After 3 separate security briefs by 3 different parties – caution to carrying phone, jewelry, going outside too early or too late or any time at all, finally slipped out past the front gate solo thanks to Uber.
Despite excitement to visit the District 6 Museum on historical removal of populations during apartheid, find legacy somewhat ambiguous and not the grand fight of good winning against evil as naively expected. Perhaps because takes a lot of good, to undo painful scars. And though efforts have been heroic, progress slow and fraught with lots of emotional dialogue, little execution. Am aware this is a singular outsider viewpoint. Highly avid ex-resident tour guide, Abu, differs greatly I’m sure due to his personal proximity. Am humbled to learn history from one who lived it.
Eventually walked out of tourist enclave to see Cape Town Saturday life brewing and busy. Love, love the Central Library, bustling with salarymen reviewing contracts, schoolgirls doing homework, teens in various gaggles of giggling flirtation and headphone sharing… Glad to see youth around the world up to the usual antics, is heartwarmingly familiar. The library’s collection is amazing, in addition to shelves deep in everything from African Lit, to science fiction enough to make the geek in you drool, and substantial jazz media, was most surprised to find a well-done graphic novel edition of a favorite poem of mine, Allen Ginsberg’s Howl.
Made a little new friend who after a lot of shy gesturing, let me try his rickety skateboard! Despite 5 star hipster cafés galore in this trendy, design-forward city, found tastiness in Greenmarket Square. For just 35 Rand, $3.50 USD, meal came complete with secret recipe stew, pab and veggie accoutrements. Tour of kitchen and serendipitous interview with lady owner who showed me her X’osa community restaurant concept expansion plans. I’ll write more on her later, it seems this delectable joint started with a dream from God.
Wandered Grand Central, found awesome heels in towering heights hawked by a Muslim lady in a demure headscarf. Admired the feisty girls inspecting her new wares, I imagined what parties those ruby red spiked slippers will take them. The Cape Town railway station across the street, sleek and shiny with commuters, could have been easily interchangeable with transport hubs in Shanghai, Amsterdam, though a bit shinier thanPenn station.
Walked a mile past financial district to V & A Waterfront, where crowds gradually shift color and dress, and find myself surrounded by crisp polo shirt, pressed khaki shorts w boat shoes crowd. Malls around the world the same, besides passing glance at kid w longboard, sipped on 35 rand mango power smoothie while reading No Hipster chalkboard.
Find weekend exercise fulfilled, all that is new now seen twice. Escape back to magical Uber coach, appearing instantly to whisk me home, sweet home, Beulah Lodge.
Greeted enthusiastically with, “You’re alive!”
Yes, am alive, feel more alive and better in touch with reality now.
If there is any conclusion drawn during short time in beautiful Cape Town who daily overcomes divisionist past, it’s that one must connect to Life, people proactively. Even if it means risking climbing walls and slipping past safe gates of known and familiar.
Today, despite language, age and background barriers, found “Hey, can I try your skateboard?” is a universal salutation of friendship.