MY GAP YEAR 2007/8

COFFEE BAY, SOUTH AFRICA

Coffee Bay how I love you so. We have just left the most wonderful coastal village I have ever laid eyes on. Coffee Bay must be my favorite stop so far on this trip (I say that in all my blogs don’t I?). The village is so small it only consists of two hostels and a few shops dotted around the main dirt road.  A river runs across part of it. The two hostels are the hub of the village and are the only source of income for many of the local tribes around the area. For a small amount of money the local kids will sing for you, the women would make jewelry and the men would head out and catch fresh crayfish for your dinner. It all helps to make Coffee Bay feel the safest and happiest place I’ve visited so far in South Africa.

The Coffee Shack was the hostel we opted for. The staff made us feel so welcome and were such good fun to be around; with loads of activities to do in the daytime and parties during the night there was plenty to keep us entertained for our time there. Our sleeping quarters was a rather cool Zulu hut on the other side of the river. well, It was great until we had to wade through the river to get to our bed. That soon sobers you up, I can tell you.

On the second day there we signed ourselves up for a 9km hike to ‘The Hole In The Wall’ (Not the gothic pub in Colchester). It’s an extraordinary natural arch at the mouth of the Mpako River, It reminded me of Durdle Door in Dorset. The hike was great fun but very hard in some places, especially in this heat and especially how unfit I am, but I’m glad I wasn’t the only one who felt so shattered after it.

The hike took us right along the coast, up and down cliffs, on beaches and through the surf to get to the Hole in the Wall. One of the highlights along the way was seeing a enormous pod of dolphins playing in the surf. There must have been over twenty of them jumping around the large breaks of white surf. I could have watched them for hours, such an incredible sight.

Something equally as exciting as dolphins caught my eye when I was wondering along on the hike, white dog poo! I haven’t seen that since the early 1980s. It was everywhere in the U.K, and then overnight it just seem to have disappeared, well I can confirm you still get it in South Africa. Does anyone know why we don’t get it in the U.K anymore? Maybe its another question for 82ASK?

In the night at the Coffee Shack I was chewing the fat over dinner with my fellow backpackers. We met a really nice guy from California called Rob who has been surfing his way around Southern Africa, and a couple who were from….. Colchester and get this, his girlfriend worked around the corner of the BBC in Shepherds Bush as a teacher, I kid you not. Small world or what?

I have noticed a pattern when It comes to backpackers music tastes… everyone likes the same bloody bands. Wherever you are from, what religion you follow, or the colour of your skin, a backpacker must like the following MOR:

GOO GOO DOLLS (especially the song ‘Iris’),
Anything by the COUNTING CROWS or REM.
KINGS OF LEON (but only the 1st album)

@Lee, Stu and Kenney: i’ve been on (Depeche) MODE watch and I can confirm at 6pm on the 13th of May, 2007 I heard ‘Personal Jesus’ at the Coffee Bar, South Africa. I will carry on the quest around the world.

We are now in Jeffreys Bay at another Hostel called Island Vibe. It might as well be a five star hotel, but more about that in my next blog.

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