Published: December 5th 2008November 30th 2008
I’d hoped for a sunny morning to enjoy Chintsa’s beach one last time before getting on the bus at noon. But no luck. Cloudy and cool. I sat on my dorm porch once more and finished my knitting to leave behind for part of the blanket for AIDS orphans. Then there was a free breakfast today (!!!) which I happily enjoyed on a porch with an even more incredible view. I decided on a final beach stroll to take some pictures and savour the sight. It was lovely until it rained - all blowing from one direction so my front was soaked and my back was dry. A little bit of hanging out with Jen, Kevin and Sander and then the bus arrived. So goodbye to Chintsa. It has been an incredible 3 days. Leaving, I realized how much better I feel than when I arrived. Like I’m back to myself again.
Today’s bus ride has been the most interesting yet, I think. We left the shore and started driving inland through the area known as The Wild Coast. During apartheid, this area was called the Transkei. It was deigned to be an independent state with traditional rule for the
native/black people within the country - that’s the happy version the government sold it as. While that is all true, what was unsaid made conditions horrible. It became a place to send the people the whites didn’t want to see. The area was chosen because it was virtually unuseable land, incredibly difficult to farm. Because the land is so difficult for farming and it became so overpopulated, it quickly became (and remains) the poorest area of the country.
Yet it is so beautiful!
This is Africa . . . mountains covered with rough and ragged green trees and shrubs, rivers snaking through the countryside, villages of traditional Xhosa homes lining the hills, farm animals grazing, people walking along the roads.
We briefly stopped (pulled over) in Qunu, the village where Nelson Mandela spent most of his childhood and where he built a home afer his release from prison (he comes back every Christmas). But all along the drive I was snapping photos through the window. I was captivated.
Late this afternoon, I arrived in Coffee Bay. With another girl I met on the shuttle (Claire, from England), we crossed over the small river next to the
hostel property, using rocks peaking out the top of the water. (It’s a shallow river.) Then we walked down towards the sea, up and over a hill and onto another. From there we had a delightful view of Coffee Bay Beach. A couple of surfers below caught some waves. Locals in the village walked along the main road. Even with the colours being dulled from the overcast sky, it was a lovely sight.
The hostel had a free dinner tonight - vegetable (beef for others) potjie with rice and Xhosa bread - very nice. And yay for two free meals in a day!
Now I’m just going to seek out a quiet corner for some solitude.
There are more photos below