Let the Adventures Begin!

Paul is filling his contact cases with solution below me. He’s shirtless. (so wish i had a picture to insert here….. hahaha) The girls on the other side of the room – on the top bunks – like me, are in tank tops and underwear. It’s pretty hot in the room.

“Goodnight,” he says, tucking himself into bed, his Dutch accent playing with the word.

Alana and I left this morning for this Spring Break adventure. They call it “holiday” over here, not Spring Break. Which I guess makes since, considering it’s summer right now… turning into fall.

I woke up at 9 this morning – unpacked’ish…. still needed a sleeping bag, malaria pills, insect/mosquito repellant… and we were supposed to leave at 11. I made pretty good time. I couldn’t get malaria pills – hopefully I won’t die 🙂 I got a sleeping bag and rented a backpackers backpack. I put that sucker on and all I could think was how freaking badass I looked – and felt. That thing is meant to be on my back. Or, better, I’m meant to travel – to backpack or whatever – to adventure through the world.

We made great time at the airport, even with me running behind. Our driver, Francois, plans travel excursions and weekends away and teaches surfing I told him he very well may become our new best friend. I’d love to learn to surf while I’m here.

I was in the best mood. Gleeful, joyous – in my element when we were leaving. It was jsut the two of us, Alana and me, headed to the airport, leaving on a jet plane for an adventure only half planned, less organized (on our part), spontaneous and fun. Something in that rush of not knowing my next move, my every move – something in facing the unknown and running towards it excites something so deep within me that my reaction feels almost primal, like I was born to live free, without plans and restrictions, able to roam and explore the vast (to me) unknown. Airports are always exciting – a physical borderland – a place standing inb etween one place and another. To know it’s not a place of entrapment but one holding the promise of moving – that’s nothing more exciting than that.

At the airport before we left

literally waiting in line to get on the plane

We got here in Durban with no idea of our next move – where we were going to stay, how we were going to get here. I saw a sign that read something about the Zulu Kingdom and I got even more excited. I’ve wanted to come to Kwazulu-Natal since I’ve been in South Africa, and now I’m more or less here.

Love it. Alana and I talked about it, and I vocalized, thinking out loud, that I love this entire adventure so much because it requires me to think on my feet, to problem solve. I have to think, have to negotiate, have to survive (in the grander sense of things). It’s so fun. We found a place – Banana Backpackers – quicker than I thought we would on Easter weekend and found an airport shuttle to bring us here.

We walked into a decrepit, broke-down building with stainedwhite death stairs leading to the hostel. For R70 each ($8ish) I was beginning to think we had found Durban Shady, instead of Durban Central. We got to the top and love embraced our hearts… ahha It’s bright, off-kelter, loud and homey at the same time. It’s fun. We walked through the hostel to see our room and passed faces that looked vaguely familiar – at least on did for me. She and I said hesitant hello’s and I kept walking. Alana stopped.

“You’re from Stellenbosch?” she asked a guy wearing a Stellenbosch sweatshirt that I had completely missed.

And they are. A group of 6 international students – five from the Netherlands and one from Germany.

We quickly discovered we were all headed on the same safari, as well. They invited us to dinner with them. I honestly didn’t really want to go, wasn’t excited they were here. I’ve gotten frustrated with the international students at Stellenbosch and especially weary of groups of them – they tend to be very exclusive, very uninviting, not very friendly.

But we went to dinner. Indian. A point of contention with both my wallet and my stomach. I am getting tired of paying money for food I don’t particuarly care for.


Of course.

I inserted foot in mouth. Felt ridiculous for being so judgmental without giving them a fair chance.

Not only are they all fantastic, inclusive, and wonderful company, but the food was amazing, too. I even tried something new – a chicken curry dis, and I surprisingly really really enjoyed it. Maybe I’ll end up leaving this trip liking Indian food after all 🙂

This week is going to be full of friendship, fun, and adventure. I know it – I’m determined of it. I’m so excited for tomorow – to meet the rest of the group, to get started.

This is going to be a week I’ll never forget.

This is….. if I don’t die of malaria 🙂

Published in: on March 22, 2008 at 12:20 pm  Leave a Comment  

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