Weekend Adventures Part 1: Climbing mountains is hard.

Hello everyone,

Now for a non-medically oriented post. For my first weekend in Cape Town, I wanted to go out and sight see a little bit. No big deal, right? One word: TRANSPORTATION. Everyone here travels by car, much like the States. However, renting a car or hiring a taxi are both expensive methods for traveling when you’re a poor, indebted medical student. I have a ride to and from the hospital each day, but not for errands or sightseeing. I’d stayed home all week after my rotation and was really itching to get out of the house, so I bit the bullet and rented a car for the weekend. I’ll just say this about driving in Cape Town: driving on the left is weird, traffic is crazy, horns are blaring, pedestrians are everywhere, and the streets are narrow. Someone will be paying a fee for scraping the rental car tire on a curb… oops. Saturday morning took me into the city. I toured the Castle of Good Hope, the first structure of Cape Town and oldest building in the country, built by the Dutch. If you’ve seen one fort, you’ve seen them all. As I walked through the rest of the city I started to forget I was in Africa. I could easily have been somewhere in southern California. Shops, restaurants, churches, parks, gardens. I sat for a while in the Company Gardens outside the government buildings and listened to a free jazz concert. I had ice cream. I randomly became friends with a student from Jo’burg studying bioinformatics. All in all, solid afternoon of city walking. Saturday evening took me and my German medical student friend Amja to a fundraiser hosted by the University of Cape Town students at a local bar.

Sunday a group of us braved the climb to the top of Table Mountain on the Platteklip Gorge trail, a 600 meter elevation climb. We made it in about 2 hours. I thought I was going to die. It’s a trail almost straight up with lots of rocks to climb. The view from the top was beautiful, though! As we were walking on the top of the mountain, the clouds started rolling in bringing a cold mist with them. It was amazing to see this bank of clouds approach and envelop you. We cheated and took the cable car down. After something so strenuous, some beach time was in order. The beaches here are beautiful, but holy cow, the water is cold! I am sufficiently tired and sunburnt today.

Sorry I can’t post photos, I don’t really have a way to upload them from my camera here.

Til next time,

Ray

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