I volunteered for the conference for each of the four days. It was faciniating to hear the findings of the leading scientists in the field of HIV/AIDS research. Having been on the ground, so-to-speak, for the last six months in the country with the highest HIV incidences in the world, there were some glaring gaps in what the West is doing and then how that's going to work in the rest of the world. All of the session's PowerPoints are online as well as the overview Rapporteur reports. It was a very interesting experience and I'm so glad I got to be part of it while I am in South Africa.
I extended a couple more days to do some sightseeing (pictures below). Since I'm a fan of lists, here are some highlights of my trip to Cape Town, South Africa:
- Saw those African penguins! They're actually called Jackass Penguins for the donkey noise they make when mating. Hmm.
- Got sprayed with lots of frigid Atlantic waters when I did a tour around Cape Point. It's the height of winter here, but luckily the temperature was in the low 20s C, which is around 70F, so not too bad for winter. My friends in Michigan would laugh that this is what people in Cape Town call winter!
- Discovered chocolate chai latte! Who knew that existed?! I had it every morning I was in Cape Town except for one. The guy at the shoppe probably thought I was crazy. I tried to do a silly "hello again" in a funny voice with a little courtsey to be sort of funny that I was coming back again for the tasty chocolate chai, but he didn't really find it funny, so I didn't do it again.
- Met lots of fasinating volunteers at the conference representing the diverse history of South Africa. It was nice to have a week break from people yelling "lekgoa!" at me b/c of my white skin. There's only so much racism one can tolerate.
- Got to walk around at night! Seriously, we (PC volunteers) can't do that in most of South Africa due to safety, so this was a treat not to have to disappear w/ the sunset.
- Climbed the mountain at the Cape of Good Hope! My calves were screaming at me for a couple of days about that. For awhile, it's almost a straight incline, so it's a killer for the calves.
- Walked all around Table Mountain. It's so funny to think you can just walk all around on the top of a mountain. There are all these stone paths marked out too, very cool.
- Ate sushi! My long lost love! I found a place that had half off rolls! Super-great prawn and calamari sushi for half price, who can beat that?!
Me and a girl from Bombay, India (who goes to Harvard, hense the hoodie) and a girl from London who is backpacking her way around the world. These are the girls I climbed around the Cape of Good Hope with and now have the picture to commemorate how ridiculous our hair looked after the screaming winds and Atlantic spray gave us a blow-out.
Proud to be an American : )
The welcome sign at the International AIDS Society Conference in Cape Town. I volunteered for all four days of the conference - it was fabulous!
Clouds sitting in one of the crevases of Table Mountain, Cape Town, South Africa. I think it's so cool how the clouds just sit there. I also walked right to the edge of that cliff on the right.
A gorgeous rainbow over one of the seal islands around Cape Point, South Africa
They're super tiny. I just watched Zoolander on a bus trip, so the small penguins remind me of "what is this, a school for ants?!"
As for me, well, I continue to be homeless in South Africa. But this week I've met with Peace Corps and I think we're moving in a direction. We'll see, I'm taking it one day at a time. I was able to eat some more sushi last night, so I'm feeling pretty happy.