Well, yesterday was National Woman’s Day and I think that America should take a hint from South Africa… as we got the day off of school! National Woman’s Day is a holiday that commemorates the national march of women on August 9 in 1956 to petition against laws that required African people to carry a “pass,” an identification document that limited an African’s freedom of movement during the apartheid era. Ironically enough, both African and white women participated in this march together. People here actually did recognize women yesterday and there were even free flowers at the grocery store! But, hands down the best part of the day was the no school factor. For me, it meant sleeping in and a whole lot of adventure and fun with friends. We spent the day hiking up Lion’s Head, a famous mountain here in Cape Town located between Table Mountain and Signal Hill. Despite the hike only being just about an hour long, it was an exhausting and tiring workout. Fortunately the weather was extremely nice out so we were able to take full advantage of the day. We started just a bit after lunch and hiked the entire route up to the top of Lion’s Head, 2,195 feet above sea level. The hike was pretty steep and there were quite a few obstacles along the way. We spent awhile at the top just taking in the spectacular views of the city of Cape Town itself, Robben Island, and the surrounding beaches. We were starving when we reached the top but fortunately we brought some snacks and had a bit of a picnic. I decided that I would move to Cape Town then invest and establish an ice cream stand at the top—I’m sure it would see a fair amount of business, especially during the summer!
Classes are still going well, although they are pretty demanding… well, more than what I expected anyways. In fact, I guess UCT is pretty prestigious… something I was unaware of! The university was established in 1829 as an all-boys school and it is the oldest university in South Africa and the second oldest in all of Africa. The school has constantly been ranked pretty high in the World University Rankings, ranging anywhere from the low to mid one-hundreds and it is considered the best university in all of Africa. So much for my easy semester… just kidding! However, the lecturers (also known as professors back home) are very strict and demanding—expecting quality work despite the assignment. I was shocked when I learned that we are required to turn in a cover sheet and plagiarism declaration along with every assignment… even small tutorial assignments. So there are quite a few, little adjustments that just take some getting used to. I am also very impressed with my biology teacher, Mike Picker. The guys is incredibly brilliant and although we’re learning about invertebrates (not my favorite topic), he keeps the class interesting. Last lecture, I learned about the order of insect Ephemeroptera (common name: mayflies) that has quite a short lifespan, between thirty minutes and an hour once it matures… a little ridiculous if you ask me! But anyways, like I said the guy is brilliant. For 87 years, it was accepted that there were thirty orders of insects. In 2002 however, my professor discovered a thirty-first order, named Mantophasmatodea, here in South Africa… so I guess he’s pretty famous in the bug-world?!?
Well, I’m off to finish homework for the night—miss you all at home and I hope that you are enjoying all that is left of summer!
P.S. I have uploaded quite a few pictures online to Facebook and in case you don’t have facebook, here is the link to take a look: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.1961760566518.2100364.1317930078&l=8a3659abf2On the hike up the mountain