Trans African Railway?

Wow, yesterday night was one of the coldest nights of my life.  The experience was both miserable and entertaining as Andrew and I could not stop laughing every time we woke up with frozen hands, feet, noses, or ears.  We had no idea that the train’s heaters would be broken, but I guess when you are in Africa you always have to be ready for anything.

As I mentioned in my previous entry, we woke up numerous times during the evening to add additional layers of clothing on our bodies to stay warm.  I am pretty sure that by the early morning (peak cold was around 4:00am) we had every single piece of clothing that we owned pulled out of our bags and placed on top of our bodies.  When the sun came up we both plastered ourselves to the window to soak in it’s rays while watching our breath fog up the glass.
Aside from the cold, the ride was beautiful.  We did not see any more giraffes today, but we did see many more ostriches, impala, and kudu.  These three game animals are very popular in South Africa, and make up an important part of the South African cuisine.  Biltong, similar to American jerky, is often made from ostrich, kudu, or impala.  Other popular game meets include crocodile, warthog, and springbuck, and of course beef.  Unlike the rest of Africa that survives on chicken, goat, or no meat at all, South Africans LOVE red meats.  The most authentic South African meal is a Braai, which is simply a barbecue with lots and lots of meat.

Due to technical difficulties we arrived into Cape Town a bit late, around 5:00pm.  When we arrived we discovered that the weather in Cape Town was even more cold that Johannesburg, and it just so happened that at the time of our arrival a giant rainstorm decided to blow in.  We have been told that Cape Town is the one city in the world where you can experience all four seasons in one day, today was just a small taste of that.

We decided that due to the rain we would just grab a personal taxi instead of try to navigate using public transport.  We ran through the rain looking like lost chickens for quite a while trying to find a taxi, and after several minutes (roughly 30 or so) we found someone who was willing to take us.  We later found out that taxis don’t operate much in large storms because traffic becomes so bad that people decide it isn’t worth the ridiculous taxi price to sit standstill on the highway.  Today we were one of those taxi victims.

Once we arrived at our destination in Mowbary, Cape Town, we were greeted by Kaveto and his roommates.  Kaveto is a fellow couchsurfer that we connected with several weeks ago (via online communication).  I guess you could say that couchsurfing is the equivalent to, but instead of searching for single people you are searching for single couches (on which you can stay a night or two for free).  Kaveto and his five roommates are incredible and they are all students at Cape Town University, one of the best universities in South Africa as well as on teh African Continent.  Kaveto is actually from Namibia, but decided that we wanted to come to Cape Town for his studies.  He currently studies accounting and is actually interested in management consulting, just as Andrew and I are.

After spending just one evening with Kaveto and his roommates (Claire, Lulo, Junior, etc…) Andrew and I know we will have a great time over the next few days!


(Below: Andrew’s post)

When Kylie and I disembarked from the train today we were both quite excited!

To be off a freezing cold train was such a relief to the both of us I couldn’t help but smile.

As we entered Cape Town station we tried to get our bearings and to figure out the best way to Mowbrey, where our couchsurfing host Kaveto lives.

As we hunted for an exit, I was told by a lady that the taxi stand was up and out of the station. Thinking that I had the right road, I went to fetch Kylie so we could leave.

Unfortunately, what the lady was referring to was the ‘black taxi’ as called by the locals. And our couchsurfing host had told us to not take those after dark. To top it off it was raining cats and dogs and the quick venture outside the station, while not only unsuccessful, but also resulted in us having to turn back to the station. This time we were sopping wet and cold.

We finally found a cab and made our way to Mowbrey and Kavetos house. 

Kaveto is an accounting student at university of Cape Town and a very friendly guy! He originally was from the northernmost part of Namibia, but was sent to a foster home where he learned English.

We were lucky to find Kaveto since we only had 1-2 days of time to hunt for a couchsurfing host in that area of Cape town. 

We got our things settled, removed our wet clothes, and literally didn’t move from the couch area for a good 45 minutes. The journey had been long and cold, and I think we were just grateful to be sitting down.

We chatted with Kaveto for a little to get an idea what we should do the next day and called it a night. Thankfully the bed was soft and warm… Although it smelled a bit like ‘college guys’ I was just glad to have a place to rest my head!

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