Cape Town Day 1 (Vlog) | V&A Waterfront
A new continent off my travel list! Never have I thought that I’d go to Africa before visiting Europe. I didn’t really know what to expect, but I’ve heard a lot of good things about South Africa. Prior to going on this trip, my only knowledge of the Country is the delicious biltong beef chunks (hands down way better than beef jerky.) Usually when I travel, I do quite a lot of research before hand and plan out what to do. I’ll search online the popular places to go and things to do, plot them all on a map including whereabouts of my accommodation, and then figure out the transportation. After a quick search online for main tourist attractions, I then find travel guides from the bookstore to get some more local & unique spots to visit. Surprisingly I went to 4 major bookstores in Hong Kong and couldn’t find a single guidebook on traveling in South Africa. I guess Asians are more interested in destinations like Japan, Korea, Thailand, and the Philippines.

After 16hrs of traveling (Hong Kong to Johannesburg to Cape Town) I finally set foot in Africa.

The view you get when flying in to Cape Town is absolutely stunning. You can see waves hitting the shore of the bay area with smooth white sand, and in the distance there are miles of majestic mountain ranges. In the more suburb areas circular patterns with different green colors show you the different crops growing down on the farms. Just as you pull in to the city, you see Table Mountain, covered in a blanket of fluffy white clouds. It’s almost like someone took a blade and just chopped off the top of the mountain, it’s so perfectly flat it doesn’t look real. And as you get closer to ground, you see the different neighborhoods perfectly sectioned. Townships look completely different from everything else.

Walking out the airport, my first impression of Cape Town reminds me of small town America, somewhere like California where it’s sunny and you can feel some sea breeze. However the landscape and plants are completely different. There’s a lot of nature surrounding the city. My favorite things to look at are the trees. Just like from the childhood classic movie, The Lion King, you can see trees that are very tall with skinny trunks but very wide thin span of leaves on top. But because South Africa’s climate is so diverse, you also see pine trees, palm trees, and warm climate trees with bigger leaves all in Cape Town. You also see a lot of trees growing side ways, anywhere from a slight tilt to almost flat on the ground. That made me laugh non-stop when I first saw it. In my mind I was thinking “ Go home tree, you’re drunk.” After only realizing that it’s actually because the wind blows so strong in Cape Town it makes all the trees grow sideways instead of upright.

From Cape Town International Airport to CBD (Central Business District) is a short 30-minute drive. We’re staying at Protea Fire & Ice hotel. It’s a pretty famous chain of hotels in South Africa that has many branches throughout the country. The hotel has a very trendy vibe, with a minimalistic d├ęcor. Right across from the front desk there’s a row of glass tables with classic board games like chess, and some DJ headphones hanging from the ceiling in clear display cases. In the back there’s a restaurant and bar where they serve these famous gigantic milkshakes. The hotel room also had a modern look where the shower room is right beside the bedroom with clear glass from the floor to the ceiling.

After checking in, it was about lunchtime so took a stroll to the Waterfront. Heading towards the Waterfront, we pass by Wale Street. This is a famous street seen in some music videos and a lot of Pinterest photos especially. The small one-story houses here are all painted in different vibrant colors. Recently Cape Town was named the World Design Capital, and that definitely lives up to the title. We also walked through the CBD area, which was unusually really quiet with less than a handful of people to be seen. It’s a Sunday so that makes sense. But quietness, darkness, or not a lot of people around doesn’t mean good things in South Africa, so we hurried our paces to the Waterfront. There were some homeless people lingering around or just sitting on the grass. Some more hardworking ones would try to sell you Santa Hats or a Magazine. Usually they mean you no harm and won’t pursue after you kindly reject them.

V&A Waterfront is basically the go-to place for shopping and eating. It was packed full of people and getting a table at the many restaurants they had was still difficult. We ended up going to “Quay Four – Upstairs”. The outdoor seating provides a fantastic view of the entire waterfront. You can see big cruise ships docked at the side, as well as yachts coming in and out of the harbor. There’s seagulls sitting on the water surface just floating up and down with the waves. And if you’re lucky, you can see some seals as well. In the distance there’s music coming from the street performers playing traditional African music. There’s no better way to start this amazing holiday! Quay Four’s specialty is seafood, so we ordered about 20 oysters and a seafood platter with King Prawn, Queen Prawn, Mussels, Langoustines, and Calamari. And the oysters are so cheap compared to what you pay in Hong Kong. I can easily have a dozen per meal.

After enjoying a long relaxing lunch, we went to the Waterfront mall just to pick up some essentials. South Africa’s sun is very harsh, if you forget sunscreen you’ll get roasted pretty quickly. So we picked up some of that as well as a full set of shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and face wash, because let’s face it, all hotels have a shittier version than the cheapest brand you can buy. When it comes to drug stores, “Clicks” is the one to go to in Cape Town. It’s like a SaSa in Hong Kong, a Duane Reade or Walgreens in the US, and probably similar to Boots in the UK. My favorite things about these places – drug store make up. The brands in Clicks is pretty different from drug stores in Hong Kong. I picked up the famous Rimmel Apocalyptic Lip Gloss that YouTube gurus have been raving about, and also a Wet n’ Wild eye shadow Pallet. Besides that I also went to Cotton On to grab a sweater because it was unusually windy and chilly in Cape Town, especially at night. I packed clothes ready for 30C but it was more like 20C.

Defeated by jetlag, we passed out after going back to the hotel. I woke up to shower, but was too tired to even call and wait for room service so I just slept till the next morning. (And woke up at 6am, great.) 

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