In my life in Cape Town, I rely on five main modes of transport: trains, taxis, buses, friends, and feet. I’ll give you a brief overview of each so you can get an idea of how this chick gets around town. 

1. Trains: Cape Town has a pretty solid MetroRail system. When I was living in Muizenberg, I took the train to and from work. I love the way trains move, the way musicians and vendors walk through trains with things to sell, and the way people on a broken-down train quickly become friends. 

2. Taxis: Taxis are one of my absolute favorite things about South Africa. They probably deserve their own blog post. You see, “taxi” here does not mean the same thing as “taxi” in NYC. Here, that is a “metered cab.” A “taxi,” or “kombi,” is a mini-bus. Most are 15-passenger vans, and in most parts of South Africa, that means they fit 15 people. In Cape Town, however, a 15-passenger van can fit up to 23 adults (ask me about that story sometime).  Basically, you wave down a taxi as it drives past you on the road, hop on, and tell the driver to stop when you want to get out again. They are usually blasting house music, hip hop, or R&B. There is a taxi that goes from my neighborhood to the Bellville Taxi Rank, where a multitude of taxis sit, waiting to fill up with passengers before they leave for their different destinations. Taxi rides, locally, are no more than R20, and you can get to a lot of places using taxis. Granted, you might have to take three separate taxis to your destination, but you’ll get there. I love love love sitting in a taxi, crammed with a bunch of strangers, listening to ridiculous music and a variety of languages, and looking out the window at the city I now call home. 

3. Buses: Buses here are pretty much like public buses in the U.S. They are sometimes late, sometimes crowded, but usually just fine. I take buses on Fridays to the church office where I work, and appreciate the relative peace and quiet compared to taxis and trains. 

4. Friends: If I need to get somewhere that public transportation doesn’t go, I am lucky enough to know a few people with their own personal cars. For the most part, people in my community don’t own their own cars. However, there are a few exceptions. I enjoy car rides with friends for the chance to have conversations or sing together to songs on the radio or discuss just how crazy it is that people in the U.S. drive on the other side of the road. 

5. Feet: Let’s be honest, this is my main mode of transportation. I have two feet attached to two legs, and they get me just about anywhere. Currently, I walk to and from work, the post office, the grocery store, or just about anywhere else I need to go on a typical day. Even if I take a bus, or a taxi, or a train, I will still have at least a 10-minute walk to and from the vehicle I will get on. One of my favorite moments of my daily life is turning onto the street that leads to the hostel, and knowing I am nearly home. Walking means I often end up sunburned or soaked in rain or freezing cold, but I get to where I am going and I am able to take time to think, appreciate the beauty of my life, and pray. 

After a year of relying on these varied and usually convenient forms of public transportation, I worry a bit about transitioning back to Arizona, where the public transportation system isn’t great. Even though I will have access to a car, I hope I remember to take public transportation whenever possible. It is a chance to meet new people, take in the world around me, and appreciate the diversity of each day.