This past weekend, the Washington College kids had our first group trip. We drove about 2 1/2 hours north to the Wild Coast to a place called Cintsa. We stayed in a backpackers place right on the beach. We were witness to some awesome scenary as well as gaining first hand knowledge on how crazy South African drivers are. We mostly just chilled at the beach which would be the second weekend in a row we've done that. We didnt get to do any of the activities they offered because a large group of Dutch people (who love gooooold) booked up all the activites.
On Sunday Feb. 15, five of us drove about an hour to the coast to the small seaside holiday village called Kenton-On-Sea. The drive to Kenton was a picturesque one through lots of game reserves and cattle farms. Kenton is one of many beach resorts that dot the coast and make up the Sunshine Coast in South Africa. It still being summer here, the weather was warm but windy. The Indian Ocean was extremely cold. The town was for the most part deserted as the busy holiday season revolves around Christmas and New Year's. Jacques, a Rhodes Graduate who most of us met when he did a semester abroad at Washington College, drove us there and we just hung out on the beach all day. We ate in a beachside bar where the house specialty was pizza. On the drive home we saw some wild antelope and a monkey trying to cross the road. It was a really nice way to spend a sunday afternoon.
Our own beach
View looking North along the coast
The Group (l to r) Jacques, Katie, Me, Josh and Nouria
Since we just got back internet i'll be putting a few posts up to cover the past couple of days. This past weekend was a busy and exciting one. On Saturday morning, the Washington College kids along with other international students from France, Romania and the Netherlands went on a tour of the townships surrounding Grahamstown. As I mentioned previously, the townships were areas that under Aparteid were resereved for non-whites. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Township_(South_Africa) Today they are still almost all non-white and are plagued with extreme poverty and poor living conditions. They are dangerous to visit after dark.
The tour took us into the heart of Grahamstown's townships. We stopped and visited with a woman who was 79 years old, she invited us into her home to show us what township home life was like. Most of the buildings were small, concrete block homes with tin roofs. They all for the most part have running water and electricity provided by the government but not much else. We also went to a community art center that was called the Egazini Community Outreach Project. It was situated in a large warehouse that was used by the South African State Police during aparteid to tourture people from the townships. After that we went to the home of another township resident where we were served a traditional Xhosa (pronounced Ko-sah) lunch consisting of Mutton, beans, spinach and maze and root tea. Attached are some pictures.
Orientation Week was last week and it was pretty hectic. Every morning we were woken up at 5:30am and told to wear a blazer, tie and boxers and head down to the common room. Each morning we had to serenade other girls residences on campus with a song chosen by our Sub-Wardens (aka RA's in the States). It was fun but got old by the end of the week. Im pretty sure that back home it would be called Hazing ha. My residence, Botha House, went on a pub crawl on Tuesday night. We hit up about 5 or 6 pubs, each with a different flavor. They range from the chill, "bohemian" vibe to a night club like atmopshere. Wednesday began the process of registering for classes. Here you do it the old-fashioned way by visiting each individual department and getting the necessary signatures and approval from professors. Attached are some pictures from downtown Grahamstown and campus and a sweet Landy.
A sweet Land Rover Defender on campus
Looking down High Street towards the Anglican Cathedral
The internet in my dorm has been down for the past 4 or 5 days and I have not been able to post anything up here. Once we get internet back fully I will post more about Orientation Week, this past weekend along with some pictures. O-Week ended Friday night with a street party with a band and then some crazy DJ's. House Music is HUGE here and its all they played at the party. Saturday morning we went on a tour of some of Grahamstown's Townships which are the settlements built by the government under Aparteid for people other than the whites. They are extremely poor areas. Saturday evening we went out to dinner with some of our professors as well as people from the International Office. Today a few of the kids I came to South Africa with went to a place called Kenton-On-Sea, a small seaside holiday resort about an hour from here situated on the Indian Ocean. Tomorrow starts the first day of classes. Bye for now.
Finally arrived in Grahamstown yesterday in the afternoon. It was a short hour and a half drive from Port Elizabeth. Along the way we passed through some game-reserves. Grahamstown is a really nice little town that was settled sometime in the 19th century. Alot of the buildings are old and victorian looking. Its been very hot here lately with temperatures hovering close to the 90 degrees fahrenheit mark. The five other Washington College students and I went out for a bit last night for my 21st birthday at one of the local student pubs..."The Rat and Parrot". We were drinking a Namibian beer called Windhoek Lager (pronounced Vind-Hook). Orientation Week officially starts tomorrow with introductory lectures and a welcome from the schools Vice-Chancellor. Below are pictures of one of the dorms on campus and scenary from one of the game parks we drove through on the way to town.
After almost 24 hours of traveling we arrived in Port Elizabeth late last night. We checked into our hotel and got some sleep. This morning we went to the beach and we are now waiting to be picked up by someone from Rhodes. My skin is starting to burn already HA!The pic is Johannesburg from the airplane.
Today is Monday, Feb. 2nd. Did alot of packing and running around trying to get stuff I still need. Just created this blog and hope to update it as much as I can. I'm going to try and post a picture of the type of aircraft were flying to South Africa.