The beginning of the end....

Trip Start Mar 30, 2010
Trip End Dec 13, 2012

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#2 Ocean drive

Flag of South Africa  , Western Cape,
Thursday, July 8, 2010

Ok people, I feel as though the way I have been writting this whole blog thing is way to slow, seeing as all of you are still a country behind in my story. So I will try to fast forward you to present.  I am sitting on a deck over looking the Zambezi river in Zambia, and there is so much to tell you about here......but let's not get a head of ourselves. 

      Time to head back to my good ol temporary home of Cape Town.  This is where I would be watching the next few games.   I will spare you all from hearing about every single game, because having gone to six of them, it could all sound a lot alike.  I will give you just some of the highlights and great memories.  The rest....I will fill you all in when we meet again or for the first time in person.

      The next few days I spent kicking around the house in Kraifontein trying to rest up from my long travel.  I was to be heading to the Portugal vs Korea game with Brandon my host, his nephew Erle (aka Spenny), and Brandon's friend Cedric.  We were sitting in different sections, but that didn't take away from the excitement of the game.   We went for a cermonial Gatsby sandwich before the game, a huge submarine like sandwich with steak, french fries, egg and all other kinds of artery clogging goodness.   If you were ever lost in town as to where the stadium was....just follow the masses.  Everyone was in a great mood.  I was excited to visit greene point stadium because it would be the largest, nicest, most modern stadium I had been to.  Security was a little bit of a slow down getting in, which I found surprising, because when they came to me with my backpack, they simply poked the outside of it and asked me if I had any guns in it with a smile.  " Nope, left them at home....only grenades today!" I replied.  The lady just smiled and waved me through.  I'm not sure if this was a good thing or a bad thing that they were so trust worthy.  Either way, nothing bad came of it.   When I finally got to my seat, I sat down just in time to hear the end of the national anthems.  It was a cool feeling to be watching the game and wondering how many millions of dollars worth of football players there was playing, Christiano Ronaldo being one of them.  I thought I was doing good being decked out in brazil gear, until I turned around  to see a girl in a full out spandex suit, red and green with a monster wig on.  She looked like spider man with the face mask covering her face.  I had to get a pic.    She removed her mask to smile and ask me where I was from.  I told her Toronto.  She didn't believe me at first, then she explained why, she was from Kitchener.  And to add to the whole meeting, there was a canadian flag hanging on the other side of the stadium, directly across from us.  Her name was Natasha, and she was traveling with her friend Annie from the US.  The game ended up being one of the highest scoring games up to that point in the world cup with Portugal smashing Korea 7 -0.  Felt like we were standing up every two mins for another goal.  At these games,  you would always chose a side and just support them, even if you didnt care who won.  Brandon went and bought a North Korea flag prior to the game.  I was teasing him to see if he even knew the capital of North Korea.....Hell I don't even know and I have been planning a trip around the world.  I told him he was the darkest north Korean I had ever meet.  But I do have to give him props.  Long after the game and even they were sent home he kept that flag in the back window of his car.

      Later that week, Brandon's family home town was having a festival.  It was called Snoek and Patate.  Snoek is a kind of fish that they eat here in South Africa.  Patate is sweet potatoe.   The name of the town that was hosting it was called Goedverwhact, a small town roughly and hour and a half from Cape town in the mountains up the western Cape.  I had heard so much about this festival, and was looking forward to seeing what all the hype was about.  Bernadette and Esline, Brandon's sisters, Issac and other family members were all running a booth selling various chicken dinners.  Esline has told me that if she saw me eating anywhere other than from their booth....she would kill me.  OK then, mental note taken.

    This whole trip has been a massive learning experience.  Everyday you learn something new, and if you don't....your not doing something right.  Even if it's something simple like never try doing your banking at a ATM in Zulu, or always double checking what that tube is you just pulled from your toiletry bag, so that you don't brush your teeth with polysporin.  There was soo much info to be taken in.  Issac gave me a book to read on Nelson Mandela's life, which was really interesting and gives you a little bit of insight as to why South Africa is the way it is.  The people in this country are very proud too, they really want to impress the world.  If you ever spoke with a local here, they would normally have two questions for you.  #1.  How are you enjoying your time here in south Africa? #2 When are you coming back to South Africa?   It was almost as if it was their civic duty to help you enjoy your time here.   Even when getting pulled over at a random check point when driving back from a neighbouring city, the police couldnt have cared less about the registration of my vehicle.  They just asked those 2 simple questions.

    Since I was coming up on week two of staying with the family, I was really starting to feel like I was apart of it.  I was buying some groceries, helping cleaning, making fun of them, getting head butted by them, wrestling Erle.....They were pretty shocked when they heard that the canadian could cook too.  It was nice to do many outside things with them too, because there were almost as much tourists in their own city.  There were many things that they didnt even know about Cape Town that I would have found out and told them.  I really cherrished my time there and will never forget any of it.   One night I made them pizza, and they paid me a compliment.....They said it almost tasted like real pizza.  Wow...what an honor! :) 

    Halfway through my stay in Cape town, I was to move to the posh neighbourhood of Greene Point, which over looks the stadium.  It had been booked a year in advance, before I had even known Brandon.  It was a guest house, basically a fully furnished apartment that was in the basement of someones home.  That someone was a extremly sweet lady by the name of Angelina.  She helped me out very much while being there, doing anything she could to make me feel right at home.  Angelina's son, Moritz, was visiting her in while I was staying there.  He and I became good friends, even traveling to Port Elizabeth which is 7 hours away on 4 hours notice of buying tickets from some random guy at a bar.  Thats the way things roll down here during the world cup.  If tickets become available, you better be ready to do what you have too to make that specific game.

     While in Rio de Janeiro, I met some Canadians, Kyle and Andy, that were also coming to South Africa for the world cup.   All the games that there were to be watching were in Johanessburg though.  It was a great surprise to hear that they had jumped on a plane to come to Cape town and have a reunion tour.  To make it even better, we all got together for Canada.  I had completely forgotten about Canada to be honest.  I needed those guys to remind me about it.    They had a friend, Gary that I had not met before join us for the good day.  Started off at the Aquarium, helicopter rides over the city.  At one point in the flight, the pilot had us on a 90 degree angle banking down, and we were withing 10 meters of the side of the mountain.   Crazy stuff. Was great to see those guys again.  It was the first time I have met someone in my travels, in two coutries.  All the best in Asia boys. 

  Before I forget, let me all just tell you now what games I went too....before I forget.  That is the main question everyone wanted to know.  I know its a little late now, but here they are:

Greece vs Nigeria

Portugal vs N. Korea

Spain vs Portugal

Brazil vs Ned.

Germany vs Argentina

Germany vs Uruguay

   Everyone one of those games was phenominal.  You cannot describe the buzz that was going on, at every single game.  It was quite a spectacle.  Many of you saw most of these games on TV anyways, so I don`t need to describe them one by one.  

      Towards the end of my time in CPT, a friend of mine from Honda, Matty (we will refer to him as that to make things easier),  came to visit.  I had waited to do a lot of the touristy thing until he came down, so that I wouldn't have to do it twice.   Matty was only to be in South Africa for a week, so it would become a pretty action packed week.   We visted Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was jailed for almost 25 years, did the shark cage dive, which we only saw 1 shark for like 10 mins and it went away, and I ended up puking on the boat.  Yummy!  In my defence, it was by far the roughest seas I have ever been in.  The South Atlantic showed me who was boss that day.  Actually one kid almost got thrown overboard in a huge wave....well so some one told me atleast, my head was in the garbage bin.  I even took Matty to visit the family I stayed with in Kraii, to introduce him and to show him the cool family that hosted me.    I hope that he enjoyed his time here with me.  It was cool to be able to show him around too....almost like a local, since i had been there so long.

  The day he left, I rented a car to take him to the airport, and to drive the 2 hours back to say goodbye to Brandon's mom, cause I told her I would.  I hate it when people don't keep their word, so I was a man on a misson.   When we stopped by the family house in my pimpin Kia,  everyone wanted to come for the car ride.  Who am I to aruge?  We had 5 adults and 2 children packed in this car, and somehow we would manage to squeeze Antoinette in there as well.    It was quite the site for me, but for them...this is just how you get around.  I started saying my goodbyes to the family members one by one.  It was the beginning of the end...which sucked.     Alvin, Brandon's older brother took us around for one last session to show us off and steal oranges from some random persons backyard.  And of course he gives me the bag to carry full of oranges.....this way the "white guy" can be the one to blame. 

         My last weekend I was in town, it was time to say farewell to all the great friends I had met.  I was invited to a braii (bbq) with and potche kos (food cooked in a pot over the bbq) with Pam, Dawn, Christine, Lee Anne and Marvin.  I followed very closely the whole routine and ingredients that are required to make it.  I have been trying to steal culinary ideas from everywhere I go, and this food was so damn tasty, I had to learn.  Everyone of these people were hilarious, fun, super friendly, and amazingly welcoming to me.  Thank you guys for the great memories,  and recipies too!!

     Saying good bye to the family was also very tough.  In a way they were my south african family.  They made fun of me like their own, took care of me, fed me, even did my laundry.  I went and had my good bye beers with the gang too, like Wayne, Gustov, Statler, Donovan, and some others.  They are all dying for me to come back here, and I too am very much looking forward to a reunion tour.  It's such a nice feeling to have friends like these ones, that look forward for your return.   These people gave me a real taste of what everyday South African life is like.  And the whole reason I wanted to travel.  So what more can I ask for.  Thank you to every single friend I made there.  You guys rocked. 

   Now, much of what I have written was random thoughts that popped into my head while writting.  It`s hard to break down 5 weeks into a short story that people aren`t going to get bored with.  The pictures will do a better job than I can do to show you how great a time I had here.  Sorry if some of it doesn`t make sense, I don`t have time to proof read.  Just roll with it :)  That`s been my motto while traveling.....



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