In the morning we had a continental breakfast outside on the veranda. We had been asked on check-in on the previous day if we wanted breakfast delivered to the room, like fools we turned down the offer only to find out that they deliver it through a hatch at the bottom of the door so you don't even have to open the door! After breakfast we packed and checked-out, the guy behind the desk mentioned our rather large bar tab - the bill had to roll-over to two pages of A5, quite large for a single night!
After loading up the car we drove to Knysna Lagoon. We got a bit lost initially, ending up at the docks but we got there in the end and parked in a supervised car park where the attendant promised us heartily that he would look after our car & keep it safe. We booked ourselves onto a cruise around the lagoon for R30 and went to a Café for drinks where there was guy in a portable bar (what a great idea!) who looked like the perfect stereotypical Dutchman, mullet and moustache included. We bought ice-cream and headed for the cruise which was a pretty good mix of narrated sightseeing and time just to be left alone to look around from the comfort of the boat. The cruise lasted for about 1½ hours and took us right up to the lagoon heads (but not through them), we then had a little wander around the shops and went back to the car. As we got to the car an attendant came over so James tipped him as the first guy had disappeared but as we were leaving the first guy came over and was trying to get another tip out of us!
We went back into town and parked back by the Wayside Inn in another attended area and went shopping, revisiting Metamorphosis where James bought a handful of gifts and I bought a case made out of number plates and some notebooks, I also bought a plain Ostrich egg from a shop further down the road. We were both running short on money around this point so we went to Nedbank where we could cash our traveller's cheques for free. The security was quite tough - one at a time airlock-style doors operated by a security guard (with a gun I think) but we got in after I realised that I had to close the inside door before James was allowed through the outside one. It took AGES to get the cheques cashed and we ended up bumping into the plumber who fixed the tap in the hotel, he gave us a bit of a funny look - I never worked out why.
After Nedbank we had a late lunch in a little pizzeria called Arnica, we both had the four-cheese pizza which was a bit heavy going due to the inclusion of some blue cheese but was nice all the same. Following a bit more wandering round we drove to another area of town to visit the Pick & Pay supermarket to get some more water & tried to buy some music cassettes as the car's radio seemed only to work sporadically. There were two mini-dramas where I thought I'd lost my mobile phone and also where I felt suddenly really ill & like I was going to pass out, it was a very hot day so a brief rest in the shade sorted me out. By the time we'd done in Knysna it was about 5pm so we headed off towards Port Elizabeth.
the way to P.E. we needed somewhere to stop for a break and I noticed signs
for something called The Big Tree. After shooting past the entrance (just off
the N2) and turning round to come back we eventually got parked-up and had a
drink. The Big Tree was 500m away through a fairly deep forest but thankfully
the Tsitsikamma National Park had put down a narrow wooden boardwalk to aide
navigation. The National Park people had also put information posts about every
hundred metres giving details of the types of trees and wildlife you get in
the National Park. Some of the more interesting wildlife includes Leopards,
Bushbuck, Bushpig, Ratel (Honey Badger), Blue Duiker; unfortunately we didn't
see any of these animals though I'm quite glad we didn't encounter a Leopard
in open forest. When we got to The Big Tree we could pretty-much see how it
got it's name - the tree is 36.6m high with a girth of 8.9m - an 800 year old
We finally arrived in Port Elizabeth at 8pm having found our way to Ann's house without a single hitch we also met Lou (Ann's daughter) and her husband Albert. One of the first and most noticeable things in the house was a cat with no hair on it's body at all, like Mr Bigglesworth from Austin Powers. Ann actually has three of these cats which are Devon Rex, apparently as they get older they slowly start to grow hair in tufts all over their body, the oldest of the three had hair over almost all of it's head. There were also three dogs, two belonging to Ann, the other belonging to Lou & Albert - funny little dogs but sweet all the same.
We had a couple of drinks then had dinner, I told Ann that I was a veggie and she put together something nice out of rice, vegetables and cheese. During the meal the conversation turned to the reasons I decided to become a veggie and eating habits in general, it's quite a bizarre thing to have a vegetarian in South Africa. In terms of eating Albert is a typical Afrikaaner and loves to eat meat, and to braai (barbeque). Two of the best quotes of the whole trip came from Albert:
"I could Braai every
"Cut it's hooves off, wipe it's arse, chuck it on a braai and I'll eat it"
After dinner we sat for a while chatting and learned a little more about P.E. and South Africa in general, this was the first time we'd really gotten to speak to native South Africans at length and it helped bring a perspective on the country and our journey so far. One of the subjects which came up was race, apparently there are separate black areas and white areas in P.E. as well as the specifically defined townships (sometimes referred to as 'locations'). There are many things that are part of normal life out here which you wouldn't even give a second thought back home.
After not too long we went
to bed, the trip had been quite tiring so far having packed quite a lot into
the previous seven days. We slept in a little cottage in Ann's back garden which
was good as we could get up whenever we wanted and do our own thing. Ann had
left us milk, orange juice and cereal for the morning and also took some of
our washing to do for us.
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