Cape Town, Day 1: of accents and Madiba

by You Have My Word

I love Cape Town. I love the Cape-colored accent. I love too, that in this gorgeous country, that statement is not racist.

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I touched down at Cape Town international airport just after three pm today greeted by a gust of wind. I needed to make my way to the Waterfront so I dashed to get myself sorted with a nifty little MyCiti bus card. Being a travel noob (and don’t even get me started on my sense of direction… Well, it’s not really any sense at all) I stop to ask a million people a million things, finally spotting the bus terminal which is right in front of the entrance (dork!) I squeal up to the counter, they wave to stop the bus pulling off and I make it on just in time.

On my brief journey I managed to ask all of five people what station they were going to and if I was on the right bus and are they sure. All of that being completely unnecessary when a kind elderly gentleman told me there were maps on the ceilings. I felt five years old and blind.

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Some of the first things I did when I arrived at the Waterfront:
• smelled fish (not because I went and found a fish to smell either…)
• got lost
• ate delicious ice cream – a mixture of Nutella, and Cookies & Cream
• paid tribute to Madiba

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I’m not sure if it was the city’s overall mourning or my feelings of being overwhelmed that I was in Cape Town that had me suddenly very emotional. (It being a public place we all know that displays of any out-of-the-ordinary emotion is not acceptable, ie, sadness, happiness, more than a normal barely-human amount.) I stood in a place where thousands of feet would pass through to give Madiba time out of their day.

Young South Africans, a mother with her two children, me.

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As I wrote the few words I could squeeze out of the pen, without squeezing too much out of my eyes, my ears were met with the gentle humming of two violins just outside the tent stringing the melody of “Oh Come Let Us Adore Him” and I was sure in that moment they played for Mandela. A father, a leader, a fighter that poured into the lives of others, and will continue to pour into the lives of others, far more than his years alive. The wealth of wisdom and grace and strength cannot be measured in one lifetime.

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I have had a moment now to sit and reflect even on this sneeze-of-a-time here and my feet and heart are itching to scratch deeper than surface into what this city holds. For starters, a picnic on the beach tonight, and I’m sure a myriad of things I can’t even imagine.

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