Just Relax

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This blog entry about the events of Saturday, March 06, 2004 was originally posted on March 08, 2004.

DAY 140:  To recall a conversation I had when I first arrived at my Cape Town hostel, the guy who checked me in, Ingmar, said that it’s good to have a relaxed attitude in South Africa because things may take all day.  Patience I’ve learned, is an important virtue on the backpacker trail, especially when waiting for your bus, your boat, your train, or your Carnaval costume.  Patience is also good to have when you’re eagerly watching the timer count down, waiting for your microwave popcorn to finish popping.

The first tour I was going to book for the afternoon was full and so I had to wait for the next day.  My back-up plan to rent a bike fell through too since it was Sunday and all the stores and rental shops were closed.  Realizing I had no choice but to just chill out of the day (not so bad a choice), I decided to go to the one place known for relaxation: the beach.

Using the suggestion of Joanne working the hostel tour desk, I avoided the R45 taxi fare and took a publicly shared minivan for just R3.50.  It took me to the nearest beach, Camp’s Bay, on the other side of Table Mountain and Lion’s Head.  Locals got on and off along the way while the driver played his CD of African reggae.


CAMP’S BAY, WHICH LIES ABOUT 4 KM SOUTHWEST of the city center, had a beautiful beach on the Atlantic.  It was the sort of place to be on a Sunday afternoon for families, couples and solo travelers going around the world.  Specifically, the beach was the place to be; offshore the water was at near hypothermic temperatures due to the Benguela current bringing water up from the Antarctic. 

Feeling this frigid water, I just camped out on the rocks of the south side of the bay, conveniently not too far away from a really hot blonde chick laying out topless on one of the boulders.  Unfortunately for me — and all you heterosexual males out there — she put her top on and left before I could sneak a photo.

With the striptease over, I left and walked along the entire beach, consisting of a blend of coarse and fine sand.  On top of the sand was the blend of the many types of people that make up South Africa’s multi-ethnic population:  76% black, 11% white, 3% of Indian descent and the remaining percentage a group classified as “coloureds,” which is anyone else, including people with mixed backgrounds of any of the above.  The bodies on the beach ranged from fat, hairy white guys, to dark, ebony princesses, to fit brown-skinned guys and girls, to hot blonde chicks that put their tops on before I could take a photo.

I sat by the rocks on the north end of the bay, laying out with a book and my journal and just chilled out to the sounds of the ocean waves, near others with the same idea (picture above).  Now I’m not a super big beach person.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate the beach — I think it’s great — but I’m not one of those people obsessed with laying out in the sun to “get some color.”  I am of Filipino-descent and have plenty of melanin in my skin, which starts to darken as soon as sunlight hits it.  Seriously, if I go out of my house and walk over to the mailbox on a bright, sunny day, I turn a least one additional setting on a toaster.  Whereas most people who come back to the office with a tan are asked, “Oh, did you just get back from the Caribbean or something?” I get “Hey Erik, did you just go out and get the mail?” 

With my four-months-in-South America-made brown skin, I probably blended in as one of the coloureds — except whenever I stood near a Japanese guy, causing people to think I was one of them.

I have to admit that after settling with my feet in the sand for a while without a care in the world, I really did appreciate just relaxing out at the beach.  I laid out until sunset, when I sat and watched the colors of the sky above and the ocean waves crashing into the rocks below.  That afternoon I advanced yet another toaster setting and was content that no one spelled “KICK ME” on my back with sunblock lotion.  (Don’t you even think of doing that should you see me laying out on a beach — write something nicer like “KISS ME.”)


BEING ON THE OCEAN, Cape Town is a big seafood town and I figured no trip to the shore would be complete without sampling some fruits from the sea.  Postponing another night of ramen noodle goodness — even if it did come in “shrimp” flavor — I went into one of the beach front restaurant/cafes across the main road.  On the menu was an item called “Seafood Potjie,” described in its caption as “something different, served in a cauldron.”  Continuing my tradition of ordering stuff on the menu blindly without knowing exactly what it is, I ordered it, hoping the cauldron wouldn’t contain eye of newt, and toe of frog, wool of bat, and tongue of dog.

When the order came, I lucked out with a cauldron full of seafood stew containing mussels, fish, calamari, shrimp and crab leb meat, all blended together in a rich, creamy sauce.  It went well with the side orders of rice, creamed spinach, sautéed whole baby onions and candied yams.  I complemented it with a refreshing glass of the house “dry red” wine, which concluded my relaxing day at the beach.


A TAXI BROUGHT ME BACK INTO TOWN.  After an internet blogging session, I headed back to The Backpack and lay in bed, totally rested and relaxed, although I was still a little upset that I didn’t sneak in a photo of that hot, topless blonde chick.






Next entry: School Trips

Previous entry: American Vacation




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Comments for “Just Relax”

  • FIRST!  - sorry…

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/07  at  04:43 PM


  • Now I’m jealous…

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/07  at  04:49 PM


  • TO THE HOT BLONDE CHICK ON THE BEACH: Take your top off!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/07  at  04:50 PM


  • oh man. i can’t wait for beach weather here.  it freakin snowed today! boooooo!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/07  at  05:13 PM


  • ERIK: Fix Categories section on left nav bar, so that South Africa is at the top….

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/07  at  05:44 PM


  • OK…I’m dumb…It’s Alpha….

    KEK

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/07  at  05:45 PM


  • Dinner looks yummy. You can live on raamen noodles, but why not splurge now and then?!

    Beach looked awesome, as Cheryl said, it snowed here today. WILL THIS WINTER NEVER END?!?! Keep showing us warm and beautiful places, at least we can dream while reading the BLOG. The pic under “the colors of the sky above” is lovely, but I’m sticking with Erik at the Salt Flats for my desktop.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/07  at  07:35 PM


  • That curry sandwich looked quite yummy (though I’m sure it would give me killa heartburn)!

    Word Life.

    Moman!!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/07  at  08:34 PM


  • I’m jealous now too!  I’m slogging away at work and counting down the days until I hope I can get my butt back to Thailand.  Unfortunately when I have time off so does every other person in Japan…. which means the airlines are happy, happy, happy cuz they can gouge the crap out of us :(  And I’m sad cuz suddenly airfare goes from $400 to $1200!

    Posted by Liz  on  03/07  at  10:16 PM


  • GRAMMAR CORRECTIONS AND ADDITIONAL JOKES ABOVE, 9 MAR 2004, 8:09AM CAPE TIME.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/08  at  02:18 AM


  • CHRISTY:  Until ramen comes in “Potjie” flavor, I suppose I could just eat it out of a cauldron.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/08  at  02:19 AM


  • TONY (OR OTHER MT USER i.e. “NERDS”):  What is the attribute tag needed to do what markyt requests above?

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/08  at  02:21 AM


  • CHERYL/LIZ/YVETTE:  Blame the groundhog.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/08  at  02:22 AM


  • This story is funny. The same thing happened to me today at the beach but instead i was being hounded on by a crazy dark japanese kid. He was trying to blend in with the rocks but i saw the camera and i knew he wanted to take a pic of me. So i left.

    Great photos.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/08  at  10:35 AM


  • TOPLESS BLOND HOTTIE FROM THE BEACH:  Oh well, you could have been famous, with your special guest appearace on the Trinidad Show!

    I guess I’ll have to settle for LP topless….

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/08  at  11:50 AM


  • Who is it that said, “Everyone in their lifetime has their 15 minutes of fame” ? ... Some like William Hung well,  he’s still HANGIN’n around ...

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/08  at  11:58 AM


  • sim:  bada bing, bada boom.

    markyt: where’s that forward?  must allocate $11 pronto.

    erik: i will donate!  i’m getting a killer tax return soon. wheee!!!

    Posted by hanalei  on  03/08  at  01:49 PM


  • Erik: hey man, whats up with u and the chicks? no luck? u know it can be pretty silly of you trying to take pics of half naked girls intead of talking to them. i lived in Europe for years and tits are not something out of this world. plus, because of you and your nasty camera she left. may be u could even fu** her (but u lost your chance). good thinking on the next time. take care and see you back in NYC (some day). alex.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/08  at  02:14 PM


  • The pictures are awesome.  Can’t wait until I get there…only 11 hours until take off…and then another 18+ hours until we land.  Hope to see you there!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/08  at  05:17 PM


  • my name is eliott (male 21 yrs old) and I?m sexy, I?ve got da look that drives you wild.
    I?ve got da move, that really moves, I said she?ll applue down the sky.
    I?m just a sexy Boy, I?m not your Boy toy

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/08  at  07:15 PM


  • eek!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/08  at  07:34 PM


  • CHRISTY: I second that “eek”...

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/08  at  07:46 PM


  • I third that “eek”...

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/08  at  09:48 PM


  • lol
    lol
    lol
    lol

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/08  at  10:04 PM


  • EST + 7 hours….so it’s like 820am there now huh?

    wake up fool!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/09  at  02:28 AM


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This blog post is one of over 500 travel dispatches from the trip blog, "The Global Trip 2004: Sixteen Months Around The World (Or Until Money Runs Out, Whichever Comes First)," originally hosted by BootsnAll.com. It chronicled a trip around the world from October 2003 to March 2005, which encompassed travel through thirty-seven countries in North America, South America, Africa, Europe, and Asia. It was this blog that "started it all," where Erik evolved and honed his style of travel blogging — it starts to come into focus around the time he arrives in Africa.

Praised and recommended by USA Today, RickSteves.com, and readers of BootsnAll and Lonely Planet's Thorn Tree, The Global Trip blog was selected by the editors of PC Magazine for the "Top 100 Sites You Didn't Know You Couldn't Live Without" (in the travel category) in 2005.


Next entry:
School Trips

Previous entry:
American Vacation




THE GLOBAL TRIP GLOSSARY

Confused at some of the jargon that's developed with this blog and its readers over the years? Here's what they mean:

BFFN: acronym for "Best Friend For Now"; a friend made on the road, who will share travel experiences for the time being, only to part ways and lose touch with

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The Trinidad Show: a nickname of The Global Trip blog, used particularly by travelers that have been written about, who are self-aware that they have become "characters" in a long-running story — like characters in the Jim Carrey movie, The Truman Show.

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1981ers: people born after 1981. Originally, this was to designate groups of young backpackers fresh out of school, many of which were loud, boorish and/or annoying. However, time has passed and 1981ers have matured and have been quite pleasant to travel with. The term still refers to young annoying backpackers, regardless of year — I guess you could call them "1991ers" in 2013 — young, entitled millennials on the road these days, essentially.




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