Monday, April 1, 2013

Exploring the Waterfront


March 27, 2013

Good morning Cape Town…again.  I felt more refreshed today after a good nights sleep.  Matt headed off with Tendekayi of Solar Ear to film a visit to their training school in a nearby town called Worcester (pronounced like “rooster” but with a “w” – Wooster.)  I went with the film crew in the morning to check out the V&A Waterfront for lunch.

The Waterfront was beautiful!  It was a very short walk from the ship, and it had a giant mall, the docks where you can take sailing tours and shark diving tours, a craft fair and a food market with multiple vendors.  We shopped around a little then found a place to get some delicious fish and chips for lunch.  I got the peri peri chicken sandwich.  I cannot express how much I love peri peri seasoning.  Matt and I had a recipe for peri peri chicken, but couldn’t find the sauce or the seasoning in the States, so when I found a little stand that was selling cans of it I bought one to take home.  I also found dry roasted peri peri cashews which also came back to the ship, but more than likely won’t make it all the way back to Colorado.  Far too delicious.
The V&A Waterfront area

After lunch we walked around for a little while longer and explored the shops and souvenir shops, then went back to the ship to gather our gear to shoot a Fireside Chat at the Nike Cottage later in the afternoon.  We got a taxi out to Camps Bay, which is about 15 minutes away from where our ship is docked.  It’s a beautiful place that reminds me a lot of San Diego.  Cool waterfront shops and restaurants and an amazing sandy beach that has Table Mountain in the background.  I couldn’t get enough of the view.

Our taxi driver dropped us off at the wrong location, and we had some trouble finding the town home that’s owned by Nike which they call the Nike Cottage.  It’s not a cottage.  It’s an amazing waterfront townhome with a pool on the deck and a view of the ocean through huge windows.  It’s groovy and relaxing and would make a great place to come and be creative.

Some statues near the food market.  We recognize
Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
We did some interviews with the people from the Girl Effect, which is run by the Nike Foundation, then set up for a Fireside Chat between Daniel Epstein and Matt Mullenweg who is the founder of Wordpress.  They got there late, but everyone did because the place was so hard to find.  It was numbered 1A and it came right after 139 on the same street.  I guess once the street curves a little, they considered doing a new numbering system not to confuse people…which completely confused everyone, including all of our taxi drivers.

The Fireside Chat with Matt Mullenweg.
The Fireside Chat – which is what we call it when Daniel interviews someone in a live setting – went really well.  We got to know Matt, and he’s a completely down to earth, very interesting and smart guy who had a great idea and ran with it.  Hence, Wordpress.  He had a lot of good advice about leadership and how to run a team that’s so spread out.  The advice I appreciated the most was that you need to empower your people and offer them autonomy to do their jobs.  The most important decision, he said, is who you hire.  If you can’t trust your employees to do their jobs and make decisions without you over their shoulder, you haven’t chosen the right people.  Hearing him speak really made me like him as a person.  He’s only four years older than me!  Gah!  What have I done with my life?

A new friend.
On our way to the next event, we had to walk a ways down the long winding roads on the mountain and found a giant herd of tiny, rabbit-sized creatures.  They all came bounding up the rocks to the fence next to the sidewalk that we were walking along.  They got very close, not seeming to be afraid at all.  We figured people must feed them the way that they came up to us.  I took a nice close picture, then saw this guy's little teeth and thought I should probably back up a little bit.  Turns out they call them "mountain rabbits" here, or the official term is a hyrax.  I learned later that their closest living relative is the elephant.  Who knew?
This is a beautiful place!

After his Fireside Chat, the group went to a restaurant called Moyo where another mingling and tapas dinner was hosted by a group of entrepreneurs in Cape Town.  They were all excited to meet the founders of the companies and hear more about what they all did.  We arrived an hour and a half late, so we felt a little bad about that, but there’s not much else we could all do about it since we were with Daniel and the rest of the founders.  They started up with the main speakers who thanked us all for coming, but they were out of appetizers since all the locals had been waiting for so long.  They all just ate and drank as they waited and there was no dinner left for the Unreasonable bunch.  It was our fault, I suppose.  The film crew ended up ordering extra dinner and enjoying a peri peri steak sandwich with, my ultimate favorite, French fries, which they call “chips” here.  No complaints.

Some African face paint at the Moyo event.