Sunday, April 17, 2011

Chewbacca and the Wicked Witch

(Written on 3/20/2011 from Cape Town, South Africa)
Pinch me!  I wasn't wearing green on St. Patrick's Day - but that didn't stop Katie and me from heading out to experience some Cape Town night life at it's finest.  We ended up at a small bar/dance club near the hostel - showing our true colors as we boogied all night.  I guess you can take Annie and Katie out of the high school dance team, but you can't take the high school dance team out of Annie and Katie.
After a slow morning (I mean, come on….it was St. Patrick’s Day!) Katie and I went to return the rental car and as we were hiking back to the hostel we discussed our plan for the day, which was quickly and swiftly "ruined" when we were tempted by a bakery on the street.  It felt so urban and fancy (mind you, we just came from the bush) to grab a sandwich on fresh bread as we camped outside on their tall tables.  We loved, loved, loved this place and I kept plotting how to open my own bakery/cafe in Seattle, meanwhile scoffing down my delish Chicken Caeser Ciabatta like I was mauling my prey (poor had no chance of survival).

My version of the little pigs - I huffed and I puffed and I blew this house down
Our next adventure was the Cape Malay Cooking Safari.  Now, before I give you the scoop on cooking with Falula (our fabulous and witty teacher), I am forewarning you that if your immediate reaction is to book a flight to Cape Town and then take the cooking class for yourself....then you can totally blame me because I'll take the credit for what might be the best decision of your life.  :)

The day started out with a walking tour and a pit stop at one of the oldest Mosques in the city...and then we met Falula.  She's like a little ball of fire.  I knew I would like her when she told us we weren't allowed to enter her house unless we brought a sense of humor.  Good thing too because she has no problem poking fun at you or your cooking skills (or maybe just my cooking skills).

Tomato and onion sambal


Chicken curry

We tried our hand at samoosas, roti, tomato and onion sambal and chicken curry (which I don't normally like but obviously since I devoured it, Falula's recipe is an exception).  Although this type of food isn’t typical “South African” food, the Bo-Kaap neighborhood of Cape Town has a large Malay influence.  As Katie and I (once again) plowed through a table full of exquisite dishes, we chatted with Falula and her daughters.  We left happy, full, content and smelling like curry.

The bright and cheery Bo-Kaap neighborhood
That night we were lucky enough (maybe because Katie has Irish blood?) to be in Cape Town during one of their Carnival celebrations.  We walked down to the parade and I encountered my first rude person (or 3 people) in South Africa.  They had camped out in the front row against an angled fence in lawn chairs.  Nobody else waiting for the parade had lawn chairs so people started standing behind them waiting.  The parade was 2 hours late and when it started the streets were lined and packed.  People were standing on benches, sitting under the angled fence and trying to get a better look at the action.  The 3 people who were sitting stood up and blocked the view for everybody behind them that had ‘strategically’ set their position. 

Not only that – but the guy was like Sasquatch.  Another bystander sweetly asked if he wouldn’t mind either sitting back down or moving over a bit (since they had used their chairs to block off a good section of the parade and everybody else was crammed like sardines).  He looked at her, then looked away without responding.  Then his girlfriend (better known as "Bitch girlfriend") turned around and said, “I’m not even funny, we have the freedom to stand where we want.”  She was right....she was not even funny.

Since Katie and I couldn’t see a darn thing behind the Wicked Witch of the West and Chewbacca, another kind local asked us if we would like to sit in front of them under the fence.  It worked much better, and my faith in friendly South Africans was restored.  Whew.

It's funny that in my normal life I probably would have sided with the "rude" people...that they were there first and it was there space.  But obviously being exposed to such strong communities where everybody looks out for everybody else like they are their own has changed my perspective.  My thought for you today...when is it that you are unnecessarily selfish?  What small thing could you give up to help somebody else today?

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