Monday, July 16, 2012

Weekend Recap

This past weekend was packed full of so many different activities I actually have no idea where to start.  When we left the hospital for the day on Friday we were taken back to our house where we made our way to the gym, if I remember correctly.  The gym membership was definitely worth it and I’m glad I went ahead and bought it for these last few weeks so its both motivation to get back in shape and get my moneys worth.  Perfect combination.

After the gym we took a taxi into the city where we ate at Beluga Restaurant.  My second sushi experience (real sushi not the cooked/ fake meat stuff) was beyond a success.  This restaurant is HIGHLY recommended and rated on so many websites I am glad we found time to check it out.  Between 5 and 7 every Monday-Friday there are half price sushi platters, rolls, dim sum and drinks.  Needless to say , we went to town. Literally.  Jessica and I split the following feast of fresh and amazing sushi/ Dim Sum and Drinks:
            Beef Coriander and Ginger Pot Sticker
            Duck and sweet BBQ sauce steamed buns
            Firecracker Roll
  Green Plate: Tuna and Salmon Sashimi, seared tuna, rainbow roll, salmon roses,   tuna and avocado samurai roll

Plus something cool to wash it all down:
Blood orange coconut mojito
Lime Bubbles (something with tequila)
Tolberone Dessert Martini

To be honest I felt a bit guilty ordering so much but with splitting all of that the bill was around $20 a person—from what everyone else in the group said, it was pretty cheap and really good sushi besides that.  After dinner we walked to a latin restaurant where we relaxed and got shots on fire—they were spicy but tasty.

Saturday morning I woke up bright and early to hit the gym and make our way to the Museum and Old Biscuit Mill.  The museum, District 6, was interesting but it was a very basic museum telling the story of one man’s life in District 6.  It kind of reminded me of something that my Poppi would do with his war stories and pictures from his life.  The guy was really nice and interesting, he even tried to sell us his book—he almost got me but I decided to wait instead.

After the museum we had our very first minibus adventure—with an IES guide.  How ironic since the IES guidebook says that we were to NEVER take a minibus.  It was actually quite funny how many people they shove into these busses but really not that much cheaper than if we were taking a taxi (maybe about 3 ZAR cheaper which barely amounts to anything in US dollars). 

My normal anxiety of food hit me when we got to the Old Biscuit Mill because of the insane number of options that I was presented with.  I decided to make my way to the main food vendor section and assess all the options—tasty waffles, seared tuna sandwich, Italian flatbread pizza, chicken curry, egg sandwiches.  Nope, Ostrich Burger on a brown roll with guac, fried egg, cucumber, sautéed onions, rocket and tomato. YUM!  This burger was (a) ginormous and (b) tasty and delicious.  The shop, Burger Boys, is only open on Saturdays at the market and they do one serious job cooking these bad boys.  Next time I might be adventurous enough to try the Kudu Burger.

After the Biscuit Mill we went to a Rugby game where I donated a fleece to get a Stormer’s Flag.  Why not.  After that we were off to our homestays where I spent the night with Anna, Emily and Mama Noks Family.

Mama Noks is in charge of the homestay program in Gugulethu and gets other Mama’s from church to take in adventurous students such as ourselves.  We spent the night learning a bit about her life, her business, her jewelry business and shared a meal with her and her family.  Pap, Minced meat with potato and onion and veggies (all with our hands).  After dinner we gathered by the TV with some hot tea, the small space heater to heat the living room and some show called Bushmen—kind of reminds me of Swamp People.

Mama Noks has such a interesting life and spending the night with her made me realize that you can be happy with having a lot or a little it is just what you make of it.  She seemed to have a happy life with her son and her boyfriend who she loves very much and she put such an emphasis on God that it really made me think, again, about the power of religion though I am still personally wavering on whether or not I am cut out to believe in something like religion and god.

We spent the night huddled in a queen size bed (all three of us girls) and were woken up in the morning by Mama Noks for some porridge and a trip to church.  The church was a short walk from Mama Noks and seemed to be a relatively new building.  The first thing everyone did when we arrived was tell us to get tea and coffee because it was so cold outside—remember that there is no central heating!  We sat down and froze waiting for the service to begin.  When I would think of a black Christian church I always picture lots of singing and dancing and praise jesus.  Well, it was pretty close to that.  They put the lyrics up on a projector screen and there was one guy with a guitar that led the singing.  It was so overwhelming but in the best possible way.  Church lasted about two hours and then we made our way to Mzoli’s.

Mzoli’s Meats is a famous butchery in Gugulethu that is known for its Braai (BBQ) and afternoon party atmosphere.  When we first got there we ran into a group of students from John Hopkins which I thought was soooooo ironic.  They’re also studying public health.  Mzoli’s doesn’t sell alcohol so you have to go across the street to this walk up bar Chebine place where you pick out your 6 packs and they throw them over ice.  A few hunters and savannah’s later and I was ready for my food.  We inhaled our pork, sausage, chicken and steak and made our way to dance.  By 3pm I was done but it was so worth it.

I tried to rally last night and make it out but I was ridiculously tired despite having slept almost 12 hours for the first time since we got to South Africa.  I’m guessing it was a good thing that I didn’t push too hard because by the time 9pm came around I was sick with some awful stomach bug and ready for bed.

So now were finally up to date.  I am home sick in bed today with some nasty stomach bug that I didn’t want to deal with all day nor did I want to give it to any of the hospice patients. I’m not sure if it was something that I ate yesterday or an actual bug but I figured I would rather be safe than sorry.

It is so hard to believe that I am going home in 2 weeks.  Less than two weeks as of today.  The time here has gone by so fast and I feel like there is still so much that I want to do before I hop the plane back to the U.S.  I have a list of things I want to do and see in the next two weeks including the Garden Route, Shark Cage Diving, Sky Diving and lots of restaurants but I am also starting to get a little homesick and am tired of the rainy and dreary weather. It is possible that I may be rerouting my plane to a 10h layover in London with a few of the girls on the trip but I am not sure yet if that is happening.

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