Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Backpacking - Wednesday March 19 and Thursday March 20, Day 6 and 7 – Mossel Bay

After kloofing we boarded the Baz Bus headed for Mossel Bay. On the Baz Bus I struck up conversation with a British man who had just done the bungee jump, I later found out that he stayed with Kevin and Chris and jumped with them, as well. He strongly encouraged me to do the jump. We had been on the Baz Bus with this guy between Plettenberg and Wilderness, and I sat with him again between Hermanus and Cape Town. We talked a lot and I found out that he's currently spending a year traveling the globe with his friend. They've been in Africa since the first week of January and are heading to India April 4th. From there they're going all over Asia, Australia, Europe, South America, then ending Time Square on New Year's Eve - we hope to meet up. He was a really interesting guy.

Between Wilderness and Mossel Bay the Baz Bus stopped for lunch at a mall – the first I’ve seen, and parked in the McDonald’s parking lot – also the first I’ve seen. We Americans refused to eat at McDonald’s so rushed to eat lunch at a café instead.

When we arrived at Mossel Bay, we boarded the abandoned train that our hostel was housed in. The rooms are inside a stationary steam engine on the beach. It was very cool. Although the accommodations weren’t quite as nice as many of our others, it was very cool to sleep in a train on the beach. As we were unloading our things from the Baz Bus trailer I looked over to see a car pulling up with Kevin and Chris. We were shocked to see them, as we didn’t expect to see Kevin again until we got back to Grahamstown. We all ended up in the same dorm and the group of us headed down to the beach. After some lounging on the beach exchanging Dane Cook quotes we got showers and had dinner at the train. Then we got a cab to go to the nearby casino.

Grace, Sonya and Ryan got the first cab and I waited with Chris and Kevin for the next one. As we waited we met a nice German man named Stefan, or “Germany” as we now call him. We invited him to join us at the casino and we all spent a few hours there. I only gambled 10 rand and won 11, so I gained one rand. I was pretty proud of myself. The boys, on the other hand, did much better. Both Kevin and Chris were playing blackjack. Chris ended up losing over 500 rand, while Kevin was walking out up 200 rand. We called a cab and waited nearly 2 hours for it to come. Towards the end of our wait Chris told Kevin he was feeling lucky and they decided to place one bet on roulette. Five minutes later they both came back up another 200 rand each. We were pretty jealous. When the cab finally arrived we decided to pack the seven of us, plus the driver into an Audi sedan. It was a difficult task, but we managed. Grace had the most uncomfortable ride sitting in the front passenger seat on Germany's lap, face pressed into the windshield.

The next morning we had planned a boat ride to Seal Island, but due to weather conditions – it was pouring - we sat around and eventually went shopping instead. To get to town to go shopping we followed a shady set of railroad tracks blindly to a set of a stairs ending in town. This was all in the name of saving six rand (less than $1). Once there we hit a few cute little shops in Mossel Bay. One of the last places we visited was a large community art studio. I ended up talking to the owner who then introduced me to one of the artists, a young man from the local township who was heavy into drugs and crime before finding his talent as an artist. His work is upbeat and reflects township life through rose-colored glasses. He was a sweet, shy boy and I was really honored to meet him. I purchased a few pieces of his art. He, along with one other boy, gets the full profit for their work, rather than just a commission. I was happy to support him.

When we got back we grabbed a quick lunch and hit the Baz Bus again headed for Hermanus. The ride was long – about four hours – but they entertained us with a crappy movie. I attempted to sleep. We made one stop before getting off in Hermanus. Kevin and Chris continued on to Cape Town.