Recently, I have been restless. Living in Cape Town city center without a car confines me to commuting on public transportation and mooching off of friends with cars. Obviously both are quite limiting and leave little in my control. Living here without a car removes the independence and privilege I have taken for granted growing up in the States. My discontent was a strong motivation for me to take some opportunities spending time outside of the city.
The end of summer brings about an urgency to appreciate nature and venture to other recommended outdoor locations and activities. Lately, I have been able to explore Fish Hoek, Kalk Bay, Table Mountain, Kirstenbosch botanical gardens, Sea Point, and Crystal Pools. Apart from these adventures, I have also been able to attend a Disabilities Expo created by my friend Cathy Arendse.
I planned a mini road trip to Noordhoek Beach, which of course did not happen. Instead, a day later a group of my friends and I ended up on the beach in Fish Hoek. While I still have not made it to Noordhoek, I had a lovely day in a new area with delightful company. After enjoying the sun, we had fish ‘n chips in Kalk Bay before I met up with some family friends visiting Cape Town. I also got the chance to indulge in Kalk Bay’s delicious cuisine when my friend Nicole’s family friend, Tiffany was in town. We ate at an eclectic restaurant called Brass Bell for dinner and relaxed while watching the waves crash against the shore.
My friend, Will, designed my next extravagant plan which involved taking the cable car up Table Mountain, hiking across the mountain, and down through the Nursery Ravine trail to Kirstenbosch to work merchandise with GreenPop at the Jeremy Loops concert. This plan actually happened, much to my surprise, and it was one of my favorite days here so far. The hike was beautiful and I spotted some of my favorite African animals—dassies! The hike took about four hours; slightly shorter than estimated. Will and I were motivated to make it to the concert in plenty of time to hear Jeremy’s upbeat tunes and mad harmonica skills. We got into the gardens and concert free because we walked to Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens through Table Mountain, and we got into the concert free since my friend Will works at GreenPop. Previously, my friends Lauren and Hannah also interned at GreenPop, introducing me to the wonders of “green living” in Cape Town. While I knew GreenPop was a great organization, I had never heard the CEO, Jeremy Loops’ music, and was blown away by his wonderful performance at the concert.
March seems to be the month for concerts. I also went to a tiny venue in a lounge of a house in Sea Point called Studio 7. It was there that I hear some of the best blues music I have ever come across. Dan Patlansky brought the house down. He was so talented that we later bought tickets in Kirstenbosch to another performance on his tour. We didn’t quite make it to actually hear him play, as most plans go here, but we did make it in time to hear a band that is basically the South African version of Creed. Hilarious. Furthermore, it was a beautiful venue and a lovely way to spend the public holiday, Human Rights Day. The day started through a bold move to rent an automatic car and drive to hike Crystal Pools. While I haven’t driven in six months, I decided that I would probably be to my advantage to forget driving on the right hand side during my left hand side adventure. It was surprisingly much easier than I anticipated. I drove 157km, parallel parked, parked in a tight space, drove into a small garage, filled up the tank of gas, crossed traffic, and drove on the highway without any misfortune finding me or my road trip pals. It gives me hope for more such trips and potentially renting a car for a longer period of time.
Finally, the last significant event I have attended lately was a Disabilities Expo held at CPUT Bellville campus and hosted by an organization called Nicky’s Drive. The purpose of the event was to inform the public about barriers created through physical disabilities and discuss potential solutions. My friend Cathy Arendse was the main organizer of the event, which showcased the founder of Nicky’s Drive, Nicky Abdino. Nicky is a clinical psychologist who was born without arms and with shortened legs. She drives herself anywhere she wants to go. Through fundraising and progress in technology, engineers were able to build a shoulder steering mechanism for Nicky to have independence in mobility. In addition, I was able to met Cathy’s former Fulbright mentors from Vanderbilt who also spoke at the event. The event was so uplifting, insightful, and influential; it made me far more grateful to be able to travel independently with or without a car.