Two cool guides and the art of sharing
Trip Start Jul 19, 2009
160Trip End Oct 25, 2010
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Where I stayed
Outside the village a boy stands waiting. Without introduction or explanation, he joins us. (I'm trying to figure out the South African etiquette and it seems putting you in the picture is not cool.) Cheerful and willing to please he not only takes my bag but is good company, larking about, making us laugh. In due time he tells me his name is Terron, he is Ntokoze's cousin, hoping to sell his beads in Coffee Bay
I think I'm getting it :)
We walk down the beach, tides and rocks permitting, or follow the goat paths over the mountains. Strenuous, to say the least, no wonder you never see a fat goat!
After a while a small, crummy hut dooms up and a bunch of unkempt people smile in welcome. Inside it is dusky and shabby; it must be some kind of shop, though by the looks of it, more of a shebeen. We plonk down on a rickety wooden bench opposite two ladies who are drinking beer - drunk or well on their way. They are a sight! They obviously think the same of me, giggling, pointing, making loud remarks I can't understand. I ask can I take their picture and they love it, laughing their heads off, they are not used to cameras or foreign ladies.
Ntokoze translates - they want a drink. Beer or whisky. One of them spits on the floor when I suggest Fanta, oh dear, what now? I compromise and get them a big bottle of beer to share. But the woman who grabs it won't part with it and it ends up in a fight and me wishing I hadn't given in.
Meanwhile my boys have bought soft drinks and fresh Xhosa bread, passing me some, and I never knew plain bread could be so good
We still have a fair way to go and the weather has taken a turn, the wind is ferocious. High up it is almost impossible to stay standing and the very breath is knocked out of you.
When I ask: 'How far yet?' the answer is always the same: 'Almost there now.' People say the Xhosa will tell you what they think you want to hear. Well, I supposed it worked because if I had known we still had miles to go I might have lost my pluck. But what if I had a heart attack or simply sprained an ankle? I decide not to look up any more but just put one foot in front of the other and think about sitting around the fire tonight, making light of this little endeavour.
Anyway, we do, finally, reach Hluleka, where we will be spending the night. Sitting regally in the back of a pick-up truck we enter the little town. On the road to the village the driver took pity on us - lucky, lucky!
My abode is humble, nothing more than a mattress on the floor of a mud hut. Kind of ascetic though, I liked it.
I was duly impressed and thought: 'Maybe there's a lesson to be learnt here.'
Later it dawned on me that I was the one who actually paid for the food :)
.......to be continued