Shelly Beach to Durban

Written about Nov 1

Spent a few more days visiting with my friend when she was able to get off work. I spent a ridiculous amount of time trying to figure out how to manage our luggage, remaining visits, and airport arrival by means of local buses and Uber. No go. Finally gave up and rented another car with drop off at airport. Caught a local bus to go to the local airport. This is the kind of 15 seater van that we use in most of the countries we visit but this was interesting in a different way. Ala shades of Apartheid, these were generally black only. Not by regulation but the whites are apparently scared of them and choose not to use them. The blacks had no objection to our using them however and were very friendly.

The bus we caught was decrepit to put it mildly and took us to a bus station in town to transfer to an airport shuttle – which was an even more decrepit Toyota station wagon. We are trying to remember how many people they crammed in there – 2 in front not counting the driver, 4 in the way back, 4 in the middle seat minimum. I think there was another row of 4 but Dave’s not sure. This one had lost the passenger window which had been replaced with plastic and duct tape. It looked full but the passenger in the front seat – a very large woman slid toward the center as far as she could and I got one butt on the edge of the seat and somehow the door (the one with the plastic window) was pushed hard enough to latch. I was squashed. Dave was similarly shoe horned into the rear and I thought we could go. But no. They managed to get two more people in before leaving.

The bus rolled backwards before the driver slipped the clutch and got her started. For the rest of the trip he would only stop on a hill so that he could jump start if stalled but he didn’t shut it down. The gears groaned, rattled and popped. I’m not the least bit surprised that whites would not want to ride in a vehicle like that, but we made it and most buses were in MUCH better condition. When we got to the airport, the driver again parked on a hill and then went around to the back to let Dave out. This took a few minutes as he explained to his passengers in Zulu or some other African language how to reach over Dave’s legs and down to pull on a jerryrigged contraption to release the latch. They had trouble doing so and different tactics were tried before they finally got it open.

Rented the car and headed north. Visited the Pure Venom tourist attraction of snakes, lizards, turtles, crocodiles and misc. other creatures – including bunnies and birds.

Next stop a visit with another friend from 2011. It was great to see her again and she was also able to reconnect me with her daughter with whom I had lost touch. (Mother and sister of a friend in Port Elizabeth.) I had given up hope of seeing her but ended up having a long, spur of the moment, visit. Picked up our luggage that we had stored while on the road trip and got to the next airbnb late.

Our hostess this time is a school teacher at a private(?) elementary school for black children. She invited us to come and visit her students which we did. They showed off their command of English and I shared a couple of pictures – one of Heidi, and one of a classroom in Fiji. And the questions went on and on and on.

It was finally time to fly on to Cairo. 7 weeks in SA and we sure saw a lot.

On to Cairo
Robn and Dave

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