I arrived in Durban late at night in front of a crazy bus stop. I found a cab and the driver phone Roydon to get directions on where to go. We eventually arrived in the beautiful neighborhood where I would be spending the next few days. Roydon showed me to my room and had my duffle bag that I had mailed him sitting next to the bed. I was just getting settled when I realized I didn’t have my phone. I instantly knew I left it in the cab. Thankfully, Roy had the driver’s number from giving directions, and we had the cab pull over and met up with him. My phone was in the back seat. Once again, I lucked out!! I really got to keep better track of my stuff.
The next few days I spent the time booking a trip to Zanzibar for New Year’s Eve, researching Israel, and hanging out with Roy’s friends.
We went to a waterfall one afternoon, the falls in the middle of nowhere next to railroad tunnel. It was breathtaking. I have never stood under a waterfall before and decided this would be the perfect opportunity. I climbed up the slippery rocks to reach a ledge where I could sit. The water rushed over me with more force than I expected. I closed my eyes to focus my senses on the sound and feel of the water. It drowned out all noise and washed over me with such might I found it hard to catch my breath. I pictured the scene from The Last of the Mohicans where he promises to come and fight for his love before grabbing her and disappearing into the water. I wasn’t captured by Native Americans and I didn’t have a man fighting to save me, but I was swept in by the romance of the moment. There is a great book called Captivating that talks about a woman’s heart. There are two things every woman wants to know: she is beautiful, and she is worth fighting for. This is imbedded in us as little girls, and as we age there is still that desire within us even though we experience the harsh realities of our world. But I truly believe we were created for this kind of love. When we are fought for and walk confidently in our beauty, there is nothing that we couldn’t do. It ignites a strength in us. A strength that would swim an ocean, cross a mountain, and bring a new life into this world (woman power rant).
Later that evening we went to Sean and Caren’s house. We had a Brie, listened to music, and enjoyed each other’s company. Caren told me she had something for me with a big smile on her face as she handed me a gift wrapped in Christmas paper. I gave her a huge hug and was almost in tears as I opened the gift. This was the only gift I received this Christmas and it meant more to me than I could express to her. Although I barely knew her, she made me feel at home and a part of the family.
Roy and I went back the next night to hang out again. Caren and Sean remind me of my sister Nikki and her husband. They are in their early 40’s and still in love. They make passes at each other from across the table, gross their kids out, and have so much fun together.
As I packed my things, I thought about how blessed I had been in South Africa. It is truly an amazing country. My one-week adventure I was supposed to spend there had turned into six. Obviously, I had fallen in love with this country.
Roy dropped me off at the airport where I was to fly to Zanzibar for New Year’s Eve. I heard it was beautiful and decided to stop for a few days on my way to Abu Dhabi. Roy dropped me off at the airport, and I thanked him for opening his home to me and sharing his friends and the city of Durban.
Afrikaans people are very proud of their country and culture and with great reason. They are some of the most genuine, kind, and hospitable people I have ever met. I was sad to leave but ready to see what adventure was to come next. There is a trust there as well, that you would not experience in the USA. Many of the backpackers had an “honor system.” They would have a community kitchen with snacks, beer, wine, water, and soda. You would help yourself to whatever you wanted and just write down what you would take and pay when you left. My credit card wasn’t in file with any them, and I would check and help myself to water and snacks. Many of them didn’t even ask for my payment. I would go to the desk and say, “should I pay now?” The reply would be, “You can pay today or tomorrow. Whatever you like.” Someone could walk in, stay the night, drink 10 beers, leave the next day, and never be charged. But they don’t. It’s the trusting travelers spirit that they rely on, and it works.
Here are some phrases I learned.
They say, “See you just now,” instead of saying “see you later.”
“I’ll meet you guys for dinner at 6,” I would say.
“Sounds great. See you just now,” they replied, and then walked away.
This makes no sense! Lol
They say,”is it?” At the oddest times.
“I’m going to go for a walk,” I would say.
“Is it?” They would reply instead of “You are?” … or …
I would say, “I need some water. I’m thirsty.”
“Is it?” Would be the reply.
Although I have prided myself in packing light for this journey, there are a few items I left behind. The countryside was so beautiful and the grass so soft that I went barefoot as much as possible (yes, even on some dusty roads and through mud puddles). I would go to hop in a cab barefoot and forget I wasn’t wearing shoes. In Lubanzi, I thought I brought a pair of flip flops, but I never wore them so I figured I left them in Coffee Bay. Turns out, I just never wore them in Lubanzi and left them somewhere at the backpackers.
Between Cape Town and Coffee Bay I left my sleeping eye shades, two tanks tops, two long sleeves, a pair of flip flops, a scarf, and my bungee jumping DVD (so bummed about that one). These are just the items I’m aware of. It is possible I left more. Even though I didn’t see it for weeks, I still have my passport (knock on wood).
South Africa is definitely a country that has it all. Add this to your list of must see places! It has mountains, beaches, safaris, wild horses, exotic flora, European architecture, brightly colored huts, and a laid back vibe with a rasta feel.
After three flights, a long layover, and no sleep in almost 48 hours, I arrived in Zanzibar. Flying in over the crystal clear ocean, white beaches, and scattered islands has me excited to explore the island and looking forward to ringing in the new year!