Foofie To The Very End


This blog entry about the events of Thursday, March 18, 2004 was originally posted on March 22, 2004.

DAY 152:  Amongst the differences between American English and South African English are certain words and phrases — in South Africa, a “backpackers” is a “hostel,” a “braai” is a “barbecue,” and a “foofie slide” is a phrase that just sounds so silly, you can’t help but giggle when you say it out loud.

A “foofie slide” (hee hee hee) is actually a South African phrase for a ride down a zip line, where one hangs onto handlebars connected to a wheel that travels along a steel cable suspended high in the air.  How the line is set up depends on where you are, but for us, the nearest foofie slide (hee hee), about a mile away from the Somerset Gift Farm, started at the top of a hill and went 200 meters down into the waters of Buffeljachts Dam.

It wasn’t our original plan to go foofie sliding that morning.  According to the itinerary, we were to wake up at 5:30 a.m. to drive the two hours to Kleinsbaai for the optional great white shark dive.  Since I was the only one planning to do it — and Chris threatened mutiny if everyone had to wake up so early just for little ol’ me — I decided the night before to save it for my own time since either way it would have cost me extra.  “Happy Birthday,” I told Kate.

Sometimes three hours extra sleep can be the greatest gift of all.

AFTER SUNRISE, we all chowed down on a greasy hangover breakfast of bacon, eggs and tomatoes that Deon prepared for us, Tom drove us to the foofie slide (hee hee) people, who biker guys of the Route 62 Riders group who were about to leave on a road trip until we arrived.  We hopped in the back of their pick-up truck and rode up the dirt road to the starting point.  Sonja, Andy and I harnessed up into straps that Kate said made us look like gimps, and then we were instructed on how to position our legs on the slide in preparation for impact with the water. 

The three of us foofie slide one at a time, first Sonja, then Andy (picture above), then me — the others weren’t as adventurous.  I didn’t quite get my legs in the proper position because when I impacted the water at the bottom at such a high speed, I got a pretty tight wedgie up my ass crack.  (How’s that for curing a hangover?) 

After giggling at the foofie slide all morning, we drove to the seaside town of Hermanus for a lunch break.  I had fish and chips at a local seafood place with Chris and then explored a couple of small fishing museums.  While waiting for the group to reconvene at the Bok Bus, some of us encountered little dassies, which Kate dubbed “bush pigs.”  The little rodent-looking things — which are actually more closely related to elephants — were a little aggressive with their teeth and so we got out of there pretty fast. 

ONE OF THE THINGS THE CAPE REGION is known for is its wines.  Cape wines are known to wine connoisseurs as some of the finest in the world.  While most of the Cape wines come from the more well-known vineyards of Stellenbosch, about 30 km. directly east of Cape Town, we visited the more southernly Hamilton Russell Vineyards.

Established in 1975, the vineyard was the answer to wine critics that argued that Cape wines might be a bit more perfect if their vineyards were a tad more south.  With the cool southern ocean winds and the unique mountain terrain, the grapes of Hamilton Russell Vineyards have a longer growing and ripening period, which produces “concentrated wines of great individuality and finesse” according to their brochure.  The vineyard prides itself on not making the boldest wine there is, but the most elegant to reflect the relaxed attitude of the region. 

The vineyard only produced two wines, the Estate Pinot noir and the Estate Chardonnay, which we both sampled in the tasting room.  Although the Chardonnay was a bit too light for my tastes, we all secretly chipped in to get a bottle of it for Tom for being such a great guide.

We presented the bottle to Tom after our stop at the Stony Point Nature Reserve in Betty’s Bay, the home of a colony of African penguins.  Formerly known as the “jackass penguin” for their donkey/jackass-like honking, the African penguins nested at the bay in the nooks and crannies of the rocks and shrubs protected by the government.  We watched the little birds in tuxedos waddle around and build their nests until we hopped back in the van for the final leg that took us back to Cape Town.

After checking back into The Backpack with the familiar faces Eve and Ingmar, I went out for the last supper with the Bok Bus crew (minus Chris).  We agreed on going out for Tahi and ended up at Yindi’s, the only Thai place in the area.  We dined on spicy coconut, curry and basil dishes over fine Cape wines and reminisced about our past five days together.

Out of all the things we did — ostrich riding, canoing and hiking, looping in an airplane, wine tasting — it was still the foofie sliding that made me giggle.

Next entry: Just When You Thought It Was Safe To Go Into A Protective Steel Cage…

Previous entry: Up In The Air and Down The Funnel

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Comments for “Foofie To The Very End”

  • he said “foofie” hehehe

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/22  at  11:51 AM

  • foofie sliding in to the hudson river anyone?

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/22  at  01:01 PM

  • heehee

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/22  at  02:11 PM

  • Beats the train!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/22  at  02:18 PM

  • Wow - you’re like all Batman and shit. Only without the rubber suit.

    Posted by dunlavey  on  03/22  at  03:24 PM

  • lol @ dunlavey. actually, he’s more like the boy wonder with the red trunks.

    once again great pics!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/22  at  03:37 PM

  • foofie slide! haha. that IS funny. i didn’t know they called it that! why foofie??? we did that too.. but at a different place… tsitsikamma canopy tours. ours FOOFIE SLID through a forrest.

    how fun.

    (i’m jealous)

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/23  at  12:03 AM

  • awww, the dassy (dassie?) is so cute looking. so are the penguins. i still think it is weird to find penguins in africa, since we are used to seeing them in cold environments.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/23  at  03:29 PM

  • Such cute penguins - thanks! How big were they in actuality? They look teensy.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/23  at  08:33 PM

  • NOELLE:  Penguins were about 18 inches tall.

    Glad you’re catching up!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/24  at  05:06 AM

  • Cute penguins. Did you relay any messages from their cousins in Antarctica that you visited a couple of years back? They’re tiny. But still impecably dressed. BTW, blue-footed boobies (hehe) are still funnier than foofie sliding (he)!

    So much catching up to do…

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/27  at  06:57 PM

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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 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.

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Next entry:
Just When You Thought It Was Safe To Go Into A Protective Steel Cage…

Previous entry:
Up In The Air and Down The Funnel


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