Similar to most activities in Cape Town, going to see the new James Bond movie was a mission. While there is still room for spontaneity in Capetonian life, most events I have participated in took foresight, a moderate amount of time, and reasonable effort to implement. Skyfall was no different.
To obtain seats together, one must get to the theater early to select reserved seats. While the Victoria and Albert Waterfront theater is the closest, it is also the most expensive. Tickets cost R50 for a regular movie or R60 for a ticket at the independent film theater. This is about a third more expensive than other Cape Town cinemas. However, another Connect intern and I decided to save money by walking to the waterfront rather than taking a R30 cab ride. (I know I must sound stingy and absurd considering price in USD, but it adds up in a year!) Our walk ended up taking an hour, getting us to the theater on time, but not early enough to get seats together (James Bond is a South African favorite apparently).
While the other intern, Ashley and I waited for the movie to start, two friendly Bond fans beside me suggested for the crowd to rearrange for her to sit beside me. Eventually Ashley ended up sitting beside me and we were able to munch on the sandwiches we packed to save more money on dinner.
While writing this blog, about the lack of spontaneity in my life, my friend Hannah called and ironically asked if I wanted to jump in her car in 15 minutes to go to Lagoon Beach. I quickly left the coffee shop I was writing at and got ready just in time to visit one of the loveliest beaches I have visited. Hannah and I also made a sand lady and children rushed up to help us, making afro-spaghetti hair.
Along with Lagoon Beach, I have also been able to visit the Strand, Gordon’s Bay, Cool Bay, Kalk Bay, and Clifton Beach 2 and 4. In the States, I never found much distinction between the beach towns I visited, but perhaps I wasn’t looking. In Cape Town, my curiosity lead me to find different characteristics in each beach.
I visited the Strand beach with my friends Cathy Arendse. The Stand was filled with coloured and black locals eating “ice lollies” and splashing in the shallow waters. Families restlessly moved around the strip of beach in from of high rise condos, looking for the next piece of beach to settle. Cathy and I decided to indulge in ice lollies of our own, forgetting that I did not wear sunscreen. On the way to Cathy’s house she noticed the color of my shoulders and apologized for keeping me out in the sun. She said, “I’m so sorry! I forgot you were white!” I laughed and said that was probably the nicest thing she said to me. Races distinction is such a part of life in South Africa, so it was nice to be thought of without reference to a skin color.
I also visited Gordon’s Bay at the beginning of my trip, but I recently passed by it on my way to hike the Crystal Pools. The other interns and I needed a permit, so our adventure instead took us to Cool Bay. This ended up being the same beach I went to after shark cage diving, only I did not discover the shallow caves at that time. Cliffs and mountains surround the beach, leaving pockets of shadowy breaks in the cliffs to retreat from the strong African sun. This was one of the most beautiful places I have visited thus far, but I, of course, have no photographic documentation.
My recent holiday leave from work has also allowed me time to explore during the week. Due to our time off, a friend from TSiBA was able to join me in an excursion down the Cape Peninsula to Kalk Bay. While exploring the quaint beach town, My friend was able to give me a local perspective about the current political state of the Congo. As a Congolese citizen, he is technically considered a refugee by the South African government, but his rights are hardly met. Refugees have an exceptionally hard time gaining work permits from the government. Even if these are obtained, the xenophobia in the country is pervasive, steadily fueling hatred and poverty. Fortunately and not that surprisingly, he and I were not met with any nasty xenophobic people in Kalk Bay. We walked by the eclectic shops and beach cafes in peace while enjoying the lovely view. On the way back to the city, he pointed out a woman sitting on the train in a dressy, traditional African garment. He said she was Congolese and she must be on her way to see an important person, like a doctor, due to the nature of her outfit.
Clifton is a dramatic change of scene to places like Strand, Muizenberg, or Gordon’s Bay. Beach 2 is almost all white and (not surprisingly) trendy and pretentious. However, my only experience at beach 4 was with TSiBA at our Staff Fun Day. My cheery coworkers were the most enjoyable company while we played games and ate “Kentucky” (KFC) under the shade of umbrellas. While eating, Cindy and I watched workers clean up the seaweed, making the beach spotless. She commented that the act was racist since the “black beaches” were not cleaned like that. I am inclined to believe that the issue is more complex than it seems, however, Cindy’s opinion is very relevant and valid through her experience as a local from the Gugulethu community. Fianlly, her opinion rings true for me in regards to my experiences so far.
 The conversion rate is usually 1 USD to 8 ZAR