It was touch and go as to exactly where we were going to end up between Port St Johns, Coffee Bay and Wavecrest. Ultimately Wavecrest won by pure virtue of distance. The plan was to spend a night in Viedgesville with my mom and grandfather and then spend two nights at the coast. We’ve been planning this trip for a while but moved it out a few times because of work schedule clashes so it was great to finally get on the road. (AM)
I was quite excited for our visit to the Eastern Cape, even though it was just a weekend trip. But that’s not the only reason. The other reasons are:
1. That I had not had a break in 17 months (welcome to the media world); and
2. I was finally going to visit the place where Boyfriend grew up! (TL)
So due to the fact that we have a few other trips on the cards and I didn’t want to take too many days leave, I still worked on Thursday morning and we flew to East London on Thursday afternoon. We arrived at East London airport, got our car and set off to Mthatha, which is a 4 hour drive from the airport.
For someone growing up in the lush, green town of Somerset West, the beautiful green hills of the Eastern Cape was quite a treat and I begged for us to stop for a picture moment. Fortunately we found the perfect spot. (TL)
This was one of the funniest parts of the trip. I’ve driven this road about a million times in my life gig back form when I was a laaitie and this was the Transkei boarder gates and we used to have to stamp our passports here on the way to East London to when I was in boarding school and made the trip regularly either by bus or with my mom between Umtata and Grahamstown. Anyway the point of all this is that I never quite saw this as particularly “beautiful”. It’s just hills and trees to me. Yoh! Did Girlfriend not get upset when I didn’t quite reach the excitement levels she was expecting. Tltltltltltl (AM)
We arrived in Mthatha by 18:00 and it was exactly as I’d expected! I spent a lot of time following my Dad around on farms growing up and for this reason the scene that greeted me was heartwarming: Calm, peaceful, everyone greeting you as you drive passed them…
We spent a few moments with Boyfriend’s loved ones, offloaded and then did a quick walkabout to see as much as we could in the remaining daylight, like the shop where he used to buy the bread his grandmother needed as a child. (TL)
I’m not a big fan of the road between East London and Umtata. It literally is one of the most dangerous roads in the country and not for any particular reason other than people really drive like crap on it.
The shop we saw on our walk is about a km from my grandfather’s house and being the competitive person that I am I always used to try and run to the shop and back as fast as I could. My grandmother used to keep time for me a log my times like they do on Top Gear. Every trip I always tried to beat my previous time. There was nothing more frustrating than getting to the shop and there were people ahead of me or the cashier took their time getting my change. My grandmother obviously enjoyed this because it meant I was always quick when I was sent somewhere. (AM)
We enjoyed a delicious homecooked meal and for some bizarre reason, I couldn’t keep my eyes open. But I also wanted to get to bed early because I wanted to be up early to milk the cows. Yes, you heard right: Milk the cows.
I woke up at 06:00 to ensure that I don’t miss out on the opportunity to milk a cow, but then I decided against it because I was told terrifying stories of cows kicking people. Boyfriend thought it wise to show me a ‘battlescar’ from his younger years and I despite much excitement, it was suggested that I observe. (TL)
This was supposed to be the highlight of the whole trip. The milking of the cow had been hyped up for months so I was terribly disappointed. The battle scar I have however was not even from a cow but a calf. In my defense I was only 9 years old and I was asked to bring the little one into the kraal. If you’ve ever chased a calf you will know the buggers are tricky so once you corner it, you grab it by the leg and just hop along with it to where you want it to go. Unfortunately the one thing I didn’t anticipate was that after grabbing the one back leg, it could still kick me with the other. I still have that scar below my knee to this day and I’ll stay eating beef as revenge until I die. (AM)
What I thought were the cows the previous evening, is in fact the calves and their moms were out in the field. What’s interesting is that the mom would patiently wait her turn at the gate while the other cow is being milked and once that cow is done, she’d ‘Moo’ to be let in. Pretty cute!
After my observe-cow-milking adventure, I was still quite tired and got back into bed. Breakfast was a hearty affair with sour porridge (that I sadly forgot to taste), full English breakfast and Boyfriend’s Pa enjoying Milo! Thereafter I spent some time outside enjoying the total silence and following the journey of two butterflies. (TL)
The breakfast table has always been the place of conversation with my grandfather where we exchange stories and have our debates. Most of the morning was spent debating and chatting about everything from exactly how much syrup he should be putting in his porridge to the progress of the crops in his garden and stories of his days at Fort Hare and how he met my grandmother. (AM)
I really did enjoy being able to ‘hear’ the silence and tried to drink as much of it in as I could. But soon it was time for us to leave Mthatha for the weekend at the resort.