It’s all about a road trip within a road trip and hanging in George, which is in fact a town, not a curious monkey.
I left Oudtshoorn, kind of bummed that i hadn’t really had a chance to get the full experience down, another place i will have to return to, but plans had been forged and a road trip to PE to see the Boks playing the English with some fella’s was about to get real.
I drove down the N9 through the Outeniqua mountains via the main pass, which is awesome and should be experienced, but there is also an alternate route via the Montague pass, which i tell you about later that also has to be done. All in all you can do a round trip that takes about two hours at a snails pace, but i digress.
We got into the swing of things on Friday with a few beers, a braai and the Baby Boks being crowned world champs in Cape Town, it was a near perfect set up to the main game on Saturday at the awesome Nelson Mandela Bay stadium.
We got up Saturday morning, had a cup of tea made by a genuine Englishman, Simon, who took a lot of shit from us with a sense of humor that seemed impenetrable and piled into a Kombi and made our way to Sedgefield to hit the Farmers Market for a cup of joe and a curried mince Vetkoek that went a little further than hitting the spot.
Back in the van we headed towards PE, as soon as the sun had reached a respectable 10am we cracked open a few beers to get the gees going.
Jacques, had organized us a place to crash about 20kms outside of PE at a spot called Blue Horizon Bay, a lot of face brick was present, but the view was spectacular, after checking in with Oom Eddie, our host and organizing a couple of braai packs for after the game, we piled back into the van to go and pick up our MC and comedian for the night Gavin at the airport.
The plan was to hit the Old Grey Club for a few warm ups, and then catch a bus to the stadium, catch the game and then back to the club for a few more pots.
Heading toward the stadium, there was a palpable sense of excitement, none of us had been to the new stadium and as it loomed closer, it was hard not to admire the architecture, it really is a sight to behold from the outside.
Inside, is well an oval bar and food court with a field in the middle. We took advantage of this a couple of times as we walked round it more than once, i would say to experience the vibe, but more cause we were loving the beers and shooting the shit we missed our seats at least once, we eventually made our way to the so-called “cheap seats”, which turned out to probably be the best seats in the house. A panoramic view of the whole stadium and a view of the pitch that is probably the best i have experienced,
The anthems were sung, the teams came out and set about playing a pretty awful game of rugby, but a the beers were coming thickish and fastish and the company made up for the poor showing in rainy blustery conditions.
The game thankfully ended in a draw, and we slowly made our way to the non-existent pick up point, after a few circles, some chop in a bakkie and numerous taxi’s who turned down fare, we got lucky and Jacque flagged a shuttle back to the club.
Cold and wet, we set about warming up with numerous double brandy and cokes and it wasn’t long before the warmth and the need to lean on something were back.
S’s got longer, the music magically improved and we set about talking an almighty amount of shit while plying ourselves with our liquid warmth at 18 bucks a double. This was highlighted numerous times by Alwyn, myself and anyone within earshot.
After we were sufficiently warmed up we piled back into the van and headed back to Oom Eddie’s spot for a ritual burning of wors and chops, salad was a swear word none cared to mention. After thanking Eddie, who had let a bunch of lubricated folks into his house and cooked for us on his wicked indoor braai, we all headed to bed.
The next morning, there were mumblings of grandpas and panado’s as we, with a little less enthusiasm, girded up for the trip back to George. We stopped for a regmaker breakfast at the Wimpy, they still make the best road coffee, and a read of the Sundays and dissected the game as all good rugby fans do.
The trip back to George was a lot quieter than the trip to PE, but it was an excellent trip within a trip for the going homeless project. Big thanks to Mike for the invite and organizing a wicked weekend i am sure all of us will commit to the war stories chest.
I spent the next day in George grabbing a few bits and pieces for the van and my cameras and slipped in a visit to the Transnet Transport Museum.
It was a bit of a discovery … the trains were cool if that’s your thing and they had some pretty interesting historical artifacts surrounding the railways but they had a boat load of vintage cars … which just oozed panache.
Studebaker, Chevies, Dodges, Mercedes-Benz that were all wings, curves, big headlights and bonnet ornaments that could pass for sculpture and a VW van that i pondered nicking it was so suave.
On Tuesday the sun came out, after a little dance for joy and a quick shower, i headed for the Montague Pass for a slow cruise through an epic mountain range, I don’t think i got above 20kms / hour … not because the road is bad or tricky, but i was awed by the view, seriously if you are coming from Oudtshoorn or just visiting George – do this.
It’s not optional.
You can leave George, head up the main pass, which is equally spectacular if not more rushed and make your way round the back of the Outeniqua’s and come back over the Montague Pass, it’s a twisty little dirt track with some great views and a spot at the bottom next to the river that winds down the pass that was made for chilling in the sunshine.
After finally reaching the bottom of the pass, packing up the Van .. i bade farewell to Mike and headed for what must be one of HI South Africa’s most popular stops … Fairy Knowe Backpackers in Wilderness.