It's been quite a while since I've put up any posts, and my excuse is that it's been pretty crazytown here for the past month or so. I'm gonna try and give a broad outline of the things that have been going on to keep me so busy, but I get bored easily, so it might get abbreviated.
A friend of mine (Janius Tsang) from McGill came to Cape Town about a month ago for a conference in anesthesiology (sp? never mind, spell checkers rock). I only got to hang out with her once, but it was really nice to catch up, as I hadn't seen her in probably at least five years. We went down to Camps Bay and had sundowners (cocktails as you watch the sun go down over the ocean - not bad). Funny how people you haven't seen in years can still be your friends. Well, I guess it's not that funny, just pretty cool.
Then Kristen came to visit for a week and a half in mid-March. That was just fantastic. We had a really nice time exploring and relaxing and everything. The time obviously seemed to go by way too quickly, but it just made me more anxious for her to move here in the winter... I mean summer... errrr... late July. Anyway, for those of you who don't know yet, she's moving here around then, hopefully on a volunteer visa. As she has been working virtually non-stop for the past 7 years, sometimes two jobs, she is definitely getting a little tired of doing what she's doing (online advertising management). So she's saving up money, ditching the ol' rat race, and moving to Cape Town to do some volunteer teaching in the townships (Khayalitcha) and spend time writing. And good for her! But damn, I probably should have taken more advantage of
her big bucks job while I could...
Very soon after she left events occurred that were of a much less pleasant nature. Sheina Weltman, the mother of a very close friend of mine in Cape Town, Amanda (my boss Jeff's fiancee), had a sudden and completely unexpected heart attack. After five days of stabilization in the hospital, she passed away with her family at her side. They have all been extremely sweet and kind to me since I've come to SA, and I've felt just terrible for them for the past few weeks. They sat shiva for her for a week, and I tried to come to the mourning prayers most nights, to show my support for them and to do whatever I could. Obviously there isn't much that anyone can do in such a situation, but at least I was able to take Jeff's classes for the week so he could take care of her. They are all still suffering, and I just wish I could do more to help/distract/comfort/whatever them.
During that time, ANOTHER friend of mine from university, Lisa, came to visit. She has been traveling the world (well, Southeast Asia) for the past 2-3 months with her friend, Muffy, and finally split up with her to come to SA. She met her mom in Jo-burg and then went to KZN (KwaZulu-Natal, a province of SA where the city of Durban is) to do some volunteer dentistry. Even though neither she nor her mom are dentists. Whatever. But they did that in some rural town for a week, which sounded pretty interesting. Then they both flew down to Cape Town, and met up with me for some wild times. We first went to the Cape Wine Country over last weekend - to Franschoek. It was really cool (and by cool I mean totally sweet). We drove out there in the Midge, went to three different wine farms (each of which were delicious and fun, with mostly wacky owners, especially Hildegard), ate dinner at a really phenomenal restaurant (le Bon Vivant) where we got a five-course meal with matching wines for a pretty unreasonably cheap price (especially for pretty much the most ritsy/touristy area of Cape Town), and ended up randomly staying at this great B&B/villa overlooking the mountains. Fantastic.
After that, Lisa and her mom continued to potter around Cape Town together for a few days before Linda (Lisa's mom) headed back to Alberta, at which point Lisa came to crash on the kick-ass leopard-print couch of my apartment. We did a bunch of cool shit over the next few evenings and then went to the town of Langebaan, about 150 km north of Cape Town. There they have a cool lagoon with crazy wind and a crazy restaurant that serves ten courses of fish on the beach, listening to a (hammered) guitarist sing songs and harass the clientèle. Such harassed people included me and Lisa, which was particularly funny as he
a) insisted on speaking Afrikaans to me, even after I told him I speak none
b) singing intently at our table while staring intensely into my eyes
c) convincing a larger and larger cross-section of the clientèle that we were Afrikaans, until seemingly no one believed us (including the owner, who had previously been speaking to us in English)
d) finally settled on hitting on the quintuple of 20-something blond Dutch chicks, whom he regaled with a stunning rendition of "Barbie Girl."
Fun was had by all.