Thursday, October 8, 2009

South Africa: Octo-beard and Day 1

Before I begin my story of South Africa, I must first welcome you all to October. With October upon us I have decided not to shave for the month and in doing such I am growing an Octo-beard. I’ll be giving updates all month long. (As if I didn’t say enough in my blogs already)

Ok- down to the business at hand:

Amazing, beautiful, wonderful, what else can I say about our arrival to South Africa. If you have been reading along by now you know the drill: wake up early, meet A and E and wait for the sun to rise and our arrival into XYZ port. This time we had a lot of students join us and to be honest I was a little bitter, as if the three of us owned the sun rise experience and the rest of the people joining us are only doing it because they heard how amazing the arrival into Cape Town was. (I’m working with our shipboard psychologist to get over my issues but I am not there yet.)

Anyway, like I said it was beautiful. With a cheer from the students the sun quickly rose and South Africa began its day. We passed Robben Island where Nelson Mandela served his jail sentence; we could see Table Mountain and the soccer stadium, which will hold the World Cup next year. Our arrival into the V&A Waterfront Port was great. No more shuttles or mile walks to the port gates, no more cargo ships next to us. We were literally docked outside a mall and I have the credit card bill to prove it.

The first day I walked the waterfront with A, E, and G checking out the mall, listening to street musicians, buying souvenirs and researching the great South African wine we would enjoy over the next few days and weeks. Now, we have reached the point in the journey where I have begun to miss some things and all week I had been saying how I wanted nachos, so imagine my joy when a group of us went to dinner and they had nachos on the menu! It was a magical experience. The group of us had a great time as usual, loving our first dinner off the ship after a long voyage from Ghana.

After dinner E, G, and I went out to a hookah bar and sure enough our ‘grown ups’ evening was crashed by a group of students as we heard our names screamed from across the bar. Remember the feelings of seeing your third grade teacher outside of school for the first time. It’s like that the first time students see us off the ship in every port. We said ‘Hello’ then tried our best to ignore them and carry on with our conversation and hookah. A while later the students left and we soon did as well, heading for another bar a few blocks away.

The second bar was fun but it didn’t take long to realize that this time, we had come across our students. At that point we threw caution to the wind and knew that we couldn’t win. We danced with them a bit and enjoyed our drinks responsibly while encouraging them to do the same. E, G, and I made our rounds checking out the different levels of the bar and chatted with some locals up on the rooftop patio before I had to surrender for the evening because, you guessed it, I had an early start the next morning.

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