We’re still not over the jet lag (we’re 7 hours ahead of EST) so we had a slow start to the day. Since our flight arrived after most stores were closed, we had a few errands to run in the morning. Ace had to decide which one of her glamorous outfits she would wear today. After much contemplation she settled on purple jeans as she was disappointed that the temperature was merely 62 degrees (it later rose to a high of 75).
We had an itinerary with various activities on tap, but of course nothing ever goes as planned. Our first stop was to the V&A Waterfront. It is somewhat of a tourist hub with stores, restaurants and a great view of the mountains. We needed to visit a foreign exchange bureau and purchase adapter plugs that enabled us to charge our phones. The waterfront was crowded with tourists and other visitors walking around on the beautiful summer day. We also stopped at Woolworth’s (similar to a Target/Walmart on a much smaller scale) to pick up a few snacks for the flat we’re staying in. On our way back to the car, the strap of mom’s shoe broke. Oh boy. Of course the fashionista would not take another step until we mended her shoes. We walked into a store at the waterfront and mom asked one of the workers whether they had crazy glue. Undeterred by the blank stare she received, mom moved on to asking another worker for crazy glue. After her 3rd attempt, I realized, they had no idea what she was talking about. I explained to a worker that she needed an adhesive to repair her shoes. The store did not carry an adhesive so mom was left to purchase a new pair of shoes. Being the practical one, I recommended that she purchase a comfortable pair of shoes, but mom was having no parts of it. “I need a cute pair of shoes that is obvious that it is from South Africa.” After much back and forth, she settled on a pair of shoes she could be semi-happy with.
Our next stop was the Old Biscuit Mill for lunch. It is in an open air market where merchants gather and set up make-shift restaurants and sell various goods. Unfortunately, mom’s shoe purchasing experience took longer than we anticipated, so by the time we arrived, the merchants were closing. Disappointed but undetered, we returned to the waterfront to have lunch.
In addition to being a shopaholic, mom also likes to fine dine. After perusing the menus at a few locations, we settled on Oyo. We sat alongside the water and enjoyed a great meal while we people watched and relaxed. Our server Tapiwa (pronounced Ta-pee-wah), was very sweet and patient. Mom and I discussed the interesting racial group distinctions in South Africa and the classification of called Coloureds (Coloured is loosely defined as man and women who are of mixed race). The waterfront was filled with many tourists and people from various areas of the continent. We were trying to distinguish who among the passer-byes would be classified as Coloureds. We were also admiring the interesting attire worn by women. the passer-byes also stared back at us (we would learn why I few days later). Mom was taking it all in. Hands down, the most beautiful natural women of the world live in Africa! On our way out, we met an older couple from Switzerland who struck up a conversation with us. They asked where we were from and later asked whether I was married. Ace wasted no time in responding for me and letting them know she wanted to find me a husband (a statement she has made about 10 times during our trip thus far). The gentleman replied, “you are looking for a chief?” To which his wife responded with disgust, “here in South Africa, you must be looking for a thief!” Mom didn’t know whether to laugh or be offended. She is starting to learn the dynamic do race relations in this country.
After stuffing our faces, we were exhausted. This did not deter us from experiencing more of this beautiful country. We returned to our flat for an hour then headed to Camps Bay for sundowners. Mom, the fashionista, could not wear the same outfit to dinner that she wore all day (plus she brought enough clothing to last a month). Therefore, she she had another wardrobe change before we left. Not to be outdone, I borrowed her leather jacket to spice up my own look.
We drank and ate at Tuscany Beach Restaurant. Mom was shocked to see a server who was not black. Since arriving, she wondered why she only saw black workers at the airport, in restaurants and in stores. This isn’t actually true she just hadn’t been paying close attention and she hasn’t adjust to being in a country where blacks are the majority. She was also saddened to see homeless people for the first time in the country. We watched street children hustle people for money as they walked to their cars. As we left the restaurant, two children approached us aggressively asking for more money despite the 4 Rand I handed to them. Mom was much nicer to them as I got into the car and drove off. Exhausted after a full day, we returned to our flat and passed out. Our first full day was now behind us.