clearly having a blast cruising over and around the massive dunes. Seeing the drivers reminded me of two things: 1) my brother who would love to drive fast in a rally car around the dunes, and 2) the cab drivers in San Francisco who don’t even break when they go over the tops of the hills in that city. As a passenger you literally are lifted off your seat as you sail over the top and head downward.
The group set up “camp” by a nearby bush, and began our basic training. Our two guides were young and looked extremely sporty. They fit right into the scenery, with their outdoorsy outfits and dreadlocks.
Our safety talk went something like this:
“Ok so safety is extremely important out here. Make sure to keep your helmet on. Don’t get hit by anything. OK, that’s about it for the safety talk. Lets go!”
I ended up doing more photography than I did boarding. The most exhausting part was having to walk back up the dunes after boarding down. They weren’t that tall, however you were walking through feet of sand. Each foot would sink in as the other tried to keep climbing up. Meanwhile you are sweating with jeans on and dragging a wooden board behind you. Needless to say, my thighs and butt were a little sore when I woke up this morning.
Overall it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I think I’ll do again. So maybe it’ll become a twice-in-a-lifetime experience for me.
Today I had a typical day of class and homework. However, it is now only 8:30pm, and I’ve finished my work for the entire week. I think I’ll watch a movie.
Keywords: South Africa
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