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South Africa: Where I Could Live

BEFORE we left for Africa, we were bombarded with crime alerts from concerned friends and family. In fact, safety was the only thing that got mentioned when we announced our dream holiday plans to them. By the time we left, we were quite bothered by all those alerts. And then, we landed in Johannesburg. 

We took a cab and went out that very night when I realised what I was doing: I was looking at every person on the street and judging them indiscriminately. And I was very ashamed of myself for that. That night, I changed my tarnished mindset about the whole safety issue. Would I go out alone on foot or even in a car to some places in my own country? No! Why, I don't even have the peace of mind to walk in some areas during the day in Bangsar (Kuala Lumpur)! Crime risks are anywhere and everywhere, we just have to be street smart. I could have been pick-pocketed in Paris or robbed at gunpoint in New York too. When I was able to release that mindset, I saw the people in a new, different perspective. 

The second part of our South African holiday was in Cape Town. I'm going to repeat what millions before me have said about this place: A paradise. I'd say it's the real God's own country. It's just that beautiful, and I thought to myself, hey, I could live here! Livable because the food's good and relatively cheap, the natural environment is well taken care of, I could totally go barefooted outdoors and no one's going to look at me weirdly, there are mountains and a beautiful coastline to keep me happy. 

The main attraction here is the Table Mountain. The name is self-explanatory because the rocky mountain top is flat like a table. It's listed as one of the new seven wonders of the world and is a major something that adds to the beauty of this city. We went up the mountain via a cable car. It was a three-minute ride up but alternately one can also choose to hike up for 2.5 to 3 hours. I'd have preferred to hike up if we had the luxury of time. The view from atop 1085m was magnificent on a clear day like that. The city of tiny boxes, the pristine coastline, the blurred line between the blue sea and sky, the merging of two great oceans: atlantic and indian oceans, rocks and greens. My eyes couldn't have feasted enough when we saw a couple abseiling down the mountain. Of course, we had to do it too, at least for a new Facebook cover photo!

Table Mountain 

Picture doesn't do justice 

Where two great oceans meet: Atlantic and Indian oceans 

Tourists soaking in the view and atmosphere from atop 

We signed our lives away. It seemed easier this time after the skydiving papers. Fear was matched with the loony drive for adrenalin. All hooked up, with some juvenile fans cheering us on, we went down to the abseil point, posed for the camera confidently like we did this on a daily basis and began our way down, dangling our lives on a piece of rope we've never held before. It wasn't too bad, I thought, until it came to a point where the mountain had no place for a foothold. Yes! It sort of caved in like a mammoth C and I was left dangling in midair in every sense of the word! Sea, sky and rocks versus a tiny me. Amongst the elements, I was a speck of nothingness but it was something: a beautiful and humbling experience. The abseil was all for 112m and we hiked up to the top, soaking in the view and occasionally meeting the resident lizards and mountain dassies.  

All geared up

A pose before the deal 

On the ground, the city was a hype of activity along the coastline. We did the hop-off-hop-on bus tour and fed on interesting information along the way like why the water was chilly during summer and warm in winter, the creatures that lived in them, some history etc till we hopped off for some food, sight-seeing and people-watching. A bit over-rated perhaps, but I did my hair at the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront. I'm now spotting cornrows. 

Hout Bay

View from those homes must be dear 

Love the colours 

Nice, white sand.. 

While at it, we also tried several meats. I had grilled zebra and offered some to a German couple beside us. The hub went on a spree of crocodile, kudu, warthog and mapone (caterpillars). He liked kudu the best, comparing it to lamb. Zebra was like a cross between mutton and beef. The vendor gave me a mapone to try but I couldn't bring myself to chew on a big, fat worm! 

It seemed to me like the city was late to rise and early to bed. The shops and markets opened up much later than the given time. Vendors began shutting down an hour before the actual closing time. It was a hurry when it came to grabbing souvenirs. The local products are lovely. Bead that and bead this, and being a bead junkie, I was spoilt for choice. Just too many things to choose from. At the end of the day, I bought a few nice accessories and bagged many ideas for my own beading projects. Yesterday, I made a little dragonfly pendant using pearls and wire. 

My new hair. I will keep it for a few days before I let them free.

Dragonfly pendant from pearls and wire

Something for myself: A pair of earrings by a local designer using tiny seed beads.

Africa is just so that beautiful and blessed. I don't know if the people of Africa know it well enough. A few I met said to me that they'd like to leave the country and see other places. 

"Travel when you have the chance. You can go anywhere in the world. You'll come back and still think, all of this is far more beautiful," I told a local girl who seemed a little jaded with her life.

"Take care of your Africa for me. I will be back," I told every person I bid goodbye to when I exited the country. 

I am not done with Africa just yet. 



  1. Wow, the views there are amazing. And yeah very true, crime can happen anywhere. Some places have a higher risk than others though.

    1. that's true, Pat. we just have to be careful and avoid certain areas at certain times and so on. it's hard to enjoy a place when we a preconceived notions like that especially about people in general.

  2. I'm so glad you have fallen in love with the Mother Continent, Jaya! You look about 16 years old with your new hair. You should have tried the crocodile - very few humans have tasted the flesh of a reptile!

    1. i so have, GB! and thank you. i had the full head done but after a few days, i let the back free. now i only have the front which is good enough. really ? the hub wasn't very taken with the croc meat. he felt that it was pretty tough. my mom told me that in the old days, it's common to eat crocs for a certain kind cough ailment.

  3. It is indeed beautiful. I am always struck by how a particular place will resonate for a person and there is no predicting which place it will be for any given person. Guess you found yours!

    Love the cornrows!

    1. i really do think that i have found that place :) it's my happy place.
      thank you. they are all gone now except for the ones the right side.

  4. GB is right. Plus your face is so symmetrical, I'd have to take a course in Photoshop to get my face to start looking like that!

    Great views plus you are brave.

  5. Good grief Jaya you are absolutely stunning! And very brave. That coastline looks like paradise.


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