Well our tour made it to South Africa.Â It made itÂ here a couple weeks ago and while I’ve been traveling around I’ve also managed to neglect my blog…sorry aboutÂ that.Â Pictures are now posted and I’m happy to report that I’ve received a certificate for the World’s Highest Bungy Jump, however,Â I was upset to find outÂ they don’t issue driver’s licenses for riding ostriches.
The Mother City
Cape Town is a gorgeousÂ city.Â Take theÂ geography of San Francisco mix it with the architectureÂ and scenery ofÂ Miami then add aÂ splash of New Orleans on Long Street and that seems to be Cape Town.Â It’s a pretty laid back town with a really interesting history.Â I spent a couple days here when we first arrived saying goodbye to new friends and trying to feel out Cape Town.
I climbed Table Mountain togetherÂ with a friend from the truck, Regi.Â We severely underestimated the difficulty as Reg can testify from the large number of blisters on his feet.Â Reg wore Birkenstocks and after taking a short detour on the easy route we decided the trail marked as dangerous, difficult to navigate and only for experienced hikers was more our speed – Reg also climbed Kilimanjaro at the beginning of his trip.Â It wasn’t butÂ a couple minutes later that we realized the water we bought moments before heading up was going to be very useful considering our departure time right under the mid-day sun.Â We made it to the top in roughly an hour and a half with the majority of “hiking” actually being rock climbing and scrambling.Â It was a really fun climb and we both enjoyed the excercise after being on a truck for several weeks.
Baz Bus – Outdshoorn
After spending some time in Cape Town, I headed off on a 7 day tour on the Baz Bus, a really neat hop-on hop-off bus that takes you right to the door of your hostel.Â I headed out with Mandy, an Australian girl that I met on the tour and Niki, her friend who was visiting from Australia.Â I went as far as Storms River in the Eastern Cape before having to say goodbye and turn around for a full day trip back to Cape Town.
Our first stop on the bus was in Oudtshoorn, the self-proclaimed Ostrich Capitol of the world. Â I would have to say I have never seen more ostriches, ostrich eggs and other ostrich related goods in my life.Â Our first day there was spent in the Cango Caves, a remarkable network of caves.Â We took the ‘adventure route’ along with 30 grade school children.Â Almost more remarkable than the caves was how well behaved the kids were.Â No talking, single file line the whole way and as each of us made it through the tight crawl spaces we arrived to cheers and applause – not bad!Â Some of the spaces were less than a foot wide in parts and had us slithering on our stomachs and climbing on wet smelly rocks.Â I thought it was great though.Â The girls were a bit dissapointed to see that the tour just after ours was an Argentinian rugby team…
Later on that day we went to a zoo of sorts which had an amazing amount of really cool animals.Â We saw white lions (which I had no idea existed), white tigers, cheetahs and more.Â Jo (a girl we met on the Baz Bus and who started traveling with us) and Niki went to pet the cheetahs and tiger cubs.Â Jo sprung for the extra package and went cage diving with a crocodile.Â This was perhaps the most awkward experience I’ve witnessed.Â Placed in a cage Jo was literally dropped on the crocodile to get the thing to even budge.Â Finally after several nudges the crane operator managed to get the croc turned around facing Jo for a great photo.
The next day in Outdshoorn was the real reason we headed there – riding an ostrich!Â I got to hold an ostrich chick, kiss an ostrich, stand on ostrich eggs (while doing the ostrich mating dance) and best of all ride an ostrich!Â Riding the ostrich was really random and they honestly are some of the dumbest animals out there.Â For some reason the ostrich doesn’t think anything is happening if it can’t see you.Â So first they put a bag over its head, rendering it completely useless and manuever it to a place where you can hop on.Â Lean back, wrap your legs around the front tightly and grip the wings.Â A simple lift of the bag and the ostrich realizes what’s happening and before you know it you’re on the other side of the pen about to run into a fence.
Plettenberg Bay and Storms River
Plett Bay was really a pretty mellow place where we ended up going to the beach and cooked a really nice meal in about 5 minutes flat. We did have a pretty great time there at night though. The initial thought was that we would have a fun night and just head out to a local bar for some fun. Well we ended up dancing and singing to a reallllly terrible cover band, crashed a wedding (for about 1 mintue – some guy told us to come to a party) and then tried to go to some clubs with another Argentinian rugby team the girls met.
Storms River turned out to be quite a short stay, but an eventful one. We were only there for one night and we went to bed early so we could catch the first bus to the highest bungy jump in the world. We got there, did the jump and were back all within 1 hour! It was crazy and fun and a bit stressful because I had to catch the Baz Bus that was headed back to Cape Town right away! I managed to get back to the hostel just as the bus had pulled up and they were throwing my stuff in. I said a sad goodbye to the awesome girls I had been traveling with and headed back to Cape Town.
The Mother City Revisited
I headed back to Cape Town in 1 day from Storms River. The trip was pretty long after getting picked up at around 10 am and then arriving at 9 pm. I stayed at the Ashanti Lodge in Cape Town again because Long Street Backpackers was a bit much for me. I just wanted a place to chill out and relax before heading back. I booked a Township Tour when I arrived for the following day. The tour took me back to the District 6 museum and then on to the townships. It was a really sobering experience to see how the majority of people in Cape Town live. These so-called townships were really just slums. It was similar to slums I had seen but only driven past in Buenos Aires and Lima. To hear stories from the people there and to see how they live day to day was incredible. It really made me appreciate what I have. Seeing what had happened there and what was still happening angered me, it just seemed so archaic. Being in South Africa at times gave me the feeling of what it would have been like in the ’70s in the United States, not long after the Civil Right movement.
I’ll Be Back…
That was all for me in Africa. It was an AMAZING experience that I will never forget! I can’t believe 2 months went by so quickly. I am now back in the United States. I’m actually in Orange County, CA right now as I write this. I came back about a month ago for a variety of reasons (bag was heavy and I wanted to unload, missed seeing Teresa and friends, planned on taking a roadtrip, easier to get to Asia, etc.). I headed out here about 2 weeks ago with Matt Nafziger one of my best friends and roomates at Purdue. We took a roadtrip from Chicago to Orange County and it was incredible. Matt is out here looking for a job and hopefully finding one soon!
My plan now is to head from LA to Hong Kong then on to Southeast Asia, India and Nepal over the next 4-5 months. I have a laptop with me and I’ve slimmed down my bag tremendously. Posts should be more frequent and hopefully with some cool media (I’ve changed around the format of the site and added a video section).
That’s all for now, stay tuned!