Saturday, 14 January 2012

Thoughts on Cape Town

I've often been told what a great place Cape Town is, but have had few opportunities to acquant myself with the Mother City. All I knew from my very limited prior visits is that I'm not fond of the Cape's weather and that the flora is not to my liking -- a prefer the more lush broad-leaf greenery of South-Africa's sub-tropical East Coast.

However, over the past few days I've spent with my brother, I've slowly come to appreciate what Cape Town, as a city, has to offer. It is a vibrant international city with a remarkable mixture of antique and modern design. I'm yet to visit the museums, galleries, or arthouses (that's planned for either Monday or Tuesday), but even from just walking passed galleries and designer shops, one can get a feeling for the creative spirit of the place. Another thing that has really impressed me is the public transportation system. It is still far from what I'm used to in South Korea, but compared with the rest of South Africa the new system of busses and trains are pretty impressive. I can only imagine how much it would have improved in a few years (when I may consider returning more long-term to South Africa).

The greater Cape Town area also contains three big universities: The University of Cape Town, which is positioning itself as the greatest university in Africa; Stellenbosch University, a well established international university; and the University of the Western Cape, a self-proclaimed "people's university" that counts such renound figures as Antjie Krog as one of its faculty. Not to mention all the other smaller colleges -- all potential places for me to work. (I actually received a job offer at the natural therapy mission station at Helderberg College during my trip last year when I visited, but since I was still at the beginning of my new contract at the university I work at in Korea, I didn't really considered it seriously.)

Cape Town also offers a variety of recreations that I'm interested in. There are plenty of theatres, cinemas (including art cinemas), and live music venues. There is also a variety of martial arts, but also opportunity for me to open a martial art centre of my own. Although there are both Taekwon-Do and Hapkido gyms, the is enough seperation between them for me to find my own niche as a Korean martial arts instructor (teaching ITF Taekwon-Do, Hapkido and Yusul). Furthermore, Here is an active Parkour community for me to join. Dane Grant, the "Father of Parkour in South Africa", who introduced me to Parkour some years back, relocated to the Cape. There is also scuba diving opportunities, although I'm not too keen to swim in the icy Cape waters.

With all this in mind, I have to consider Cape Town as a possible destination after my time in Korea comes to an end. Cape Town is also one of the hot spots for Koreans visiting South Africa, making it a nice transition zone, lest I become a little "homesick" for Korea.
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