It takes roughly two hours to get to Muizenberg from Stellenbosch. One train from Stellenbosch up to Muldersvlei, another train from there to Cape Town, and then another train from there to False Bay. I would walk into Muizenberg from False Bay. It seems like quite the trip but it really isn’t that bad.
When I got off the last train, I was giddy with excitement like a little kid. I was home again and I had a huge grin on my face as I walked the familiar road to Recreation 13.
I still had my keys to the house that I plan on returning later to get my deposit back. I let myself in and was expecting to see someone but no one was home. It was an empty house. Everything looked the same so far. I walked into the living area and boy has it changed! It looks like the new group of volunteers here are some party animals. The room was decked out in balloons and there were glow sticks hanging from the ceiling. Booze was aligned atop the fire-place and there were playing cards scattered on the floor. It looks like they just had a party last night. On one wall there was a sign someone made that read “Dino Land” and underneath it were pictures of a bunch of dinosaurs the volunteers drew. It was a little random. I didn’t expect to see my collage I left for my housemates; but it was still in tact! Even the notes I left for everyone was still on the wall. I thought the newer volunteers would have tore it down by now. It seems that someone has followed in my example though. On another wall, there was a montage of photos of my group of volunteers. Judging from the pictures it looks like either Tessa or Andy put them up, since most of the photos are of them. I’m assuming it’s Tessa, because she had a secret crush on Andy (It never was a secret haha).
Lucy texted me earlier that if no one was home, then they were at the surf shack for a special event going on for Women’s Day. I left the house and walked to the shack along the beach. I have never seen the beach filled with so many people. The waves were some of the best I’ve seen here too. However I didn’t bring my trunks to go surfing today. I got to the shack and low and behold, there was Dave. He was surprised to see me because he had thought I left South Africa for good. Dave has been exploring other endeavors since I left. He told me he’s leaving the shack and starting his own touring business. He is going to start taking people along the Garden Route and to any other excursion they want for a rate that’s cheaper than most places. If only I didn’t have my other life to get to back in Michigan, I would take over his position at the surf shack and live in Muizenberg for a while. That would be cool! I asked Dave if he’s seen Lucy and he said he saw them earlier by the beach. I told Dave I’d see him later for surfing.
I scanned the beach. No sign of Lucy. I didn’t want to call because I wanted to surprise her but I also didn’t want to walk around aimlessly; so I called her. She was at Kneads and she met me outside. It was nice to see a familiar face again but she said I looked really different with my beard. It’s been sweet not having to shave everyday :). I usually have to for work. I followed her inside Kneads where she was having lunch with three other volunteers who I have never met. Jamie (Alberta, Canada), Larry (California, U.S.), and Spencer (Indiana, U.S.). They were the new kids in town who live at the Rec house. They all were very down to earth and we swapped stories of what I’ve been up to and what has been going on in Muizenberg since I left. Everyone else at the house was at the Garden Route. Lucy and I caught up and I reminded her how she pinky promised that when I came back, we would sky dive. She was almost shaking in her boots. But she promised! I just have to find a day when it wasn’t raining! It rains all the time here during their winter. (If I comeback to South Africa, it will be during a different season. Screw this rain!)
But today, it was nice outside so we took advantage of it and decided to walk along the scenic coast to Kalk Bay. We did a little exploring and as we walked we passed our favorite hotspot in town, Brass Bell. Remember, Brass Bell is the karaoke bar all the volunteers would go to every single Tuesday night. It always turned out to be a great time and churned up some interesting stories the next day afterwards. Lucy let me in on heartbreaking news: the volunteers don’t attend Brass Bell anymore on Tuesdays! Mainly due to the fact that for some reason, karaoke has been canceled and the bar hasn’t been anywhere near alive as it used to be. This was sad news because I wanted to go back to Brass Bell at least one more time before I left Africa. Bummer.
Other than that, we headed back to the Rec House. I was starving and was anxious to see what they were going to get for dinner. Back when I was living here, there were two dishes that I hated the most that they served us: fish-sticks and mystery sausage. Tonight they were given fish-sticks. Blahh! So we all opted out and decided to go eat curry at an Indian restaurant near the beach. Much better! Outside the restaurant I saw some of the kids who were in the surf program when I used to surf here. They remembered my name and were surprised, but happy to see me again. It was nice to see them doing so well.
The night ended with the five of us playing card games in the living room for a good chunk of time. I’ve learned a few games here in Africa that I will bring back home with me for sure. I remembered that some of my original group of volunteers left goodbye notes for me in the house because they knew I would be returning again. I read them all. Ahh memories :).
I spent the night and slept in a vacant bed the new volunteers have prepared for me. It was good to spend the day back in Muizenberg and meet some of the new volunteers who turned out to be pretty cool. I invited the four of them to come and visit me and my kids in Kayamandi in a couple of weeks. I had to go to bed a little earlier than I wanted to. I had to wake up early to make sure I got back to Kayamandi in time for Mawande and Aphiwe’s birthday party :).