Good morning Coffee Bay!
Peter and I make a point to wake up at sunrise and head down to the Bay for a pic. It’s a nice morning and the light is just coming up above the water as we get down there. This seems like it would be a good surfing spot, decent waves and a cozy bay. Peter sets up a tripod and gets to work while I meander about snapping here and there. Pretty cove.
We’ve got another long drive today if we’re to stay on target to meet up w Coondog in Cape Town on.. is that tomorrow? Damn. Whoa.. “Peter, there are 6 dolphins playing in the waves passed those crests!”
We cross the rocks over the water and get back to the main area and they have a long table set up for everyone to eat on. We throw in for some breakfasts and coffee and take a place at the table. A handful of hungover French kids are here now getting ready for an excursion of some sort.
Peter downloads as much content from ‘My Dad Wrote a Porno’ as he can get before we hit the road.
Belinda comes over, “Morning guys. Did you make sunrise?”, “Yeah there were dolphins out there”, “Oh nice. Yeah, they come in sometimes.”
We finish breaky and go shower up. There are a trip of goats on the path back to the hut that are super cute. Narco wants in
Hostel dog is curled up at our front stoop when we get back
A paraglider goes by while I’m packing the car up. A guy comes out of a small trailer beside the car and asks if we are leaving. I say that we are and he asks for a lift. Hmmmm… one sec, we need to check the car for damages and we’ll see if we have room. I mention this to Peter and he’s a little hesitant, as am I. Yes, he seems fine but picking up hitch hikers in South Africa is also on the not the smartest thing to do list. Looks like he also has a little girl with him, maybe 5 or 6 years old. Isn’t that the security guy from last night? Oh yeah. I kinda feel like a dick saying no, if the car is fine we could totally take him.
We do a more thorough inspection of the car, crawling under and rolling it back. It doesn’t look like anything is leaking or damaged underneath from our shitslide into Coffee Bay last night. Tires seem to have taken the machine gun potholes well. Alright I think we’re good to go. We ask the security guy where he needs to go and he says “Into town. Up by the N2”, he must be talking about Mthatha? We’re headed that way so we tell him he’s welcome to get in.
We start the drive out of the Coffee Shack and back to the road. With the added weight we’re getting a little too low to the ground, scraping the bottom as we exit the driveway. Hmmm gonna have to be careful.
We see what Security Guy is up to and he says he’s taking his daughter to go to school in town up there. He’s worked at Coffee Shack for 15 years. Now he’s on annual leave to take his daughter to school.
We drive passed all the nightmare sections from last night. This is way better in the daylight and without rain filling up all the potholes. Oh man, they’re terrible. The road is a total mess. Peter is keeping a slower pace but still ends up swerving suddenly to avoid crater after crater. It’s ridiculously bad. Ok seriously, no driving after dark.
The constant swerving takes its toll on the backseat passengers. We hear a little glaaarp and look back to see the little girl throwing up in a bag. Security Guy waves it off, “It’s ok, it’s ok”, he motions with his hand to keep going. He understands. There isn’t much you can do, some of them look innocuous but then turn into sudden monsters. We’ve nailed a few of those monsters and now we’re in this state of erratic driving.
A little further up the road and SG asks us to pull over. He gets out with his daughter and she runs off a ways towards some shanties. There’s a small concrete slab and she drops her pants and squats behind it to poop. She’s visible to anyone on the other side of that slab and we can still see her from the shoulders up. When you gotta go, you gotta go.
I put on some Lemon Jelly to ease the awkward silence for the rest of the drive to Mthatha. SG tells us to get off at the town before it, pull through the main road and he says we can stop here. Rundown buildings and lots of folks milling about. I hop out to the sidewalk to help his little girl out with her backpack. Getting a lot of weird looks from people here. Probably a combo of being the only white guys in town and the long curly hair.
I shake Security Guys hand. He tells me his name is Umbuwanloo from Mqanduli (at least that’s my best guess. It sounded really awesome when he said it). He is very grateful for the lift, it ended up taking over an hour. His hands are rough like a farmers as our palms scrape together. He looks me in the eye and pats me on the shoulder, nods his head and turns to collect the girl who’s waving goodbye.
On the way out of town there’s a newish looking monument commemorating Nelson Mandela’s birthplace
We exit back to the main road and are thankfully almost back to the highway. Oh but not before the row of nine speed bumps outside Mthatha. Fucking topes. Nine? Do you really need nine massive speed bumps in a row? You can’t get over two of these at any sort of speed let alone nine.
Ga-gunk ga-gunk ga-gunk ga-gunk ga-gunk ga-gunk ga-gunk ga-gunk ga-gunk. So stupid.
Ok, we’re really back on the highway now and fuck it feels good to leave them potholes behind. Ramp the Polo back up to pace and start cruising through the valleys. We pass by a place called Collywobbles. Aaaand now we’re stuck in a construction zone. Down to one lane and there’s a giant line. We get through that and then sit in some traffic in a town called Butterworth. And then it gets even worse in the next town, Ndabakazi. Construction.all.the.places. So it’s gonna be one of those days. Between construction zones we’re further slowed down by nonsense like this.
And soon we’re stuck in another one. There are people walking between vehicles selling drinks and fruit and candy bars. This girl has her whole face painted white for some reason. She’s collecting recyclables so we hand her whatever’s in the car.
We sit for a bit but then people keep passing us on the right. Yep, while the oncoming traffic is moving in the only lane available, people on our side are swerving out into the same lane and playing a fun little game of chicken. This causes a major clusterfuck of honking and near misses of course but it seems like too much fun to pass up. With a little egging on Peter jumps right in there and guns it. Overtaking cars in a construction zone, going the wrong way towards oncoming traffic with people waving flags at you, all while dodging sheep, potholes and speedbumps? It’s the only way to go. This reminds me of getting into Serbia on the Mongol Rally and realizing that no-rules driving is the best way to actually get anywhere.
This is so silly and we’re stuck in a giggle fit just going with the flow, breaking every rule in the construction zone playbook. But the gap is seriously narrowing as a large cement truck is coming towards the zone from behind the pylons and fencing to enter the lane. “Oh shit, better punch it dude”, “Fuck man, I am punching it!” We get to the end of the construction zone with some very angry orange vests waving flags at us to stop, but it’s too late, we’re committed to being assholes like the rest of these chumps.
Actually, we might not make this, “Over, over dude, you gotta get over!”, I’m pounding the dash, “Or hit the fucking pylon at least!” Peter, giggling and swearing, runs over the bottom black part of the construction pylon with the right two wheels and the orange cylinder smacks against the car as the cement truck blares its horn and comes inches from taking out our left mirror. Haha shit!! (This car is never gonna get us to Cape Town.)