Stockholm- A Culture Capital

Stockholm- A Culture Capital
“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” – St. Augustine

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Buon Giorno ay Buon Natale!

I have left the beautiful warmth of Africa and have entered into the historical and culturally rich city of Rome. After a fiasco at the airport with flight delays, half my family missing their connection flight and everyone but lucky old me having to wait several days to track down their bags I made it into Rome safe and sound. We have spent the last few days taking in the sites of Rome like the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, the Trevvi Fountain and so on, eating at numerous Italian restaurants and having more bread, pizza, and pasta than I usually have in a month and browsing the millions of side and backstreets full of shops along their cobblestone paving. We spent Christmas Eve shopping and enjoying a Christmas market at the Piazza Navona and then spent hours in line to get entry with our tickets to the midnight mass at St.Peters Basilica in the Vatican to see the Pope get attacked, fall down, and then deliver a service. The church was more than impressive, as are all of the enormous building hewn from stone.

Christmas day I read an entire book and we spent a fair amount of time relaxing before going out for dinner and drinks before touring some sites around our hotel. We have done a lot of walking around Rome and will be leaving for Florence in the morning for more history and great food.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Cheers Africa!

I write this in my empty apartment waiting for the laundry to finish so I can pack the last of my things. This is my last morning in Africa and I am sad to leave this wonderful and diverse place. My last few days were spent all over the map. I had my very last day of CELTA on friday and I got all my reports and said fair well to the school. Then after boutique shopping and lunch with classmates I dressed up and went to the South African production of CATS, which was excellent and my first cats experience. After that we went out on the town and stayed up until sunrise which we watched over the ocean at mouille point.

Then next day we spent laying on the beach and taking the taxis all around to shop in the malls and shopping in a giant Christmas market on one of the main roads. Still sleep deprived at this point I went sand boarding sunday morning for a 7 hour experience in the dessert. It was fantastic! These dunes were between 15 and 20 some meters high and you climb up the shifting dunes of white sand, wax your board and strap in bare foot to fly down the hills in the dessert. The sun and the heat was incredible but it wiped nearly all the energy out of me. Then I had a farewell braai on the beach with the lovely locals I had met while I was here and then passed out by midnight. I am not happy to leave Africa and dreading the cold weather. I had a final brunch of colada french toast dipped in coconut milk and rum with bananas and now I am counting down my last hours.

However I am on my way to Italy to see my family for the holidays and I am extremely excited to see them again and to be with my brother for his first time in Europe.


Thursday, December 17, 2009

For the Love of Africa

It has been over a week since I have updated the blog and a lot has gone on! Since my stolen phone escapades I have been working very hard on my CELTA course and today is my very last day. I am a certified CELTA graduate and will be waiting for Cambridge to send me my official certifications. It has flown by and I will miss it.

Along side my course I have also been keeping very busy, I went shopping again and saw New Moon at the mall which was a must. It was great to get some American media. I also went to a party in one of the South African townships. This particular street party was held in an area with less shacks and more walled houses. They erected a stage in the street and had a handful of local african talent performing. They were also launching a ghetto vegetarian restaurant and I had my first ever soy curry while I was out there. After that we went to an intimate little club called Fiction who had live DJ's mixing their own electronica, my favorite being a mix of the super mario bros theme song.

We had a public holiday on wednesday here and I took the chance to go paragliding with my wonderful classmate Barbara. The paragliding was AMAZING and I would love to take it up as a hobby. It was shorter than we expected and so at 1 o'clock we decided we would climb table mountain and made it to the top of the 3500 ft mountain through Platteklip Gorge and then after a break on top made our way back down. We then went for all you can eat sushi and had Sheesha at Mesopotamia, a restaurant with live belly dancing and music.

Then yesterday to get into the Christmas spirit I went to the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens for a night of candle light carolling put on by the local rotary club and sang our way through 16 odd carols while lounging on the grass of the garden's amphitheater. I have even more planned for the days to come and I am very sad to be leaving the amazing Country and City behind.

Love you all and hope your Christmas season is well
Mac Putici

Monday, December 7, 2009

TIA- This is Africa

It has been a while since I have updated the blog here and I apologize, I have been fairly busy. So my first and second weeks of teaching have both gone very well, there have been up and down days but overall I am loving the teaching and the course is a lot of fun. I have to date taught 5 separate lessons and we had our first major assignment due today, so only 4 more lessons and 3 more assignments and I will be complete and ready to teach. As of tomorrow I will start teaching intermediate level students instead of the elementary level. This will be an interesting transition, it will be more in depth meaning about words and form and less developing of the basic skills and knowledge of English.

Otherwise I have managed to make some friends and begin a social life. I went with some class mates and as well as some locals last weekend to hike on table mountain. We did not make it to the top (or even near) but it was nice, and then we took photos on the Rhodes memorial and had a braai-which is what South Africans call a BBQ. This was accompanied with some wine and cheese and deep conversation late into the night. I have also went to some art galleries featuring South African artists and students over the last two weeks. I don't know if I will want to leave here in two weeks, it is going to be so hard to go back to Canada especially because of the recent blizzard.

Other highlights have been my birthday! I am officially not a teen anymore and so I went out for a fancy dinner on my special night and then went to a few clubs after. I couldn't stay out too late though because I had to teach in the morning. I also ate my first pot of worms! They looked terrible but they taste and feel quite good in your mouth. If you want a visual look up mopane worms. Then of course the World Cup is being hosted here next year and the draw was on friday here at the convention center. There was a giant street party in Long street and they closed it all off for pedestrian use only. We went there and partied and I had my iPhone stolen from my pocket. That was more of a 'lowlite', but that is how life goes. The phrase TIA or This Is Africa is something locals say about all of the chaos that happens here, but that is just how it goes.

Otherwise the weather is great and life is good here in Africa.
Love and miss you all!
Mac Putici

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Little Teacher From the Prairie

Well today I taught my very first English Lesson! Although I was worried when they told us we would be teaching the second day of classes it was really good to get started with what we are there to learn. The school and teachers are so efficient, no nonsense, it is just so refreshing to maximize time and not just clock the hours. The class is very demanding and we already have multiple assignments on the go on top of our regular lesson planning and teaching. I feel that I have more than enough time to work on everything in the evening, as I no longer have a social life. I do go on solo dates each night for dinner however.

As for my very first lesson, it was a lot of fun. I am teaching elementary level for the first 2 weeks. Elementary not meaning little children, but grown adults (some of them very smart, and with very good jobs) however these students are from other countries and so their English skills are very basic. It is very excited to see the gears turning in their minds and seeing them get so involved in the learning. Tomorrow I will be interviewing one of the students for an assignment and I am so excited to get to know these students.

We also did our first live teacher observation of one the employed teachers at the school. Watching others teach is nice to see all the different techniques you can employ in your own lessons but it makes me want to get up and give it a go. I am really getting close with my classmates and hopefully I will be able to make a few friends before I leave. It is a tad lonely when you can’t even text.

I also had one of the best meals in my life this evening. I went to Haiku for Asian tapas. I had dim sum with salmon and cream cheese. Amazing beef filet with shitake mushrooms served with horseradish and a robata sauce. Then I had red curry duck on coconut rice and a chocolate spring roll with almond and marshmallow. Cape Town continues to marvel me the constantly above average food.

I am off to plan a lesson!

Mac Putici

Friday, November 27, 2009

Back to School Blues

All alone in the city I was very stressed to start school. It has been a while since I have tackled something completely new so it gave me some anxiety. I tried to sleep early because I really didn't want to sleep in for school (which has happened so many times before) However the sun seems to wake me up consistently around the 7 to 8 o' clock range. I don't start classes until 9:30 so it has worked out. After all the worrying about the course, the first day went very smooth and was really quite a lot of fun. My class is of 11 and about half are from South Africa, there are some from mozambique, two Canadians (one is me), one from Botswana, and a girl from the Czech Republic. It is also a mix of ages from 18 to probably about 50. The people are quite great. The scary part however was that we had to start teaching the next day to a class of 16 students.

These students come for 4 weeks of free instruction and most of them are refugees or immigrants from Angola and The Congo who are looking for work or are political refugees. Most of them speak French as their first language and some of them speak Portuguese. Overall it looks like school will be very hectic and very rewarding.

Love you all!

Mac Putici

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Final Days

The next day we got up early to continue our drinking and head out to the Stellenbosch wine lands. South Africa is famous for their incredible wines and the beauty of their wine routes is enough of a tourist draw that could spend days in the area visiting all the wine estates. Not only do the estates just have tastings, a lot of them have hotels and restaurants with shops and other events hosted on the grounds. The first wine estate we went to was called Spier and had a large garden area where you could buy picnics and lay out in the sun on the lawns for the afternoon. We decided to go to their restaurant called Moyo however. Moyo is a HUGE traditional African buffet where you can sit in lounging tents, tree houses, bars, and of course tables. The vibe there is incredible and besides just the excellent food and wine there is live entertainment with African drumming, singing and dancing. They even had men in ostrich suites. They also come to your table and paint your face like traditional zulu tribes would.

We spent most of the day at Moyo because there was so much to do and to eat. We then went to the Van Ryn's Brandy Distillery. We missed the last tour of the facilities but we went through exhibits of how brandy was first discovered and is made and were given brandy to taste upon arriving. After that we checked out another estate and went back to Cape Town. On our way back we stopped at the Canal Walk, a very large new mall and spent the evening shopping and browsing the many international stores. We had a light supper of Jamaican pizza (with bananas, avocado, and chicken) then drove home for the night.

The next day was Mom's last day here and Cape Town so we spent some time rounding up gifts and last minute purchases and revisiting her favorite restaurants in Cape Town. It was a very sad goodbye and I was so bummed to be left here all alone and starting school the next day. I went with her to the airport and then came back to spent my first night alone in the Dark Continent.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Gluttony and Penguins

We spent our next day hitting up some of the sites in central Cape Town that we had not managed to hit in the last few days. We slept in a little and then went to an Italian cafe called Doppio Zero for breakfast (by the time I get to Italy I wont be able to look at pizza, pasta, or tapas!) However it was excellent, I had hot fruity oats which were topped with honey, cinnamon, pecans and shredded pear and then a poached egg with grilled tomato, mushrooms, and bacon. After some people-watching we went to a new mall where I was given some black extremely skinny jeans by the worker and I did a change room ballet.

After the mall, we had heard about an awesome local bakery called Charley's which was painted pink and had some amazing cakes. We found where it was by asking directions from construction workers, at an auto body shop, and finally through a car window because we saw some girls feasting on newly bought Charley's cupcakes! When we arrived we got a hummingbird cake which was like a carrot cake made with spices and fruit with mango cream cheese icing and a slice of "Gold Bailey's ultimate chocolate' cake with real golden icing.

After a nap and a few movies on the movie channel I went out for a Kudu steak. Kudu is an antelope with big curly horns and is one of the many wild game meats offered in African cuisine. You may be thinking "do you do anything besides eat?" and on this day the answer was a no.
The next day however was a little more exciting. We finally got up early enough to rent a car and get on the road. Mom and I took the car down the eastern coast of the peninsula to Simon's Town, a working naval base, and one of the oldest settlements in South Africa. This is where Boulders Beach is- the home of an African Penguin colony. These little guys (smaller than my fat shi tzu) are adorable and can be found canoodling with their mating partner which they choose and keep for life. After ogling the penguins we drove to the very bottom of africa at Cape Point.

Cape Point is actually the second mouth southerly point on the continent and is the place where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans mix. The incredible winds at the point make it a bit unwelcoming and the hike up the to old light house is just as rough. It is a fantastic view however and the crazy baboons living at the point cheer up your day. The baboons are known to be quite aggressive, especially if you have food. They will steal from cars and damage the yards of the locals in the area. We saw a whole family of them, even a baby and got some great photos. We drove up the other coast of peninsula all the way back up to Cape Town.

The scenic Chapman's Peak Drive is up this coast. This winding mountain drive, barely wide enough for two lanes is carved and tunnelled into the side of the mountain and looks out over the oceans and bays. We made it back home in time for cuban tapas, cheese stuffed jalapenos, and a fiery chilli espresso white chocolate martini. Mom and I stumbled home and to bed. (To defend my mom's honor, we were quite composed)

Good Night and Much Love!

Mac Putici

Monday, November 23, 2009

Lazy Days and Crazy Days

Due to the very unpredictable weather in Cape Town, our planned trip to go up to cable mountain, just like our Robben Island had to be cancelled due to poor weather. So our next day was spent on the finer things in life--shopping and eating. Although it was a lazy day it was a day of firsts. I had my first Ostrich, an awesome burger from Kauai which had a sweet chilli mayo, and all the fixings. I also had a chai smoothie which made me miss Booster Juice and all of matcha goodness that I can't get here. I also had my first glass of pinotage wine. It is a red wine that is made from grapes only grown in South Africa and was quite lovely, with a bit of spice. Lastly it was my first time getting hit on in Africa. It was by a cashier at a clothing store called Markham.

Out next day was however much busier, we had excellent weather (which has been continuing for the most part) and made our way up table mountain. There are swiss cable cars that hold 45 people and take you up to the top of the mountain. The mountain is so flat on top that you can go for long walks on the summit as if it wasn't thousands of meters above sea level. All of our guide books tell us that there are giant guinea pig-like animals on top of the mountain called dassies. They are said to be quite lazy and often found lying in the sun on the rocks. We did a 45 minutes walk and could not find a single one! We found bundles of agma lizards and birds and plenty of breath taking views, but no dassies.

We then descended the mountain and jetted on over to Robben Island. Our boat ride was about half an hour and allowed us to see dolphins, seals, and loads of jelly fish floating in the water. Once in the harbor we took a bus around the island where we saw the military turrets build for WWII, the rock quarries used to build the court houses in Durban and the Castle of Good Hope, and the small community that lives on the island made up of workers for the historical site. The limestone quarry where the prisoners such as Nelson Mandela had to labor for years and the pile of stones that they left behind as a monument of freedom still lie there as a symbol to all who visit. We then entered the prison and were shown by an ex political prisoner Mandela's cell as well as larger community cells and he shared a bit of his experience there.
We sailed back from the island as hungry as a prisoner so we grabbed grub at Paulener Garten. A German Restaurant serving traditional Bavarian fare. I feasted upon a giant chicken schnitzel with mushroom cream sauce and potatoes with fried onions and bacon, and momma had potato dumplings with goulash. We couldn't wait for our food so we got a fres
h baked pretzel with sweet mustard. We spent the rest of the evening browsing the craft markets at the Waterfront and went home to watch our favorite movie channel.

Much Love!

Mackenzie Putici

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Peninsula Tour!

The world renowned hop-on hop-off busses here won the city tour of the year award last year and we decided to take advantage of that and take their mini peninsula tour around the cape peninsula. We got on the bus at 9:30 sharp and made our way out to the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. (Props to my mom on her awesome macro shot!) These gardens are a UNESCO world heritage site and is the 7th best garden in the world. The gardens only display natural vegetation from the cape area called fynbos. The weird thing is that this area is very small geographically but has more species than all of Great Britain's plant kingdom. We spent the morning touring the gardens and had lunch at the Kirstenbosch Tea Room. Here I had Moroccan poached eggs and my mother had a grilled vegetable sandwich. The highlight of our lunch however was when mom opened our bottle of 'tomato sauce' and it exploded in a 4 foot arc over our table all over the ground and a splatter up a mans jacket which was hanging on the back of his chair beside us. Luckily our fit of giggles didn't give us away and after a photo we slipped out of the gardens and back onto the bus. I wish I could see his reaction when he found it.

After that we went to a Township Tour. Townships here are shacks or Shanty Towns where all the black refugees, homeless, and people out of country who were here in work camps basically build themselves little shacks outside of the city from shipping crates, wood, and perforated aluminium. They all have power free from the government but otherwise they have no plumbing. They share 4 outhouses for 50 families and have made salons and 'pubs' in their area. It is very sad though it is like the Detroit of slums. The quality of life is unbelievable. The
houses are smaller than my dorm room in Fort McMurray and that's just the room. Families of 5 or more can live in there, sharing one or two beds.

After the tour there we went to Hout Bay which is a working sea port halfway down the peninsula where we had fresh fish and chips with loads of tomato sauce and tartar. YUM! By this point my face had started turning red and the sun got me looking a little lobstery. It was a very mild burn but I had some pealing results. After that we took the scenic drive up the miles of beaches in the suburbs of Sea Point and Green Point where they are building the big stadium for the World Cup. Once I got home and put some lotion on my face we went to my new favorite restaurant (one of 2) called Mojito. Here I had a ginger and chilli mojito with fresh chunks of ginger root and a big chunk of green chilli. It was hot and refreshing. I had a fiery Island curry with chicken, cuban flatbread, and coconut coated banana. Momma had a delish Jerk chicken pasta and then we had banana fritters for dessert.

All in all another Great day!
Thanks for reading and feel free to comment ;)

Mackenzie Putici

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Touring Down Town Cape Town

Hello Again! The Longer I stay here the warmer it gets and the more I am loving this country.

We last left off with me cozy under a blanket in a plush king bed. In the morning after the first of many of my long showers my mother and I got ready to tour the downtown area. When most people think of downtown they think of a busy sector with lots of businesses and many boutiques (or in some cases many bums). However the beauty of Cape Town is that it is a bizarre fusion of old and new, natural and urban. The downtown is close enough to see the Atlantic ocean and has the towering Table mountain in the rear, while giant convention centre and the high rises sit among the old gabled buildings and cobblestone streets.
After having breakfast right out on the sunny green market square (breakfast being pizza and sandwiches) we made our way to the oldest building in South Africa: The Castle of Good Hope.
On our way to the castle down the chaotic roads of the city we found one of the local malls, the pedestrian shopping street St. Georges Mall, and the flower market at Trafalgar Square where the prized market spots have been passed down through the generations

The picture-perfect City Hall is neighbor to the castle and has a clock tower that looks nearly like Big Ben. Right Across from the city hall is the Grand Parade. During the week this is a public parking area but on wednesday and
saturdays square turns into one of the biggest markets
in the city selling African Crafts from all over the country. During the Fifa World Cup the square will be used as a fan park for those South Africans who can't afford tickets to the event.

The Castle itself, is as short as what most people would call a fort and is made from rocks that were quarried from Robben Island. It is built in a pentagon with 5 bastions each with cannons and drinking wells for the soldiers stationed here, however the fortress never saw battle. The castle is quite beautiful and not only has 2 museums, but is used by the community for concerts and events, political meetings,and art galleries. The funniest and BEST thing about the castle, and most of the country is the seeming lack of safety regulations in place. I walked literally all over the castle, the 5 bastions, through cannon port holes, on the roof, and even right up by the bell tower. You can climb all over and could easily jump/fall off the sides.

I descended the castle and then Momma and I walked to The Companies Gardens. These Gardens take up several city blocks and are flanked by several old buildings. They were first planted by the Dutch East India Company when the city was first being colonized. This is where the houses of parliament are, The National Art Gallery, multiple museums and a fa
mous Catholic church, St. George Cathedral are housed. Following our guide book we wandered around the vast gardens along with many other Capetonians. It was here we saw two wedding parties posing for photos and a handful of couples snogging.

The people here really enjoy their weekends. Not only do they close down everything early, a lot of the shops closing at 1:30-3:00 in the afternoon, but most things, even quite a few restaurants are
closed sundays. Since no one was working the gardens were packed and the pigeons and squir
rels (denizens of the park) were ecstatic with the nuts they had been fed. There is a vendor in the park that sells peanuts to feed the squirrels, but after going through gardens 3 times now I still have no idea where he or she may be. All I want is to have them eat out of my palm! While in the gardens we snuck into the Cape Town Museum without paying and saw the skeletons of whales in their giant whale well exhibit. They closed soon after and we made our way back through the gardens and the city to my apartment.

The sun really tired us out so we spent the afternoon watching Mama Mia on TV and then went out for supper. The place we found was very cool, called Royale Eatery. The 3 level restaurant has a family oriented bottom level, a classy middle level with sheet music on the walls and a balcony, and then a bar up top. The menu is designed like an old children's book with labelled black and white photos and set up in chapters. This restaurant has over 40 unique burgers. We chose the Royale Burger with Brie cheese, and the Caprione which was a pork burger with corriander and spices mixed in the patty with an asian chutney. For dessert my mom had a strawberry banana milkshake and I had a peanut butter oreo. All the food was excellent and if I had an extra stomach I would have returned already.

This marked another day under the African Sun

Mackenzie Putici

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Welcome to my very first blog!

Well I figured I would start a bit of a travel blog to let anyone who wants to keep up with what I am doing in on my ventures. As a lot of you know I am in South Africa and will be taking a course down here to teach English as a Second language. The course is outsourced from Cambridge and gives you the tools to teach English in an entirely English immersive environment for learners of any native tongue. I don't start the course until the 23rd of November and I am just touring the area down here until then. For those of you who don't know my mom is here touring with me until my course starts so I don't have to travel alone the whole time.

I left November 10th and flew out of Calgary to Frankfurt Germany. Frankfurt was excellent! I had a 12 hour layover which I spent in the downtown area shopping, eating, and sight seeing. I landed and then took the metro into town where I was instantly told to buy a scarf because it was too cold out for what I was wearing. I have to tell you, it is so much more work getting what you want when half of the people around don't speak your language. I looked through some of the shops in the expensive side of Romer (the city's main shopping street) and then I had some cheese pie at one of the many small bakeries. After that I looked at the old churches and museums in the historic part of the city and saw some people feeding swans on the river. Swans are huge! After that I shopped all over the city from small boutiques to their very cool mall, to department stores and furniture shops. The designs for even the small malls are very unique, the European charm is enchanting as always. Also a side note, if you ever need to buy a jacket, this is the place to come. Everyone is in gorgeous fitting pea coats and bomber jackets and there are more jackets in Frankfurt than all of Alberta.

Once I was done shopping I did some intense eating: I started off with a crepe with Nutella and peanuts, I then went to a cafe and had Cold Green sauce with hardboiled eggs and potatoes and Apple wine. The cold green sauce is a cream sauce with 8 green herbs that is a Frankfurt specialty and it was actually quite good. Then at this point, even though I was very full and cold (even with my new scarf) I had to get a bratwurst from a street vendor in one of the squares. It was huge and so they snap them in half to fit on the bun. Then with some help from various Germans I made it back to the airport on the metro and got into my gate. I browsed the shopping areas like a zombie, and after a short snooze in the new airport lounge chairs I got on the plane to see Africa.

Upon Arrival in Africa I had to wait half and hour for my airport transfer to my apartment in the city. When I arrived at the apartment in the Muslim area of Cape Town called the Bo-Kapp. Its very colorful but the apartment was a "Dive" and my poor mother nearly suffered a break down. After dropping our things off in the apartment we left straight away, even skipping the shower after days of air travel because the mouldy shower didn't seem accommodating. Big Momma and I strolled down the steep cobble stone streets through downtown and managed to find my school where we got a tour of the facilities. It is quite nice with a roof top terrace to relax upon and is right off a cobble stone square called Green Market Square where there is a daily craft market and several open air restaurants (so I can eat all the time). There is also a sweet shisha bar so I can go get my 'Hook' on and make my brother proud.

We left the school and made our way to the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront which is a both a working harbour and a flourishing tourist area with multiple malls, tons of luxury apartments and hotel, restaurants, and the Two Oceans Aquarium. Momma and I looked around the shops and restaurants and found out that South Africa is not as cheap as we thought, after the conversion we end up spending nearly par on everything we buy and the tourist areas are jacked up even more.

Then we had dinner at a place called the Cape Town Fish Market, it features fresh fish dishes, African specialties, and a rotating sushi bar. A lot of you know that I love to eat and I have been taking photos of EVERYTHING I eat since I left so I will be posting a food journal of my finest fare, however I am battling with my camera to get photos onto my computer so it may take a few days to get that in full swing. You will however be jealous of the myriad of food I have been feasting upon. At this particular restaurant I had a currie chicken potjie which is a traditional African stew served in a cast iron 3-legged pot with steam rice. My mom had a Bento Box which was well prepared and then we hoofed it back to down town. My mom was dreading staying in the dirty beds and of the grubby apartment so we stopped by some suites we saw off Green Market square to see if they had anything open. Sadly they did not and as we left the rain started pouring on us as we trudged up the steep cobble stone streets in a city we barely knew. On our way up we ran into some homeless people, one of which was singing about building his temple and stealing plywood from a construction site. He and his buddies were setting up camp by a laundromat. It was at this point my mom told me that "this was [her] worst nightmare."

With sore feet and wet clothes we made it back to our seedy apartment and looked hopelessly at our so called home, we dried off with towels that resembled what we dry my dogs feet with at home and crawled into bed.

In the morning we woke up and got tickets to go visit Robben Island over the phone. Robben Island is the famous island 10Km off shore of Cape Town where Nelson Mandela and other political prisoners were held during Apartheid. After we showered in the mouldy, no-doored shower we went to the luxury suites and managed to make a deal to stay there for little over the price of my old apartment. The new apartment is SWEET! (Pictures to come) Its a one bedroom flat that faces out onto Green Market square and is just a hop skip and a jump to my school. Even in Toronto or New York this little suite could hold its own and has an old-school lift that has a wood door and steel caging on the sides that slams shut before you move. It includes a kitchen and a giant bathroom in which I can shower and lounge in the large waterworks. Lastly, and not to brag but it even has a towel warmer!

Before moving into the new place my Mother and myself had go to the water front to depart to the island, only once we arrive we found out our tour was cancelled due to rough seas. So instead we had breakfast at Harrie's Pancakes which serves a thick crepe-type pancake in both sweet and savoury flavors. I was tempted to have ostrich (a popular meat down here) but I had a bobotie pancake. Bobotie is a cape-malay specialty which is a type of cuisine that has developed in South Africa and is often a spicy or currie based meat dish with a fried egg cooked on top. I also had a lime milkshake, and my mom had a pancake with sticky pork, peaches, and spring onion which reminded me of a BBQ pork steam bun that Chinese make. We shared those and then went to the Two Oceans Aquarium.

The Aquarium features species from this unique area where the Indian and Atlantic Oceans meet below the cape. Some of the fish, eels and anemones were stunning and crazy! There were big jelly fish, giant crabs and lobster, and a touch pool where we could touch star fish and anemones. Yeah they market that for kids but I was jacked, I mean when else do you get to touch all those critters and not be terrified you will get stung or something? The aquarium has a predator pool with sharks and rays and other dangerous fish in which you can scuba dive. I also have to mention that the whole Finding Nemo cast was there including Dori and Nemo and his dad. Even the prawn!

Once done there we made the big move to the new apartment, a great choice. After settling in and showering Mom and I explored Long Street. I live on a side street off Long and it is comparable to Yonge street in Toronto, or basically the street with all the boutiques, restaurants and clubs. Its not quite as 'glam' as Toronto but the businesses are just as good, top quality, and incredibly diverse!

It was on Long that we had our first dinner after showering in a real washroom and it was where both my Mom and I had our first full blown Tapas experience. (Not often a mom and son pop there cherry together) We went to a Tapas restaurant called Fork. Each plate of appetizers or Tapas is served in 4 pieces and even though they all were plated wonderfully I forgot to get photos. Food included white asparagus with hollandaise sauce, a giant beef ravioli with a poached egg cooked inside, and strawberry pavlova for dessert.

After days of eating, sleep deprivation, walking and spending we went home to have a good hard sleep.

I have obviously been here longer than a few days but have not had time to write everything down so I thought I would post the beginnings and will try and keep updating and get some pictures on here soon!

Love and miss many of you and thanks for reading!


Mac Putici