Today I planned on visiting my old school, the Christian David Moravian Primary in Steenburg, and then heading over to my old seaside town of Muizenburg. Chris and Eric joined me and they both were pretty interested in finding out what my old school was like. We also were all game to climb Muizenburg mountain, the mountain that faces False Bay and served as the beauteous backdrop for my many surf days last year.
To get to Muizenburg, it takes two trains – one train from the Du Toit station near Kayamandi to Cape Town and then a train from Cape Town to Valsbaai. But I first wanted to go to my school which was about a mile or two outside of Muizenburg. Chris and Eric entrusted me with everything that was going on today, so in the morning we took a train at 10:05 am to Cape Town. This was Eric’s first time on the trains in the Western Cape, but since he’s here for a year, I’m sure he’ll be on these lines pretty frequently. Once we set foot into Cape Town, I decided to take a cab to Steenburg instead of a train to save time. I found a driver for a somewhat decent price. No one knows where the Christian Primary School is, but I asked him if he could take us to the Steenburg train station, then I could find the school from there. So off we went!
The driver took us to Steenburg…or at least the sign read “Steenburg” but nothing looked familiar to me. He dropped us off at the train station like I asked, but there was so much construction work going on that nothing looked like how I remembered at all! It definitely was Steenburg and it definitely was the correct road, so I figured we could just walk from here. It shouldn’t be too far. After about an hour or so of walking aimlessly, I soon realized that the reason I didn’t recognize anything is because we were on the opposite side of the train station than what I was used to…oops.
So as soon as I crossed the tracks I knew where we were and it was relieving. Thankfully, Chris and Eric are troopers and didn’t complain at all the whole time. Sorry guys!
I kept glancing at my watch the whole time we walked towards the school. Because of my misdirection, I was concerned we wouldn’t have enough time to see all the students and teachers. It was a little past one. Last year, school didn’t let out until sometime after two so I was hopeful we had enough time. As we got closer to the school, I noticed how there were hardly any students running about as usual. It was quiet…too quiet. We walked in the gates anyways. And just like before, the school still had patches of big puddles in the middle of the school grounds. The teachers cars were still there. I was getting excited! But as soon as I turned to see the empty classrooms with the chairs placed on top of the desks, my heart just about sank. Noooo! We were too late! However, I still walked towards my old grade 1 class and wouldn’t you know it, Sandy Jacobs was there! Her face shined with joy when she spotted me walking in. She knew I was in South Africa, but had no idea as to when I was coming. I wanted it to be a surprise. Miss Jacobs was my grade 1 teacher last year and we have kept in contact ever since. She’s been keeping up on my travels and even was eager to meet Chris, who’s she’s read so much about. It was only 1:30 and the school is empty…what gives? Sandy told me that since next week is break for the students, they let out early this week since there isn’t much for them to do. Bummer! No worries because I do plan on visiting a few times before my time in South Africa comes to a close. So great to see her again and I look forward to our next meet up, which will probably be right after we take the Kayamandi kids on our Reaching Out 2 The World trip.
We left the school, but I was so zipped up from being here that I decided we just walk to Muizenberg, rather than catching a quick train or taxi. I severely underestimated the length from the school back to my old digs. It was a great walk though as I saw parts of my old hood that I never even knew existed. Anyone from Rec 13 reading this: Did you know there was a pizza place just a few blocks from the Rec House? Had no idea! We walked through the neighborhood and across the park. Our goal was to find some food after walking so much. I knew of a place that had great pizza by the name of Kneads, which is located by the Surf Shack. We FINALLY made it and went to town on some pizza, burgers, and whatever the heck Eric ordered. I still felt kind of bad for having Chris and Eric walk everywhere (We walked a lot!) and I was moved that they didn’t complain the entire time, so I went ahead and bought their meals. It was the least I could do and they didn’t expect it, but appreciated it.
After stuffing ourselves, I wanted to pop by the Surf Shack to see if Dave was still there. I peeked in and saw a rather, older guy behind the counter. I said “hello” and asked him if Dave was still around. He was, but he wasn’t here today. More importantly, I asked him where the start of the trail to Muizenburg mountain was located. He pointed us in the direction and off we went! A lot of volunteers from my group last year has climbed this mountain, but I never did because I was always occupied with something else going on at the time. But now was my chance!
The weather wasn’t really in our favor; it was windy, a little nippy, and a bit misty out there. Definitely not the kind of weather suitable for my Big Daddy (my Nikon), but I was able to brave the wet chilly weather and get some pretty cool shots as we hiked up the mountain.
It took about an hour to get to one of the higher peaks. From the top we had a view of all of Muizenburg including the areas we walked though. We could see most of False Bay as well. I think any mountain you climb in South Africa will present you with fascinating views because of how beautiful this country is all around. Muizenburg mountain was no exception. Chris shares in my enthusiasm to capture mind-blowing shots. I’m confident if the weather was better, we would have been on that mountain all day taking all sorts of sweet pictures.
It was getting mighty cold and wet so we headed back down and rewarded ourselves with ice cream from a store around the corner. There really is no better reward than a helping of ice cream. 🙂
On our stroll around Muizenburg, we walked past the Palmer House, which I don’t think volunteers stay here anymore, but I took a picture of it anyways for nostalgia’s sake.
We kinda lost track of time and I hadn’t really thought of how we were gonna get back to Kayamandi. It can get a little ugly taking the train in the evening and it stopped running at a certain time. We went to the Valsbaai station and took the last train into Cape Town but unfortunately there were no trains running into Stellenbosch from there. I headed to the taxi rank and saw the guy who gave us a ride to Steenburg. “How much will it be to Stellenbosch?” I asked him. “Normally 500 Rand.” he said. “But for you I will do 400 Rand.” Those words immediately sparked the ‘rip-off’ alarm in my brain. The same alarm that triggered whenever a seller in Southeast Asia would say “Normally this price, but cheap price for you.” They say that to everyone. I’m not that special.
But since it was so late, we really had no other choice. That is until Chris called Isaac and told him our predicament. Isaac told us to go to one of the bars along Long Street and he would pick us up from there. So thats what we did! We knew exactly where we were going. We went to a bar called Dubliners where Isaac eventually picked us up! This is the first time I’ve seen Isaac since I’ve arrived. He was happy to take us home and was more concerned that we were crazy enough to take the metro rail at night. Once he dropped us off to our home, we made plans to meet up with Isaac tomorrow and go out into town and reacquaint ourselves with Stellenbosch.
We were pretty wiped out from hiking all over Muizenburg. I almost immediately passed out as soon as I hit the bed. Visiting my hometown in South Africa definitely ignited fond memories from yesteryear. I’ll be sure to give a more in depth look into the Christian David Primary later on once I visit again.