What do you think of when you hear these words? Most people will say lions, elephants, zebras. When people hear South Africa, they think apartheid and Nelson Mandela. For me, this is also true. However, there is so much rich history on this continent, that I cannot wait to dive into it.
We arrived in Cape town yesterday afternoon after a 30 hour flight marathon. We flew with Qatar Airways so had a 3 hour layover in Doha, Qatar. Yup, I had never heard of it either until I booked the flights. Part of the Middle East just north of United Emirates. I only mention this flight and airline because the service was absolutely top notch. We ate constantly, you could drink constantly (if you so desired), all included in the price of the ticket. A little different than Jetstar where we did not even get a free glass of water on our 10 hour flight from Hawaii to Australia. (Thank goodness we still had our water bottles!) Qatar Airways also provided pillows, blankets, socks, toothbrush and toothpaste, lip balm, earplugs and eye mask. We’ll try and book with them again if we can.
But, I digress. From the airport, we took an Uber to our Bnb. As we drove along the freeway, our driver pointed out the townships on our left and right. Township in South Africa is a polite way of saying “slum”. There were miles and miles of tin shacks – more than we had ever seen in the Dominican Republic. These townships were set up during the apartheid era to separate blacks from whites. Once apartheid was abolished, these communities still existed and those of poor economic status could not afford to leave. From what I read, government has been ineffective in raising these people out of their poverty stricken lives. Lack of good water, sewage systems, continuous electricity and education in these areas are contributing to disease, gangs, and exploitation. I don’t think that we can even begin to understand these problems or come up with a way of solving them. I only wish I could.
We will be spending the next couple of days doing a few jetlag friendly activities until we are able to get caught up on our sleep. From there we will go up Table Mountain, take a tour of the cape, see Robben Island and just feel the vibe that is Cape town. Maybe we’ll even be able to start to solve the world’s problems!
Until then my sleep deprived brain must try and rest. Let’s see how that goes!