Tuesday, January 15, 2008

fine, we'll get upgraded.

Early-ish on Tuesday morning, auntie anne and I set off for knysna, our first stop en route to addo and its national elephant park, where we are booked in to spend Wednesday and Thursday night. While we knew nothing of the town itself, on a map, knysna seemed a good ¾ point mark to stop and rest, especially after the 6 hours of driving we would have done by the time we reached it.

Gorgeous coastline and then impressive mountains and winding roads took us a bit inland, past ostrich farms (ostrich farms!) and signs for fresh biltong.

Confronted with some road works, we were forced to lose about 45 minutes of time at checkpoints. At one stop in particular, a tractor trailor carrying about 8 large green barrels was stopped in front of us. The winds rocking our car at this point were impossible to ignore, and as we watched the load in front of us sway back and forth it became clear that the winds they were indeed ferocious. Next thing we knew, RIGHT IN FRONT OF OUR EYES, the entire load capsizes in front of us. Like a candle in the wind, the whole damn truck topples over. Holy shit.
Dude driving gets out and tries to upright the thing to no avail. Not knowing what these containers contained, we sure did first gear it out of there and on our way. Since that moment we have had a running joke – “I wonder what ever happened to the green containers?”

We arrived in knysna (pronounced ny-sna) and checked into the lodge that ted had recommended (
www.overmeergh.co.za). We were shown to our room, but before we could put our bags down, were informed that the owner wanted to upgrade us to a deluxe room at no extra cost. fine, well do it if we have to :) Gorgeous view of the lagoon and mountains in front of us and a massive balcony that was catching just enough of later afternoon sun. stripped down to my skivvies/makeshift bikini and enjoyed a heinekin with auntie anne as we watched the sunset. Le sigh.

When we went for dinner, it became clear to us that knysna was not a place for those who were watching their pennies. A harbor at which gorgeous boats were docked, homes on the mountain front that were insanely beautiful, and a brand new development that was sprouting up boasting ‘luxury homes in a discreetly upscale beach-front community’ gave us the impression that we were no longer in Kansas. At dinner we asked our waiter what the deal with knysna was. He informed us that more often than not it was a place where wealthy South Africans, expats, and retirees held summer homes.

At dinner I overheard a conversation between two gentlemen at a table not far from ours. One in his late 30s, the other in his mid 50s, both dressed in white linen shirts and khakis, it went something along the lines of this…

‘so how are you?’
‘aich, life is good…cant complain. You?’
‘yea good hey. Loving it here. My better half keeps telling me that we have to move back to cape town but am enjoying the sloooow pace of things here.’
‘yea I hear you.’
‘am planning on doing the che guavera route through south America in the fall. You know, through argentina, etc. etc.’
‘ah yes, sounds good. But you must be careful you know. Have heard horror stories about south America.’

I couldn’t help but smile. Here were two clearly affluent south African men, living in a monied resort town, talking about the dangers they had heard for tourists in south America. But surely they can’t be worse than those that tourists hear about South Africa? :)

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