BootsnAll Travel Network

July 9th, 2008 – Cape town, South Africa

Today I woke up nice and early as it was time to get to the departure point for my tour the second time around.  I got up at 7am and most of my stuff was already packed.  I was in room two with all my friends who I had made throughout my time at the hostel, minus a few.  I went downstairs with my stuff and for some reason the taxi driver arrived like twenty minutes too early and was not happy.  He wanted to go right now, but the awesome manager of big blue, Guido told him to get his ass back in the car and wait till 730 when we had orderd the taxi for.


Stephen and Juliana were splitting the taxi with me which made the cost of it extremely low.  We arrived at Nomad, which was the company running the tour in plenty of time.  This time when I arrived there were two trips leaving that day, one that was all accommodation based, and ours which would be camping for the three weeks.  I was a little nervous at first that there were no young adults on the trip, but after the accommodated tour left, the majority of the kids were around my age give or take 3 years.  I was MUCH happier with my decision to change the tour even though it basically cost me 900 bucks.


After I gave them my health insurance and paid the extremely hefty fuel surcharge which was more than I expected it to be, we had a little meeting with the tours and then grabbed our bags and set off on our journey.  Our guide’s name is Uncle JB.  He has a really long African name, and his father gave him another name and the initials are JB so it is much easier to pronounce.  He is also our cook, guide, father, mother, brother, sister, he can be whoever we want him to be.  He is 27 I believe and has been on the road with Nomad for 7 years.


Our driver’s name is Mike.  He is from Zimbabwe, but says he is from Jamaica.  It is a running joke and it is pretty funny to hear him put on a Jamaican accent.  We also have a guide in training on our trip, which is an extra helping hand but I cannot spell or even pronounce her name.  Our first stop would be the tableview mall.  I think that was it’s name.  Basically we had 1.5 hours to shop around, get some supplies, like food, water and money.  I picked up all three.  I got bandaids, water, food and money.  I also tried to find a pair of sweatpants around but no store seemed to have them.


We ended up waiting about an hour after most of the chores didn’t take much time.  That was quite boring, and we definitely did not need 1.5 hours at this mall.  My seat was in the front sitting sideways along with three other people.  In the middle was a metal table attached to the truck and a cooler which was tied down to the floor of the truck but not bolted.  Uncle JB has a very interesting rule while on the overland trip.  Every time someone calls Marilyn, a bus and not a truck or Marilyn, they pay 1 US dollar.  That is pretty steep and in the end I think we use the money for a little party.


I had already called it a bus twice I think but that was before the groundrules were laid down.  Our ride to the first campsite would be roughly 3 hours or so.  Tonight we were stopping at the Cederberg Mountains.  This is about 600 kilometers from the Namibia border.  We stopped twice for the bathroom and petrol and for most of the trip, six of us played cards on the metal table.  This was a great way to get to know some of the people on the bus.  When we arrived at the campsite it began to rain.  Before we disembarked off the bus, Jabu asked us who wanted to camp.  Of course I was the only person who raised his hand, and everyone gave “ohhhhs and ahhhhs” because it was quite cold out and at the time it was raining.  Jabu asked me if I was sure about the camping and I told him “I came to Africa to camp, if I didn’t want to camp, I’d be sleeping in a hotel right now.”  He said “ok” and later in the day showed me how to put up the tent.


Once we all got settled and had a drink from the campsite’s bar, which was also a small hostel called Gekko Backpacker, seven of us decided to play monopoly.  I ended up lasting a while, but only had one monopoly and no money so I didn’t last that long.  The game ended up taking almost 4.5 hours and Christian from Austria won.  After meeting everyone I think I counted 24 people from 10 different countries.  This is by far and away the most diverse tour I have been on.  Usually it is either all British, Australian, German, Kiwi.  This time we have people from, Australia, Columbia, Germany, Austria, Switerland, England, Ireland, Holland, France, and I am the sole American, which I highly prefer, and the guides are from South Africa and Zimbabwe.


After our late lunch which included chicken hotdogs, Mike and Jabu showed me how to put up the tent and in no time it was up.  It was raining, but the tent was properly sealed with an additional rain cover on top. I hoped that this would be the first and last night that I slept outside in the cold and rain.  The rest of the night was spent getting to know everyone.  I had a few more drinks, played some darts with Stephen, and just hung out.  At the end of the night, I was avoiding heading in to the tent, I played some pool with my would-be roommate Rob, and then sat at the bar talking with the bartender Wilhelm.  Wilhelm had spent 13 months based in Kentucky training horses.  He said he got to travel to 48 states in America, which is more than I.  I was quite impressed and he said that if his visa had not run out he would have done it longer.


Well it was getting late and I had to wake up early, so it was time to venture off in to the tent.  It ended up not being as cold as I thought it would be.  I was able to sleep in my underpants, but was woken up by a drunken Rob, and then he kept me up from 4am on because he is an incredible snorer.  I even had my earplugs in but his snoring pushed right through them like Mom and Dad snoring.  I realized that I would probably be tentmates with him for the next three weeks and would have to suck it up.  He’s a real cool kid and I think the next three weeks will be awesome.


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