Hello from Cape Town!
I have been living in Cape Town, South Africa for almost two months now and I still cannot believe it. The experiences I have been having are incredible on a day-to-day basis and the people that I have met make everyday amazing. This past weekend was Easter so we got a group together and did part of the garden route, visited around 10 beaches, and sandboarded.
The people here are actually very fashion forward and I see a lot of skinny jeans and popular brands like Uzzi, H&M, Adidas, and so on. Cape Town is a very commercialized area full of shopping and markets. The restaurants go along with the fashion, very similar to American restaurants. They have everything you would want; pizza, burgers, appetizers, draft beer, along with globalized meals like curry, samosas, and odd meats like ostrich and springbok. The waiters can be hit or miss but we have been pretty lucky with most of our waiters. They do not bring the check unless you ask for it and we always tip.
I have learned plenty of slang whether it is South African slang or slang I have heard from my international friends. The most common slang term is “Howzit” which basically means how’s it going or what’s up. Another one that cracks me up is when you tell someone something like “I am from the States” a typical response will be “is it?!” which is like saying “really”. A few other terms that you might hear in Cape Town are lekker (cool), dankie (thank you in Afrikaans), and keen (“I’m keen” = “I want to”). I tend to use howzit the most and at first I felt a bit weird saying it but now it’s just so common to say to uber drivers and people around the city.
The weekdays can be pretty hectic with classes but most of my friends get done with classes around 1 pm so we have the rest of the day to either work or do something. There are been plenty of sunset missions and hikes but there is always something going on around the city. The weekends are when we like to travel or do things that take a bit more time. We have taken trips to Karoo, Mossel Bay, Bloubergstrand, and many more to come. There is a good amount of down time if you are efficient and the nightlife is great here. I am a really big fan of the V&A Waterfront because of the atmosphere, market, along with the stunning views.
The thing about Cape Town is that you really must travel and walk with, at the very least, one other person as the crime rates are ridiculous here and many international students can be targeted as the locals know they have money. I have experienced a few areas that are more dodgy than others but if you are with others and act tough you will be fine. If you are walking in the city bowl (the downtown area of the Cape Town) be wary about your surroundings and what you are carrying as people will try to pickpocket you or go through your backpack. The poverty rate in Cape Town is what makes these problems so prevalent as some people have to beg and rob in order to feed their families but others just do it to make money. You just have to be about your wits at all times especially when walking but I try to not worry too much about this. Cape Town is a beautiful place and if you are worrying you will not feeling the magic that this place has to offer.