Lori and I out on the town.
Arriving in Oudtshoorn.
Our home in Oudtshoorn.
July 21, 2006
Oh, if only bus rides could be simple…
We waited in the cold temperatures for our shuttle in a parking lot of a mini-mall to pick us up to take us to George when we would then hop in
the real bus to go to Cape Town. We purchased these tickets days in advance. Now we were ready to hop in a warm bus and snooze a little bit.
As I said before - if only things could be that simple…
The driver came and collected our tickets. The tickets had been bought for July 19th…not July 20th. Now we were being told we were no-
shows the night before and the bus was completely sold out from George to Cape Town for the 20th. There was miscommunication because of
the fact that the bus ride was around midnight. This was the biggest problem for Amy who was on a flight at 3pm out of Cape Town on July
We all came to the conclusion that it was best to go back to the Backpackers Paradise. But now we had all of our luggage with us and had over
1.5 miles to walk. And let it be said that Oudtshoorn might be the worst place to find a taxi as I still think they did not exist so that was not even
an option. One thing I do know is that there is always a solution to these types of problems. I used my head and knew that there would be lots
of people at The Chicken Head bar (maybe it’s just ‘The Chicken’ and they have a chicken head sign in front – who knows?). We knew the bar
was having a big farewell night since it was the last night it was going to be opened. Some guys from work were going. It also happened to be
extremely close to the mini-mall we were stranded at. This was where we were going to go. Angela and I walked into the packed bar. I was
donning a backpack, a wheelie bag, a few smaller bags and a box of wines. She had her backpack, boxes of wines and a bag. I think it is safe to
say that we stood out. We were being showered with offers (albeit drunken offers) to take us back to the Backpackers Paradise. What a
friendly bunch. It wasn’t until a few minutes later that we saw a familiar face. Francois. He got informed of the situation and then rounded up a
few of his friends to help us out to bring us home. In addition, he extended an offer to Amy to drive her back to Cape Town in the morning
(almost a 6-hour drive) since none of the buses would have made it there on time otherwise. Kind of ironic that the guy that came across as the
biggest harda*s for almost two weeks would be the guy to make an offer far more generous than I probably ever would have (considering he
had to call and explain the situation to work and will now have to work on Sunday to make up for it).
Also something that made me laugh was that they were trying to get us (and all of our luggage) to go into the bar to get some drinks. Jannie
(somebody that we worked with) kept telling Lori to go have a drink and hang out and she was telling him ‘No’ and that we had to get this
resolved. He was then telling her to ‘chill out’ and that she was being ‘such an American’. To this, Lori responded: “This has nothing to do with
my nationality. This has to do with my personality.” It was classic as it was 100% right on.
Around 8am in the morning, Francois was there to pick up Amy and Angela. We already told Angela that she was going to spend the night with
us since she was leaving early this morning. We gave her good directions to meet up with us and knew that she would be given more of an
opportunity to see a bit of Cape Town this way versus taking the shared taxi that Lori and I were going to take.
Our minibus came to pick us up around 8:30am. We were driven to somebody’s house and paid them our bus fare in what I believe was their
laundry room. Interesting. We made stops along the way, including one in a township. Watching the interaction is very interesting as it looks
like they are yelling and screaming at one another yet the next second they are laughing with each other (when we would ask Francois later, he
would explain that speaking loud is a sign of respect). It was 5:00pm when our minibus would reach De Waterkant Village. Tears of joy nearly
streamed down my face as I could already picture the down comforter that waited for me inside. Our own private bathroom. Our own private
kitchen. No bunk beds. For about two weeks there were always at least six people in a room. But no more. Ahhh…
At this point, I opted to head on down to my little wine bar (The Nose) to try to upload some stuff on the website and upload pictures. I told
Lori to meet me down there when she was ready and I prepared a note for Angela if she were to come while we were out to let her know where
we were. It wasn’t long before I heard some voices behind me. Lori and Angela. And Francois? Yup. Francois had been playing tour guide to
Angela during the day. The four of us sat down to dinner and we heard about the little adventures that each other had encountered that day.
In the end, our room would be a home to four last night. The three of us girls were snug as a bug in the bed and Francois took the floor. At 4:
30am Francois would then leave to take Angela to the airport. But at least I know that when I said ‘good-bye’ to Angela, it was not a permanent
one. Since she is moving to San Francisco, I know that I will see her when I return home. It’s always easier when the ‘good-bye’ is actually
more of a ‘see you later’…
On a side note…
I found my earring in my bed that I had lost two nights before. One less thing that I have lost along the way. Yay!
Petra (owner of the Backpackers Paradise) said that we handled the situation wonderfully and gave us a 10 out of 10 (keep in mind that all of
us lost every penny of the bus ticket-about $30 each- yet we all remained very calm and cool.