Our first experience in South Africa was major jet lag! We all had long flights and had been traveling through many different countries. It was nice to finally set foot in the country where we were all so excited to spend the next 3 weeks.
We started our time together in South Africa with a welcome braai. For all those back home this is similar to a BBQ. We all very much enjoyed this meal, especially because it was our first meal that wasn't plane food. The meal consisted of Chicken kabobs, pasta salad, greek salad, lamb, samosas, and much more! This was the first time that all of us were able to sit down and tell stories of our flights and of our first experiences thus far. It was a great first welcome into a new country.
After the braai we had an in depth orientation of how we will be living our life for the next 3 weeks. We learned all the ins and outs of South Africa. Following this we went on a brief tour of the University of Cape Town. We all were able to take many pictures and start experiencing this new country.
We then had our first trip to the grocery store. This was quite a culture shock. It was our first time using Rands (the type of currency used in South Africa). Entering into the Pick and Pay everyone became quite overwhelmed due to the fact that nothing looking familiar. We all had to work together and figure out what types of food to buy and how much it would cost. Although it was overwhelming, it was a great first experience together.
On Thursdays December 30th, some of us took a walk around the area where we are living. We were all intrigued by the culture and the scenery that surrounded the area. While walking, we were honked at numerous times by van drivers; which is a norm in South Africa. There is a specified person in the van called a cabi. The cabi's role is to lure potential customers in order to get them to ride in the van.
Later, we all got on a train to go to the beach. At the train station, there was a security person who blew a whistle to let the train driver know when to go. While on the train, we were all fascinated by some guys who randomly started playing some jazz music. When we arrived at the beach, we all split up to explore the surroundings along the Indian Ocean. We all went to different restaurants to eat and walked around the shore. To end the day, we all took the train back to our housing.