Cape Town- the destination- Rich R

December 12, 2008 at 7:55 pm 9 comments

NOTES ON A PLANE – AFRICA, the PLACE, the PEOPLE
Part onetwothree fourfivesix
capetown-sea2

It was a rough night sleeping, new surroundings, new ‘noises’ during the night.
Waves crashing against the break wall not very far from my room. Early in the morning, cars rushing by…people walking, doors closing, the sound of birds that I never realized existed. At least not in real life, only in the movies.

This morning, looking out my window, I noticed people on the rocks where the tide had gone out. They had bags in their hands, picking something up. Later on that morning, I found out they were going to the sea to get clams and other edibles that came in with the evening waves. Free food! Too bad I don’t like things like that, I thought to myself.

I had to go down to the water’s edge to see what it was like. As I walked, I looked around, a lot of people walking their dogs, jogging, bicycles and just sitting their in the sun. It was quite chilly so I had to wear my jacket! The water was very blue-green and glistening as the sun shined on it. Huge cargo ships were awaiting their turn to get into the harbor for unloading. Cape Town is a major shipping point from all around the world!

After a wonderful breakfast at the hotel, I went back up to the room to nap. Try to get my bearings and get some type of sleep pattern, which I realized later on, just would not happen! It was time to get ready for work. We were on the 2:30 to 11:00 p.m. shift and the driver would be there around 1:45 or 2:00 to take us to the new site in the old industrial area of Cape Town.
teltech TelTech Cape Town
Turns out that the site is where the old Lion Match and Razor Blade factory was located. The African government is putting a lot of money into the renovation for the creation of jobs. My current understanding is that there will be approximately 2,500 employees. They’re “ramping” up for the event. Construction inside, and outside…getting ready for full force.

A driver by the name of John picks us up at the hotel. Smiling and greeting us as we enter the van. He is very happy to see the other trainer again and meet me. Laughing, and smiling. Very difficult to understand at first. I have to make a concerted effort to listen closely to what he is saying. He explains the different venues as we drive past.
devils-point Devils Point

Driving through Cape Town was a trip. I’m not used to riding on the opposite side of the street, let alone with 3 lanes of traffic, sometimes almost bumper-to-bumper. We just went past the new stadium being built for the 2010 World Cup. Cape Town is sprucing up for this major event! It sure is going to be HUGE! Next area? Virginia and Alfred Waterfront…talk about a shopper’s/diner’s delight! People, stores, ships everywhere!
On around the corner, looking up at the center of Table Mountain on the freeway. Seeing the trees sway and soon feeling the van shake from the wind! Here to find out, if the wind is not at ground level coming from the ocean, the higher winds hit Table Mountain and flow down across the city from the other side.

We pull up to the site, the site. Not in the best part of the city yet I see they are working to make the surrounding residential areas nice. Row houses! No ‘yards’ so to speak, fences everywhere. Some graffiti and some abandoned buildings. My mind wanders off to a previous time, wondering what it was like in its heyday. I can just imagine how nice it once was. John does say that it is not safe for us to walk around alone. No problem with me. I don’t plan on venturing in this area!
neighborhood

The site is beautiful. Restored brick, paver drive and parking lot. Security guard out front, right across from St. Michael’s and all the other Saints Anglican Church! Again, another wall around it to protect it from the people!

The guard waves us in. We get out, go inside. Beautiful facility – very state of the art!
Security greets me and gives me a temporary badge until the supervisor comes in to do my fingerprint and photo badge. All grinning a mile wide to greet and meet another American who will be training their people.
security

Fingerprints allow agents and people in the call center area. The guard lets me in through another locked door. Not many people there yet. Some taking calls, others waiting for class to begin!

Jack introduces me to a couple of the supervisors that he knew from his previous training experience in Cape Town. They are very warm and welcoming to me and almost everyone has asked if I have had the chance to eat and how my accommodations were. Well-knowing the time it took to get to Cape Town. I remember back, leaving my home in Lorain at 8:45 a.m. on a Thursday and getting off the plane in Cape Town at 6:30 p.m. Friday evening. The time change was 6 hours ahead of home but, looking at the travel time is mind-blowing.

Jack shows me to my classroom. They have named all of the training rooms after American Football teams. Funny, I thought. Later on, I wished they had not. Why?
They are losing their heritage….too many things are becoming Americanized through the influence of our movies and music!

My room is the Minnesota Vikings room! Purple walls and about 26 computers. I enter the room! There they are, about 24 young Afrikaans, only 4 guys, the rest girls! Dressed quite like a lot of the young do back in the States. They kept looking at me, waiting to hear me speak.
students

Nervous? HECK YEAH I WAS …..nobody to introduce me. It was my ‘gig’ so to speak, so I had to start things off!

“HELLO CAPE TOWN! My name is Richard and I will be your trainer for the next 5 weeks!” They smiled and said nothing more. I asked where I was. One person said…”you are in Cape Town, South Africa” with a very proud voice. I smiled as they all did. My next comment, I was not sure how they would take it but, here goes …..”Well, if this is Africa, it is beautiful. Definitely not like anything I’ve seen in the old Tarzan movies!” Laugh? Yes, they loved that comment. That broke the ice; they were ready to learn about me, about my family, America and my travel there! Me? I was hungry for their cultural experiences and the knowledge they had to share with me.

I knew right from that moment that this was going to be a life-changing experience and I was ready for it.
To be continued……

Entry filed under: Africa, opinion, travel.

Haul out the Holly and Jolly Now! The List shortens- Dec 14th

9 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Luyola (DIDI)  |  December 13, 2008 at 11:52 am

    Hi Mr. Richard, just to confirm that is wanderful what you

  • 2. Rich Robbin  |  December 14, 2008 at 1:25 am

    I hope everyone is enjoying these small articles. I never thought in a million years I would visit Africa, let alone write something people around the world are reading! If anyone from Cape Town reads this, please let me know if I am wrong in some of my “names’ of places….Alot to remember 🙂 Rich

  • 3. Sisbaw  |  December 16, 2008 at 3:35 am

    Rich,
    You’ve got my attention! I love your writing style. Keep it coming.
    Barb

  • 4. Marcel  |  December 17, 2008 at 3:58 pm

    Hey mandala it was really amazing to have you around here .

  • 5. Richard Robbin  |  December 17, 2008 at 8:32 pm

    Hey Marcel! It was an amazing experience for me….the ‘MADALA”…..the “old” one according to John, the dirver.

  • 6. Patty Thomas  |  January 29, 2009 at 3:33 am

    Rich, So happy you got to experience Africa, Bill would love to go there. Enjoyed reading the article, would like to read the rest of it. When will it be on here?
    Also congrats on the news of Tara’s baby – I know you and Ellen must be thrilled.

  • 7. Shaan Snyders  |  May 4, 2009 at 11:48 am

    Hey Richard, I’m glad you enjoyed your stay at Teletech as well as Cape Town. I work here at Teletech… love the pics

  • 8. Lois Flowers (Lewis)  |  August 16, 2009 at 11:01 pm

    Hi Rich—

    You probably do not remember me. I am so impressed–not only with what you are doing but also with your style of writing. We graduated together. What has your life been like and where are you living? Who did you marry and how many kids? Have a wonderful day

    Lois

  • 9. Donna Crnko Clark  |  August 25, 2009 at 4:58 pm

    Hi Rich,
    It’s been a long time since CHS!! We graduated toegether and are planning a class reunion with the classes of ’64, ’65. ’66 and ’67. for July 18th, 2010. Where are you living now? If you get this note, please respond. I see that Lois Flowers- Lewis also wrote to you. Can you give me her email address? I look forward to hearing from you.
    Donna

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