Everyone told me it would be like this.
“Cape Town is such a small town.”
“It’s so easy to learn your way around.”
“You’ll be running into people you know all the time.”
Everyone told me, but I still doubted. Until last night. Or actually, the night before.
One of my coworkers was performing some of her poetry at an artists’ night at a Ragazzi’s, a bar with a coffeeshop vibe that you have to enter through a stairway in the back of an African curio shop. Her performance was great, and on our way out, I ran into Dylan Valley, a Capetonian filmmaker who screened his documentary Afrikaaps at one of our class sessions.
Turns out that Dylan is friends with Yumna, another one of my coworkers who was also there watching Nina perform. So that was fun.
Then, yesterday after work, the whole CRF crew headed to Neighbourhood on Long Street for happy hour. Several hours later (I guess it was more like a happy hours), I came back to our apartments where Sarah G. had invited some of her coworkers from Bush Radio to come and hang out. Her coworkers brought friends and I think some of those friends brought friends, so there was quite the scene going by the time I arrived. After some more socializing (including an awesome discussion with a guy from Angola about what we were doing the night Obama was elected and what it meant to our respective communities), we headed back out to Long Street, where someone knew about a club that was supposed to be playing great house music. Turns out this “club” was Ragazzi’s, the same place that one night before had a vibe somewhere between funky bookstore and independent coffee shop.
The next stop was Space Bar, further down Long Street, a smokey, crowded, cheesy flashing lights-filled joint I hope never to return to. On the way out, I’m standing on the sidewalk, waiting for the rest of the group, and someone comes up from behind me and taps me on the shoulder. There was Nina and Mike, coworkers I had left several hours earlier with a “See ya Monday!” I guess Monday was just too far away for Cape Town. Not 20 seconds later, Kondwani and his cousin come bouncing down the same sidewalk. There were happy shrieks and hugs galore.
Maybe it’s not so hard to learn your way around here after all.