Sun, sea, sand & poorly penguins (well, just 1)

Trip Start Jun 07, 2008
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Trip End Jun 06, 2009


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Flag of South Africa  , Eastern Cape,
Saturday, August 16, 2008

Hi Guys,

We're just waiting for pizza to arrive so I thought I'd start updating you on our adventures over the last 2 weeks (we're having a lazy day in Oudtshoorn as it has been raining and it's really cold, which is pretty much unheard of, so it's a day of sofas, blankets, romantic comedies and pizza - perfect). We're saving the Cango Caves (anybody seen the Descent?), the wildlife ranch and the ostrich riding for tomorrow....followed by chasing meer cats on Monday....so looking forward to that...whoop whoop (oh no, that's the noise hyenas make....ok, starting to lose the plot...I need to eat).

Ok, so after the Drakensberg we made our way down to Durban, which to be honest could have been any western town in the world.  We partied one night, went for dinner another and acted like total kids at the aquarium one afternoon...the dolphin and seal shows were brilliant.  Windsor Safari Park would have been proud!  Damn Legoland!

After that we started making our way down the coast, stopping at the places that took our fancy.  One of the highlights included surfing in Coffee Bay.  We were throwing 360s within minutes of being out there....ok, well maybe not...the photos speak for themselves....if we weren't horizontal on the boards we were wading back to shore to catch them, or under water cleaning out our sinuses!  Man that stung by the end of the day.  Although  I did actually manage to stand up a total of 3 times and rode the wave for longer than a few seconds at one point...total fluke though!  Dot also managed to stand up....whilst the instructor was holding the board...ok, she's just corrected me that she did actually stand up by herself for 2 secs.

We also did a 10k walk to the Hole in the Wall, which was just what it said on the tin. The scenes were again idyllic...shame about the sounds though....we were singing Disney songs at the top of our voices to pass the time and to get through the pain.  We let off steam that evening at the Jungle themed party.  Dot went as a Jungle Fairy, covered in palm leaves (there are quite a few butchered trees in the Bay now!) and I went all out as a monkey.  I carved my ears out from bark with my pen knife, made a tail out of my bed socks (yes, I still get cold feet in Africa!) and I painted my face with a combination of Dot's eyeliner pencil and red and green PVA / acrylic paint tint.  I have to say this did worry me slightly and it was a huge relief when it all glided off with ease onto my wet wipes.....though 6 wet wipes later it looked as though someone had been massacred in our dorm room.

After all the action of Coffee Bay we were pleased to rock up to Chintsa, where we spent a few days just chilling out on the beach, where I spent my time watching bronzed Spaniards playing frisbee whilst Dot and new friends of ours collected shells on the beach for their sand fortress (we're so over castles!).  We then had a long journey to Port Elizabeth, which was literally just a stop over, arriving at 11pm and leaving again at 7am.  My god it was a bad experience though. The dorm stank of boys (smelly trainers, BO, cigarettes, wet dog, aka damp clothes), the bunks shook every time one of you turned over and someone tried to break into the hostel at 5am!

Jeffrey's Bay more than made up for the PE nightmare though.  We shopped 'til we dropped in the Billabong outlet store and I kitted myself out for Australia.  Whilst I loved acting like Lara Croft in my safari gear, I have to admit that there's only so much of khaki that a girl can take and 2.5 months was obviously my limit!  After 20 years since my last horsey encounter, Dot managed to convince me to go riding with her on the beach.  I'm so pleased she did; It was amazing.  We rode across pristine sand dunes down to the beach, leaving 3 trails of hoof prints behind us (they weren't 3 legged horses!).  Our guide pretty much left us to it, but just went ahead leading the way.  It was whilst we were riding along the shore front that we met Jeffrey.  He was lost and confused and really rather ill, so we gave him a ride back to town.  Oh, and I should mention that he was also a penguin!

We took him to Wimpy (well, where else do you take a penguin?!) and the local animal rescue centre came and picked him up. I was a little concerned leaving him there though...there are lots of strange delicacies in Africa...although I have to admit that Penguin biltong is not something I've seen hanging up in the local supermarkets, but you never know!  None of us thought he'd pull through as he was in a really bad way!  We've since received a call to say that within hours he was re-hydrated and back on his feet and that he'll be released back into the wild in a month's time.  Wooohoooooo, go Jeffrey!  And yey us for saving him!  Normally they name the penguin after the person that found them, but he was worried that he'd get taunted by the others with a girly name, so we went for Jeffrey instead.  In fact, maybe that's how he ended up in such a bad way in the first place....hmm, never thought of that.
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