My first time there came as a complete surprise. One night at a bar with some Canadian friends, we were hanging around a Scottish pub called Mitchel's drinking a drink called fishbowls. They are literally a fish bowl with 8 shots of alcohol in them. One is probably enough for 2-4 people, because it comes with 10 straws in it. But in true Canadian style, the four of us each had our own. People were actually coming up to our table to ask what the hell it was we were drinking
. Some of the staff even made comments that we would not be walking out of there. They were almost right. It wasn't even because they were to strong, it was because we drank about 3 litres of liquid, which is a hell of a lot of liquids. Anyways, back to the point. On our way stumbling out of the pub, there was a table of Brits who had made a sign saying that they were selling their tickets to the Brazil vs Ned. game in Port Elizabeth, at basically half the face value. This was too good of a deal to pass up. The only problem was that the game was in Port Elizabeth, and the game was at 4 pm. It was then midnight. That would leave me 14 hours to figure out how the hell to make this happen, which sounds like a lot, but it was cutting it close. My Canadian friends were leaving for Johanessberg at 5 am, so they were not interested in the tickets. I ended up buying two. Who the hell is going to come with me, on a few hours notice to Port Elizabeth?? I figured I would first go and ask Moritz, Angelina's son, the lady whose guest house I was staying. I ended up waking him up at 1 am, and he was eager to go since he had only been to one game. We scrambled to a computer to look into flights. All booked, Shit!! Plan B was to drive, but we would have to leave by 6 ish in the morning. So we went to bed immediately hoping to get atleast a few hours of shut eye before we left.
At 5 am, Angelina took us to the airport to get our car
. Very few were even left because of the demand that comes along with the world cup. We saw three other guys dressed in Brazilian gear renting a car, knowing they were going the same way. We hopped in our very sporty Hyundai Atos ( piece of ......) and started cruising. We were on the road before sun came over the mountains, which added to the amazing drive. This route is commonly known as the Garden route, and known for it's beauty. It didn't dissapoint. I will never forget coming over a mountain top and seeing the Indian Ocean for the first time. As far as the eye could see, pure white sand. The worst part, was that we were on such a tight time frame, we couldn't even stop to stick our toes in the ocean.
We ended up making to PE with about an hour to spare before kick off. I was really excited to see this game, because this likely one of the only chances I would get to see Brazil play, hence why I bought the tickets. I had too much money invested in Brazilian gear to not go. As my Brazilian friends would call me.. a wanna be. Whatever, I am in South Africa watching Brazil play, that should almost make me more Brazilian than them!! ;-) The atmosphere at this game was quite possible the best out of all the games I had been too, just because of the intesity. As you all know, Brazil lost the game after being off to a great start. It was quite the sight. There were grown men from Brazil, in tears...crying
. I went over and gave this one guy who was all decked out, face painted, green and blue feathers in his hair a hug after the game. All he could so was just sniff a bit, give me a pat on the back too because I was wearing a Brazilian flag around my neck and jersey on, and go back to his little corner to console himself. It was quite the sight. After the game, we went to the water front to see what kinds of after party PE held. We ended up sitting at a picnic table with some crazy Dutch fans that we singing and chanting away the evening. There was even Dutch police officers there to make sure that their country would not get a bad name from rowdy partiers. Moritz, who was German, was looking for tickets to tomorrow's game of Germany vs Argentina. He made a sign and posted on our table with hundreds of people walking by, reading " Willing to trade girlfriend for tickets!" It ended up working for him back in Cape Town, but it sure got a lot of attention from people. A lot of good laughs too. The only bad thing was, people looked at me, as if I was the girlfriend. Ummmmm, I don't think so.
The second time I was to visit P.E., was with my buddy Matty. I was really looking forward to spending my last game at the world cup with a buddy from back home. Up until the world cup, the best soccer game I had ever been to was with Matt, Benfica vs Celtic in Toronto. I knew that this would basically be taking it to the next level
. The two of us had also booked an appointment at Bloukrans bridge, just outside of P.E at the worlds highest bugee jump. At 217 meters, it was one hell of a drop. On paper it sounded like a great idea. But went you actually have to walk across the bridge to get there, you are walking along just thin gates of steal. I almost didn`t do it. If it wasn`t for Matt I probably would have chickened out. It was crazy. I remember thinking as we were driving there, they won`t make us jump... it was raining hard. I was wrong. `Suit up!` the lady at the front desk told us. The first person to go was a girl. How can I chicken out after watching her go....I would never live that one down. It`s all in the video. Trying to get myself into a mental state of throwing myself off a perfectly bridge. Easier said then done. I hope to get it online with this post. You can actually hear me say I don`t want to do it anymore. They carry you to the edge and almost push you off if you don`t go. All I really remember on the initial drop was seeing the ground getting closer and closer, 5 sec free fall, all the blood rush to my head, then came the rebound. You actually bounce back up over 100 meters which is INSANE!! I remember thinking after that first bounce....I am still alive. Since it was raining, you could actually look at a rain drop and follow it down at the same speed. It was a complete sensory overload. After I did it, I was glad that I did. Not to say that I would do it on a regular basis, but now I have another badge to add to the collection
. World`s highest bungee jump.....done. Next??
After my second visit to Port Elizabeth with Matt and my host Brandon, Matt had heard of these cave that were rather spectacular. They were the Cango caves. I knew nothing of them, and Brandon had never left Cape Town before. So we all agreed to go and check them out on our way back. Also I forgot to mention that Brandon was amazing enough to lend us his car, and I got to drive. One of my favorite rules of driving in South Africa, people drive on the shoulder to allow you to pass. Once you pass, you flash your four way flashers to say thank you. I LOVED this rule. We even came up on a police officer at one point.....and passed him! You could never do this in Canada, you would be pulled over in a heartbeat. The caves, when we finally arrived...were spectacular. It felt like I was at Fraggle Rock. Unfortunatley, the pics don't even do it justice.
Finally, I would like to thank Brandon and his family, for being gracious enough to let me into their home, lending us your car, and all your help. I will never forget you guys. Thank you thank you thank you!
So....Port Elizabeth. I visited this city twice during my time in SA. Both visits were rather short, one only being a few hours for a game then jumping back in the car to get back to Cape town for a game less than 24 hours away. This is quite impressive because of the distance, 700 some odd kms. A lot happened in this area, but first I have to explain to you how it all came about.