Travel Tuesday: Cape Town, South Africa

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I love the experience of meeting new people and seeing new things. I enjoy getting into the heart and soul of a country, and I try to fraternize with the locals as much as possible on any journey. I always bring home three things: a piece of art ( postcards count!), a magnet for the fridge, and a Christmas ornament for my mom.

Cape Town’s a beautiful and vast city. South Africa is really far away, guys. This was my third trip to an African country, and since then, I have made two more trips. I’ll let the photos explain for themselves.

I love Cape Town, and I love Table Mountain.

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I went in search of the conference center upon landing and it was as if God’s little birdie was on my shoulder, guiding me which way to go. After literally running into my hotel room, a five minute outfit change, I was at the front desk, asking the concierge where to go to the conference center. If I was good at directions, I’d tell you; I made it without any stops to the conference center, for my first time in a strange, foreign city, all by myself. It was amazing.

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While in the elevator going down to breakfast on the second day, I’m checking out the outfit on a stylish and elegant older woman. She’s staring at me too, as you do in a foreign country, almost asking with your eyes, “Can you speak English?”, but also, “Are you American?”, which we both investigated. She’s telling me about her work with Elder rights as a lawyer and aid to the UN. First time in my life I’ve been in an elevator in South Africa, asked a woman where she was from, and it’s 40 minutes away from my hometown in New York.

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Travel is a key component to my life. In 2011, I attended my first World Congress of the World Federation of Mental Health, in Cape Town, South Africa. Three weeks before the Congress, a colleague and founder of Global Mental Health Initiatives of NYC invited me to attend, so of course I said yes!

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the women of the South African Department of Health, and me.

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Cape Town is a place so cool and trans-formative that you’re able to feel it just by flipping through magazines in the airport. No really, try it. I have a great girlfriend named Melissa who helped me for the journey, as she’d lived there in college. Some of my favorite experiences on this adventure, were, like most things, stumbled upon by accident: craft markets, a dutch baroque art museum, a photography exhibit on African fashion in the ’60s, and so on.

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Noticeable and notable Cape Town things: Nelson Mandela’s prison cell, Table Mountain, Cape Town’s insanely colorful fashion scene, some remaining racial tension between black and white South Africans, the host of a world cup, and influenced by the Dutch.

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As I was leaving my hotel to venture forth to the airport, these women, who were staying in my hotel, asked me to take a picture with them, as they were vacationing from Johannesburg. I agreed, and when we started talking, we realized we were all in town for the World Congress of the World Federation of Mental Health. They’re mostly nurses and social workers.

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2 thoughts on “Travel Tuesday: Cape Town, South Africa

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