April 25, 2017

The Harsh Reality of Bo-Kaap, Cape Town.

bokaap Cape Town, travel blogger guide
Cape Town blogger guide, copper garden
I didn’t want to write this post because I didn’t want to taint my trip to South Africa with something less than perfect (how stereotypical blogger of me) but these images couldn’t be shared in any other way. I couldn’t allow myself to sugar coat an outfit post or Instagram shot by pretending nothing happened. I couldn’t give my usual witty humour though this post or spread some motivational quotes or whatever else I’d have written when in reality, this was one of my worst days. I just needed to let myself spill out every thought and move on from it.

Its all still so raw having been only a couple of days (at the time of writing this) and each moment brings a realisation of something else that was taken from me. An item which is irrelevant to them but probably meant something to me. I know in reality its all material things that can be replaced but the shock of being stolen from is fresh and something that has never happened to me before. Something I never imagined could happen.  

travel style, copper garden
Cape Town things to do, bo-kaap
copper garden, Cape Town must see areas, bo-kaap
Bo-Kaap is a small town just outside the centre of Cape Town, famed for its streets of brightly coloured houses. All of the pictures that you see online make it look really beautiful (especially when the sun is shining) and its a pretty big tourist spot for that typical ‘Cape Town’ shot. Funnily enough, it was going to be part of my ‘instagrammers guide to Cape Town’ but now I’m not so sure.  To be honest, it is lovely and reminded me of Notting Hill but even 5 metres up the road is little shacks that reflect the poverty of South Africa and the saddening truth about how some people have no other choice but a life of crime to feed their families. Obviously not every person living in poverty turns to crime, but the crime rate in South Africa is surprisingly high within townships.
bag stolen abroad, copper garden
copper garden, bo-kaap colourful houses, girls uk travel blog
So let me explain a little about what happened.. on Thursday, a couple of us headed down to Bo-Kaap which is famed for its brightly painted houses and a popular spot for tourists looking for some beautiful pictures to take home from their holiday. The streets are lined with people from all walks of life and the amount of smiley faces gives an almost chilling feeling to me now. We spent no more than 30 minutes (less than 20m from our car) taking some outfit pictures and admiring the coloured architecture and during which time, someone had smashed through the car window and stolen two rucksacks from the back seat. Between Ellie and I, most of the contents included makeup, sunglasses and clothing and stupidly, mine also included my MacBook. I know you’re instantly going to think about how stupid we were for leaving our bags in the car but they were actually so well hidden that these criminals must have broken in on the off chance they’d find something of use. 
Looking back, we actually know who did it. We all spotted the same two guys walking up and down the road, staring into each car and taking extra time with ours but being naive we thought nothing of it. The same guy walked past and gave me a knowing stare while we were cleaning up the glass too, bastard. But either way, I could sit and dwell on the past or reflect on things that could have been done differently but I can’t change the past. I can’t bring our things back or make them pay for what they did so instead, I’m moving forward and just thankful that we are all okay.
bo-kaap colourful houses, Cape Town must seebo-kaap Cape Town, travel blogger, copper garden
If I’m honest, there is just a great sadness. A sadness that someone could find no guilt or remorse from breaking into a car and stealing personal belongings. A sadness that most of my belongings were probably just discarded into a bush, way up in the mountain as its of no value to them, but every value to me. But most of all, a sadness that they turn to crime because maybe they don’t see another way of life. I’d be lying if I said that no part of me was bitter and angry about the whole thing but feeling angry won’t change anything. I’m just hoping that they at least sold my MacBook to afford food or clothing for their families – rather than drugs or alcohol to fuel a fix.
From now, there is going to be a line drawn under the whole thing. I mentioned it to you guys purely because I like to be honest and completely transparent about my life and everything within it. I also wanted to pass on some newly learnt wisdom – don’t leave anything in your bloody car haha. I think moving forward, part of me is tempted to share the other side of Cape Town (or South Africa in general) – the side that social media won’t show you. The parts that nobody wants to admit exists; the townships, the people who beg through your car window at every traffic light, the amount of poverty, crime and even natural harm like bush fires.. but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. Travelling can be beautiful and full of happiness, but there are other sides to every place and we tend to only show the golden moments – I guess we all like to pretend the bad bits aren’t there.
Sorry for the little slice of sadness. 
travelling theft, stolen goods abroad, copper garden
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Jess | London Style and Travel Blogger

a twenty-something exploring the world with a double espresso and a camera.