A Travellerspoint blog

This blog is published chronologically. Go straight to the most recent post.

"Sith Africa" as the locals say

Cape Town was one of my favorite ports so far. It feels exactly like california, but I loved it. The weather, the ecology, beaches, and architecture felt like California so much. After a long stretch of equatorial heat, the mild fall weather was perfect. Every day I did something new and exciting, I could have easily spent another week in
Cape Town.

Day 1: Table Mountain
When we first got into port, I walked out onto the top deck, and
saw an ugly industrial port, but then I walked around to the other side
of the ship and saw the amazing Table Mountain, it was absolutely
stunning in the morning light (pictured). We took a cable car to the top
of the mountain and spent a few hours walking around the top. There were "rock rabbits" (pictured) running all over the place, they were my
favorite animal I saw in South Africa.

Day 2: Safari
I went on a safari at a privately owned game reserve with a big
group of SASers. They took us out in big open-air vans and brought us
right up to the animals. The first thing I noticed was how active the animals are, so often at the zoo the animals are sleeping. We got to see hippos (pictured getting into the water), zebras, rhinos, African
elephants (so much bigger than the Asian elephants that we road in Myanmar), ostriches, and lions. After the Safari, we went to a winery
for a wine and cheese tasting (pictured). After living in wine country
for so many years, I was excited to have my first wine tasting. The
wines and cheeses were delicious.

Day 3: Cape of Good Hope
We hired a taxi to drive us around for the day and go to Cape of
Good Hope. The driver new all the best places to go and gave us lots of good information about the history and culture of Cape Town. We went on
a boat ride to watch seals, and we went to a wine tasting at the oldest winery in South Africa where we tasted Napoleon Bonaparte's favorite
wine. We went to the beach, and to a penguin reserve, and finally to
Cape of Good Hope where I took the picture in front of the cliffs at sunset.
Day 4: Hike and Home Stay
I hiked Lions Head the next morning. It was a short hike, but
steep, we had to use ladders and chains to climb some spots. It was a beautiful hike, I wish I could have gone on every hike along the Table Mountain skyline. That night I did a home stay through SAS. They bussed
us out to a township and we stayed in houses with the residents. I
stayed with Mama Noks. We cooked dinner, and ate with our hands, we also got to walk around the township a little. The kids on the street came
into Mama Noks house and were so amused with my hair. I had five girls
each playing with a handful of my hair. I gave them my brush in the
hopes that they wouldn't tangle it too much, but it was a lost cause.

Day 5 and 6:
The last two days I spent shopping and walking around the city. I found the biggest mall I have ever seen, probably three or four times
the size of Westfields in San Francisco. So easy to get lost in. And we went to the open air markets where I bought lots of scarves. We stumbled upon a circus performance, and we even got Mexican food for the first
time in months!

Posted by juliaaugh 01:16 Comments (0)

Pictures of Ghana

1 Main Street in Accra
2 Swimming in Accra
3 Cannons at the slave dungeons
4 Children playing in the water in Cape Coast
5 Lisa and I in Cape Coast

D0511B072219AC6817CD88FEDFBB6458.jpg

D051513B2219AC68174488B1DA072DC3.jpg

D051845E2219AC68171ACD8DC3712207.jpg

D051A8882219AC6817C6E8187E4C01F3.jpg

D051CAAC2219AC6817E7104C793304FA.jpg

Posted by juliaaugh 12:06 Comments (0)

Ghana

Ghana was different from any other country we have visited. There aren't a whole lot of sites to see, but just walking around the markets is an experience. The markets that we have been to in other countries are all alike. Every vender sells the same thing, and you have to bargain with them to get the price down. The venders in Ghana are the most aggressive that I have come across; they beg you to come into their shops, and if you do, they corner you so you can't get out, if you ignore them, they grab your arm to get your attention. Having been to the markets in other countries made this bearable, but its really hard to shop under that kind of pressure. I wish they understood that if they let us shop in peace we would probably buy more. We also visited the markets that were for the locals. These sold all sorts of raw meats including pig hoofs, whole lamb carcasses, and dried fish. And they had lots of fabric, used clothes, and strange cosmetics. At these markets the venders didn't try to get us to buy anything, but just watched as we passed. On the last day Chips and I went into one of these markets to pick up a dress she had tailored. While we were waiting for it to be fitted, we hung out with the children that had come to work with their parents. Often Ghanians did not like us taking pictures of them, but I asked if I could take pictures with the kids, and they absolutely loved my camera. I took pictures of them, they took pictures of me, and I showed them how to take selfies. I also had a great time taking picture in the ocean with some locals. The water was so warm, but apparently there are really strong currents so we were only allowed to swim in a few places.
Going to the slave dungeons was an interesting experience. I didn't quite understand the concept before I got there. The colonial traders built castles where they would store goods while they waited for the next ship to take the goods to the new world. These goods included human slaves. They were kept like cattle underground in stone buildings for a few weeks to a few months. There was little light and ventilation, and they were giving minimal food. Almost half of all slaves that came to the new world passed through the dungeon that we visited. It was a very interesting glimpse into history.

Email me any questions or comments. Juliaaugh@gmail.com

www.semesteratsea.org

Posted by juliaaugh 02:36 Comments (0)

Morocco pictures part 2

6BFD25692219AC681752D4EC65DF356E.jpg

6BFD5F8E2219AC68177711FD44EBF869.jpg

6BFD89242219AC6817750DCC05504C41.jpg

6BFDD4DD2219AC6817B4573C8ED3E705.jpg

6BFDF9EF2219AC6817593A2240C85CCE.jpg

Posted by juliaaugh 11:16 Comments (0)

Morocco pictures part 3

6BFEBFBC2219AC6817E278C0C2A409F0.jpg

6BFEE8AE2219AC6817835012FE5103FD.jpg

6BFF34F42219AC6817DE90B77F52A1C4.jpg

6BFF60602219AC6817702E46E4955D6A.jpg

6BFFAA1B2219AC68176D80622058E706.jpg

Posted by juliaaugh 11:16 Comments (0)

Morocco pictures part 1

6C0038122219AC68175420173CC1D209.jpg

6C005F2F2219AC6817874C8869B28EB8.jpg

6C00967A2219AC681771ADDF5FBCB9A8.jpg

6C00C1F22219AC681767F679B43D3F49.jpg

6C010AF92219AC6817170B7348C1B877.jpg

Posted by juliaaugh 11:16 Comments (0)

Morocco

Morocco was so unique. It felt a bit like Europe, but its definitely still developing. The narrow streets felt very old, and medieval. It almost felt as if the streets were carved in after all the houses were built.

The first day we went straight to Fez. Yes, I have a picture of me wearing a Fez in Fez. The Medina (old city) is the largest urban area in the world that does not have any cars. The taxi driver dropped us off outside of one of the gates, and we walked into the maze to find our Riad (hotel with an open courtyard in the middle). The Riad was absolutely gorgeous, as was the view from the terrace that overlooked all of the Medina. Something about Fez is magical. The small streets are very alive with people, cats, and donkeys. It was so easy to get lost through the souks (venders) and buy way too many souvenirs. We also visited the leather tanneries. If you look closely at the picture, you can see how big the color tanks are, big enough to fit a few people in. They gave us mint to smell while we were touring the tanneries because it smells like a mix of dead animals and pigeon poop that they use in the tanning process.

Marrakesh was much busier. It had a similar Medina, but some of the roads were big enough for a car to drive in (and then back out because there was no where to turn around). We stayed at a Riad-style hostel that was very close to the square where there was always something going on. On the last night we watched the sun go down over the square from a restaurant, heard the call-to-prayer at sunset, and as it got dark musicians, snake-charmers, and card-readers came out. We also did an afternoon camel ride near Marrakesh. Camels are very strange creatures, one was really grumpy and complained the whole time. But it was fun, and we got to have tea and crepes with a family along the way.

Posted by juliaaugh 05:46 Comments (0)

Saying Goodbye

My friends and I finished off the semester with a SAS tradition of painting our backs with the flags of the countries we have visited. I can't believe we are getting off the MV Explorer tomorrow, but I'm excited to travel through London, Edinburgh, and Ireland. I will be home in just two weeks, and I can't wait to see everyone back in California.

DSCN2170.jpg

Posted by juliaaugh 02:01 Comments (0)

UK and Ireland

Visiting the UK and Ireland was great transition back into western life. I even went to a strip mall in Galway and I felt like I was back in California!

In London I saw all the sites with a few SASers (Lisa, Chips, Jason, Rob, and Scott) before we all spread out over Europe. It was awesome seeing the places that I’ve heard about, and seen in movies my whole life. Big Ben, Tower Bridge, Abbey Road, and the National Museum were some of my favorites. I loved the big-city feel; there was so much to do!

London Eye and Big Ben in the distance
IMG_5870.jpg
Tower Bridge
IMG_5881.jpg
Selfie with Big Ben
IMG_6060.jpg
Platform 9 3/4 in London
IMG_6111.jpg

I went on to Edinburgh, Scotland by myself. It may have been the cutest city I’ve seen on this trip. I found my self on lots of tours while I was traveling alone. The hostel had a game night, a pub craw, and walking tour. I also did a ghost tour, and a tour to Lock Ness for the day, (No signs of Nessie). All of my tour guides were amazing story tellers and the history of Scotland was really interesting. I didn’t know this, but Edinburgh is Harry Potter central. I got to see the cafe where JK Rowling started the books, the streets and castles that inspired her, and, best of all, Tom Riddle’s gravestone.

Edinburgh
IMG_6188.jpgIMG_6205.jpgIMG_6256.jpg
Tom Riddle's Gravestone
IMG_6263.jpg

Jason and I met up again in Dublin. I visited the Guinness Storehouse and graduated from the Guinness academy where they taught me to “pour the perfect pint.” Jason and I went to Galway and saw a few castles. Ruby’s dad was nice enough to show us a beautiful castle that is now a prestigious hotel. We hiked out to an abandoned castle as well. We also got to hear lots of live musics in the pubs, even on a tuesday night.

Guinness Academy
IMG_6492.jpg

Castles
IMG_6624.jpgIMG_6652.jpgIMG_6665.jpgIMG_6700.jpgIMG_6745.jpg

Now I'm home for a few weeks before heading down to Santa Barbara for summer classes. If anyone is interested in Semester at Sea, or has any questions about traveling to any of the places I've been please email me (juliaaugh@gmail.com) or go to semesteratsea.org.

Posted by juliaaugh 10:11 Comments (0)

Packing Tips for Semester at Sea

Things I’m really happy I packed
castile soap
mittens
toilet paper and tissues
zip lock baggies
hangers
beach towel
multiple backpacks, bags, and purses
travel mug, tea and cocao
granola bars
chocolate
outlet converters (From REI, had a set with all the different plugs I needed except South Africa)
flash drives
tape, scissors, staples
folders, paper, pencils
sticky notes
magnets
planner
light rain jacket
lots of locks, combination recommended (no key to keep track of)
bug spay
every medication ever invented (including decongestant, and enough pepto to take with every meal in a port)
good walking sandals
clothes pins
lots of socks and undies
safety pins
sewing kit
travel size everything (shampoo, conditioner ect.)
perfume samples (or a small bottle of perfume)
eye shadow
Currency for every country ($20 worth of currency for every country was a life-saver when you are first getting off the ship, and don’t know where to get money)
collapsable water bottle
digital copies of all important documents

Things I wish I had packed
slippers/toms - something easy to wear around the ship
wash clothe - not provided
quick dry hand towel - so important
liquid laundry detergent - I did way more sink laundry than I planned
carabiners - for attaching stuff to your backpack or bag
hard drive - I had way to many pictures to back up on a flash
backpacking backpack - bought one for $20 in Vietnam
more cardigans - perfect for the ship
my favorite nail file - if you absolutely love something, bring it
hair wand - There are a few occasions when you will want to get dressed up
big map - for everyone to sign at the end

Things I didn’t need to pack
text books - if you hardly use them at your home university, then you won’t use them at all on SAS
visor/hat - if you don’t wear it at home, then you won’t wear it abroad
go girl - i’d rather pee on my legs than carry around this gadget
crisp american money for myanmar - they prefer their own currency
sleeping bag liner - used it on my bed on the ship, but never took it off
nail polish - other people had it, so I used theres

What I’m glad I didn’t pack
a lot of clothes - you will buy more
room decorations - you will buy these along the way too
tv shows/movies - some how I didn’t get board, and other people have them if you want them
Hiking boots - running shoes are enough
dress for Alumni Ball - I found one in Morocco

Posted by juliaaugh 12:25 Archived in USA Tagged packing sas packing_list semester_at_sea what_to_bring how_to_pack spring_2014 packing_tips Comments (0)

(Entries 31 - 40 of 40) « Page 1 2 [3]