Friday, October 8, 2010
Plettenberg Bay, South Africa
So this morning the tour trials continue. After a long night of toilet visits, no sleep and freezing my butt off, I awake tired and grumpy with the decision I am indeed leaving the tour and not paying for any of it other than my two nights in the hotel. Which since it was supposed to be a shared cabin situation but one of the families decided to stick together and sleep four to a cabin I got a cabin to myself. Turns out they felt that meant I should be paying for the whole cabin. No WAY! This of course created more drama but at this point, being sick and tired (literally!!) I didn’t give a rats rear end!
Next plan of action is to meet Clive and head to Plettenberg to rent a car. What a pleasant drive this turns out to be Clive is the MAN! I believe he knows everyone up and down the garden route and has a hook-up for you everywhere. On the drive, he finds us the rental car (Avis!) and then waits with us at the hotel where we are to pick up the hotel and while waiting makes a call to arrange a shark dive for me at a discount! I would very much recommend Clive to anyone .. he runs the Bloukrans Backpackers at the Bloukrans River next to the bungee jump!
Well, it turns out the automatic car I rented turns out to be a manual transmission Chevy Spark. This thing is truly small but it will indeed fit the three of us nicely thanks to Colm being so small. However the fun starts when I realize it is indeed a right hand drive car which means I have to shift with my left hand… hmm.. should be fun seeing as I a) haven’t driven a stick in over 10 years and b) never had to shift with my left hand! I am just thanking god the clutch was still on the left side 🙂
Before we set off however we decide that we should grab some food as we left early without breakfast. Not to mention we are on a GORGEOUS spit of land jutting out into Plettenburg bay in a magnificent hotel! With a 270 degree vista we decide to have brunch. It is a little less than perfect as we sit outside the jackhammers start up next to us breaking up concrete on the patio. But even that is not too bad. However as we walk by to our table some total random stranger sitting at a table holds his hands up to Colm and says “thats it.. put me in handcuffs.. take me away”.. wierd? So we order our food and while we are waiting the same strange dude who looks completely presentable decides to come over and ask to sit with us. Why not I say!
It seems he is convinced he knows Colm. Me I’m weirded out by this can.. but his story is absolutely like a train wreck you can’t not watch happen. First he has the worlds toughest job, then he has two houses and a huge villa in Cape Town he wants us to come visit. Then hes stuck at the hotel because his car was tampered with. End of the conversation this guy basically appears to be a day trader who has a yellow car whom some ex girlfriend poured sugar down the tank in. All in all, bizzarely entertaining, a bit creepy and pleasant to see him finally leave.
Well after brunch its about this time that I find the first indications of just how nervous Colm can be. It seems he thinks driving on the left side of the road is some incredible feat of intellectual ability beyond my comprehension. But really before we travel too far we decide that we should take a whale watching trip. It tuns out there is one right around the other side of the bay. So a quick pay, collection of the life jackets and a run down to the beach and we are on the “Fat Boy” on our way out to see some whales.
What an experience! The day is sunny and warm, the winds light and the whales a plenty 🙂 First sighting is of a right whale and to our pleasure she has a calf along side. We are treated to some lovely rolling and fin slapping and the pair of them swim right up to within feet of our boat! We see several more right whales through the day and a couple of pods of dolphin. All in all a glorious day on the water which as you all know is the perfect way to make me smile!
Unfortunately for me the side effect of the sun is me squinting like crazy all day since I broke my good sunglasses in Madagascar. But never fear, this is the land of look-alike products and haggling for everything. So on the way back to the car after the beaching the boat, I see a table vendor selling sunglasses. At first blush it looks like they are selling Oakleys.. of course I know this can’t be true and find that they are indeed Oakey’s 🙂 But they look good and given that I’m driving for the next several days I start the bargaining process and end up with a new sexy pair of $7 Oakeys!
Well the rest of the day is fairly sedate and we spend the majority of it driving to Moosel Bay to arrange shark dive for me the next morning. The drive is indeed lovely but it is marred a bit by the jittery jumpy man in the seat next to me who is watching me drive like a hawk… this doesn’t bode well.
On the way back form Moosel Bay which was pretty dead we stopped in Knysna for dinner. Unfortunately, grumpy Colm who can’t handle being a passenger in the car that is rented in my name is starting to drive me nuts. He wont navigate because he thinks if he doesn’t that I’ll let him drive. Little does he know my history with rental cars in foreign lands is terrible. On two separate occasions I have been tried to be charged thousands of dollars for damage to a car that I never put there. I do not want to let others drive my rented car because I don’t wan’t to take that risk again. Too much trouble. But he is struggling. However we finally find the beautiful harbor in Knysna and decide to have dinner.
Unfortunately my case of Africa Arse that has been with me for a couple days now is ratcheting up a notch today. So while I really want to enjoy a lovely seafood dinner by the water I can barely eat anything and agree to eat at a mexican place I believe.. honestly don’t remember because I am in too much pain and nothing tastes good. This however being the case I do relent and allow Colm to drive back to the hotel where the Nomad group is touring.
Again, due to the 1 hour in the bathroom followed by a 30 minute visit every hour and a half all night long I don’t remember much about this place other than the shower got the floor all wet whenever you used it and the toilet worked beautifully 🙂
Pictures & Video
Big Mamma and little chap
Beautiful drive to Moosel Bai
Dinner in Knysna Harbor