December 27, Day 514
Awake in the morning and MAN did I need that sleep. I feel much more rested.
I look out the window and holy smokes! I have the most beautiful view ever outside of the windows right from my bed. I can see Table Mountain from one window and Lion’s Head from another.
This is fantastic!
Wow, Cape Town is a lot less scary in daylight. I had no idea I was surrounded by all this beauty when I arrived in the middle of the night.
Suddenly my stomach hurts and I make a run for the bathroom and throw up and diarrhea. Hmmm, maybe it’s just a one-time thing?
I feel slightly better and sit down to enjoy the view. I get a text from Goaba.
“Hey girl, is your stomach hurting today?” she asks.
“That’s funny that you ask because I was just sick. Yes! I am not feeling well,” I say.
“I think it’s the ginger drink. The yeast ferments in your stomach and makes you sick. My sister’s stomach was also hurting today so I thought I would ask you,” she says.
Hmmm, maybe it’ll pass.
I get dressed and decide to find a grocery store nearby to buy some food that I can make for breakfast.
Take the stairs this time so I don’t plummet to my death in that scary elevator. When I walk outside I see that my flat is located on the cutest little street! It is lined with restaurants and bars and shops and a diverse crowd walks the street. It feels very safe. Certainly not as scary as it looked last night.
I decide to walk to the left and find a Woolworths Food down the street. In the US, Woolworths was a big department store that went out of business in the early 2000s. In South Africa and Botswana, Woolworths is a shop that sells well made expensive clothing and gourmet food.
I buy the essentials of eggs, avocado, bread and coffee and walk back to my apartment to cook breakfast. I make my usual egg sandwich and coffee and decide to take a shower. It’s chilly again this morning and I am looking forward to taking a hot shower for once.
When I walk into the bathroom I search everywhere for the switch to turn on the geyser but it is nowhere to be found. Where the heck is it?!
I text the guy who owns the Airbnb and ask him where the hot water heater switch is.
“There is no switch, you simply turn on the hot water and it is there,” he says.
Oh! You’re not in Botswana anymore, Abbie!
I haven’t seen hot water come readily available from a tap inside a home since I left the US. Of course all I had to do was turn it on and of course that didn’t occur to me.
Take a hot shower and get dressed. Get sick again, but quickly recover and decide to take it easy and explore today in hopes that I’ll feel better tomorrow. I settle on a plan to drive to the waterfront and explore what’s down there today.
Pack up my things, and get into my car to drive to the waterfront. Mind you, I’m used to driving on the right side of the road with the steering wheel on the left. In South Africa, they drive on the left side of the road with the steering wheel on the right. I’ve driven on the left side of the road before, but it takes some mental adjusting to figure out the spatial awareness of the car.
Just as I pull out of my parking spot, a combi in front of me stops short to let people out and I drive around it.
Oh my gosh, I hit the combi! Just a tiny little scrape of the rearview mirror alongside the combi, but it happened.
I drive ahead to pull over, and the combi driver things I’m trying to drive away and beeps and blinks his lights furiously. I park safely so I don’t block traffic and get out of the car and walk to the combi.
The driver is a Middle Eastern man who is clearly very upset. He rolls down his window as I approach.
“WOMAN, I AM GOING TO BEAT YOU!!” he shouts at me.
“Sir, I’m very sorry for hitting your car! I sincerely apologize, that was very neglectful of me. Let’s look at the damage together,” I say, hoping he doesn’t physically attack me.
For some reason I don’t register what this man’s face looks like. I only remember him wearing flip flops and staring at his toes the entire time and noticing black toenails and thinking he needs a pedicure.
We look at his combi and there is no damage or evidence of it being hit other than a small little scratch of plastic that can be buffed out.
“It seems there is no damage and that can be buffed out,” I say.
“No way, you must go to the shop right now and buy me some polish,” he says.
“Polish. Go buy it, NOW.”
“Where can I buy some polish? I don’t live here,” I say.
“That’s not my problem. Figure it out,” he replies.
“Look, sir, I’m really sorry about what happened. How much does polish cost? How about I give you some rands to purchase some polish,” I propose.
We walk back to my car and I reach into my purse and hand him a 50 rand note. He seems happy and walks away.
Phew! Thankfully, no damage to either car and I wasn’t beaten. I keep driving, being much more diligent of the left side of the car.
It’s Christmas season, so the streets are packed with cars and there’s a long line of cars waiting to get into the waterfront area. I realize that in order to park you must pay a few rand to park in a parking garage.
Find a parking garage and park the car. Walk across the street into a gigantic mall. This may have been exciting back when I had a job that paid a salary, but as a Peace Corps volunteer, I have no money to spend eating in restaurants and shopping in stores. I window shop and take a picture of Seattle Coffee Co. and send it to Colden in Seattle.
Walk along the waterfront and it’s beautiful! However, very crowded and clearly designed for tourists to spend money with nothing but shops and restaurants lined up.
I walk along the shops and enjoy watching the water, which is a rare sight when you live in a landlocked country like Botswana. I find a “Cape Union Mart” and buy another Hydroflask water bottle and sunscreen.
Walk around the waterfront and decide that I want to go to the District Six museum and learn about the history of apartheid in the area. I locate it on the map and begin walking.
Soon, I discover a Canal District with a little canal and rich tourists paddling in the water and laying out like they’re at the beach. I sit down on some steps to catch my breath and take in the view.
A few women working at a nearby shop sit next to me and eat their lunch while watching a little boy who is recklessly skateboarding around the sidewalk and knocking into people.
“I hope he falls off his skateboard and drowns,” I hear one of the women say, and they laugh. I admit, it’s funny because that kid really is annoying, but cruel.
Get up and keep walking, and walking and walking.
I’m walking far and not feeling well. I feel weak and sweaty and hungry. By the time I make it all the way to the museum it might be closed!
I resolve to turn around and go to my car and drive to the museum.
Walk back, find the car and start driving to the museum. I see a sign for it on the side of the street, so I find a parking spot for the car and walk over.
How is this a museum? It looks like a big fort with a moat around it. I follow the sign an walk into the fort. The sign says I’m at a fort and have to pay to enter. What the heck, where is the museum?
I ask the woman at the information desk. I admit I cannot understand what she is saying as my ears are not used to hearing the thick South African accent. She’s speaking English but I don’t know what she’s saying. She’s pointing, and I tell her the sign points here.
Apparently the wind blew the sign in the wrong direction and I have gone the wrong way. A nice man working behind the desk agrees to walk me to the corner and point to the building I need to walk to.
I finally find the museum, and as soon as I enter, my stomach starts hurting very bad. I feel weak, sweaty and like I might throw up.
Pay to enter the museum and immediately run to the bathroom. This is NOT good. I decide to do the museum and then go to bed right away.
Wander through the museum and learn about District Six in Cape Town. District Six is a former residential area in Cape Town where more than 60,000 inhabitants were forcibly removed in the 1960s after the government declared it an all-white area.
Walk through the museum and it’s fantastic. My stomach hurts, I must return back NOW NOW.
Get in the car and drive back to the apartment.
Get in bed by 5 pm. I’m sick and exhausted and can’t move. Crawl under the comforter because I’m shivering. This sucks. I can’t eat, I can’t hold down water.
Around 10 pm I find I can hold down food, so I make a turkey sandwich and then go back to bed.
Spend the rest of the night in bed sleeping.