Thursday, February 26, 2009

A visit to UCT

The University of Cape Town is supposed to be one of the finest institutions in the world, or something like that. While I'm not particularly interested in going into a diatribe about academic merit and all that boring rot, I will say this: it's a very pretty place. The upper campus possesses that delightful mixture of aesthetic and function that you'll only find with older architecture, and most of the paved pathways and side roads offer some truly astounding sights.

Here's an example of the Green Vine Monster devouring parts of campus that it deems unworthy.

Of course, it's the students that make the University, and I was fortunate enough to arrive on campus while they were holding their annual “RAG Olympics” – a charity event that involves students getting bruised, dirty and stupid. You know, the sort of stuff that all future leaders are good at.

The crowd bays for blood. Or maybe alcohol.

The Olympics entailed such noble events as stair racing (sliding down the Jameson stairs on a cardboard toboggan), trolley racing, tyre hopping and – of course – the mandatory downing of some sort of disgusting liquid. It was quite vibey and pretty impressive, not least because there was a promo crew hanging around and giving away free ice cream. I could get used to this sort of thing if I was a student here.

I spent a bit of time in the plaza being a great big show-off and juggling for the nearby students. Then I went to grab something from the food court at a nearby campus block known as Cissie Gool Square. This was awesome for two reasons. One was that the name was pronounced “sissy ghoul”, which is just plain rad. The other neat little tidbit about this place was that it was a freaking miniature mall complete with shops and outfitters.

After studying at a place like Rhodes University , with barely over 5000 students to its name and situated in a tiny town, I find the idea of another institution's food court dwarfing our entire social quad to be rather frightening.

They. Have. A. TELEVISION.

So after feeling like a small-town hick for several hours, I decided enough was enough and headed back home for some R&R (catching a Jammie Shuttle because, again, the varsity is just too damn big to walk across). A word to the wise: as hippy and nature-loving as it may seem at first to prance about barefoot, don't ever do it during a hot summer day. And if you do, stay away from the roads. The mutinous, blistery mass that was once my feet can testify to that. Never again, I tell you.

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