The kindness of strangers

Well, it’s been a wild ride.

Had to be up at 4:30 yesterday morning in order to finish packing and get a taxi to the bus station for 6 a.m. when I had to pick up my ticket. So no breakfast. The bus left at 6:30 and we had only 3 stops for 10 minutes on a 13 hr bus ride. As my bus and a big double decker seemed to be traveling together, when we would arrive at a rest stop, you had to make your choice between bathroom and food, as the line-ups were really bad. So I’d choose bathroom of course, as there was none on the bus, not even the ’emergency toilet’ of my previous bus trip. I managed to score some potato chips, cookies and juice at one stop, which I shared with Fi-fi, a small child of about 5 who was traveling with her mother and an approximately year old cousin.

I had tried to contact the B&B the previous day when I was sure I could get a bus ticket, but I had not gotten a reply. I had tried to phone them from the bus when business hours arrived, but only got a message that no one was there, so SMS’d them with my info and phone number, but didn’t hear from them.

Consequently, I arrived in Grahamstown dead tired, after dark, in the rain, with nowhere to stay. I had asked Fifi’s mother if the hotel across from the bus stop was OK, and she seemed doubtful. She said she would ask the person who was picking her up, who knew the downtown better. Said woman said ‘no way’ to the hotel, and offered to drive me to a B&B that she knew.

You have to picture 3 heavy women and two children packed into the front seat of a pickup truck that is smaller than anything I’ve seen at home. The pickup truck also had a shattered windshield with two bullet holes in it.

I got to the B&B, and the only room they had left, while clean, was so small that I couldn’t open my suitcase in it. The people that ran it though were really nice too, and phoned the next B&B I had booked to find out if I could come a day early. They also fixed up a rental car for me, and offered to call me if they were doing a horseback tour this week. They do a night time mountain ride on the full moon, which has just passed, and sounds absolutely incredible. That place was Oak Lodge.

Also when I got to the bus stop there was this big older gentleman who was quite intoxicated, who insisted he was going to help me with my luggage, and kept trying to wrest it from me. I had to get quite DEFINITE with him before he would fade away, and then I ran into him again on my way to KFC.

I was so starved when I got to the B&B that I asked the young night clerk where I could get some food, and he directed me to KFC, which was right back across the street from the bus station. When I got there, they had just locked up the doors 5 minutes ago, and I literally got down on my knees begging for any left overs, as all the cookers had been turned off. One of the girls inside told the security guard to let me in when she heard the circumstances, and said she could make me a wrap with what was left, and there were some cold chips and a can of orange juice. Can you imagine KFC tasting that good??? Generally my opinion of their food is that I’d only eat it if I was starving and there was nothing else. Well that day arrived and I was grateful for it, for sure, and for the kindness of the young lady that let me in.

Today so far, I have rented my car, as there are many things in the outlying area that I want to see. Also, I found a music store and got a couple discs. Ran into this new artist here called Ayo. . You have to put a period after her name or else it means ‘onion’ . With the period, it means ‘Joyful’. Heard her on the TV here, a big hour long thing and she is spectacular!! Also read A Act of Terror by Andre Brink, a SA author – it was brilliant!! And another good book that I think Kayleigh would like, or anyone else who likes Dan Brown type stuff was called The Righteous Men, and I can’t remember the author. Rhonda, you might like that one too, as takes place a lot in a Hassidic community and some good Kabbalistic lore in the plot.

MT, don’t despair of me – a shower, some clean clothes and a good night’s sleep and I’ll be back to my old self.

Pictures tomorrow, I think – or maybe today, we’ll see.

Alaric at the Video Store and Internet Cafe at the mall is another kind person who has given me phone numbers and contacts for himself and his mom in case I run into problems again, and he has kindly allowed me to download the software that will allow me to get pics to you all.

The kindness of strangers here has amazed me.

Happy flower

Mr Stork, I think

Don’t know what it is, but it’s stunning

My beautiful room at MyThai - balcony behind the desk, own bath, tiolet and shower

I’m in love again - and he just loves my boots, but comes to visit in the middle of the night if I’m wandering

Mountain scenery between Durban and Grahamstown

More mountain scenery

Street vendors.  East London, I think

More street vendors

Living in the clouds

Street vendor selling plastic flowers and wooden spoons



  1. Eli Jakeman said

    Hey Maw,
    I helped Davina post a birthday wish on your birthday (she was at my place) but it didn’t seem to get posted. She wished you a happy birthday and wanted you to come home wo you two could have chocolate cake.

    Thanks Eli. That’s really nice. Both the other kids left little notes too. Give the Princess a snuggle for me and tell her I’ll be home before Toria’s birthday. That will help her place it in time, maybe.

  2. MT said

    Hey, grannym!

    No, I hadn’t given up on you! Knew you were disappointed in Durban – I agree – it has gone waaaay downhill since I lived there – all the happenings are out in the suburbs now – I only go through there now to get to somewhere else. Glad you got to Grahamstown safely – what a long bus-ride! Have driven Durban – P.E. in one day myself in a little Datsun. The distance looks reasonable on a map, but must be close to 1000 km. Can picture the scenery and the winding roads through the Transkei with the wandering goats, pigs and donkeys – hazards in the day or night. (Try to keep the rental car dent-free!)

    Good that you have discovered Andre Brink. Haven’t read An Act of Terror, but have 3 of his books here – all winners that I must re-read soon – Rumours of Rain, An Instant in the Wind, and A Dry White Season. Do you know Nadine Gordimer? Athol Fugard? And of course, Alan Paton of Cry the Beloved Country fame? Great S.A. writers all.

    ** Some of them I’ve read many years ago, but hadn’t come across Brink before, as far as I remembered. A good addition to my list of authors to watch. **

    Am enjoying your photos and looking forward to reports of activities from that region. I don’t know it as well as KZN. Have you had enough of elephants or are you going to Addo? Have you had any kingklip yet? I had the best somewhere in P.E. That city also has an interesting snake park on the waterfront where handlers put on demos for the tourists. Maybe snakes are more your thing than spiders. Whatever you are doing, hope the weather co-operates. It has been great here, and looks like it will be a fantastic Thanksgiving weekend.
    ** Not going to Addo, but going to try and get to the Sanctuary near Knysna – maybe stay there overnight above the elephant barn. Had Kingklip and it was really nice. If you’re ever looking for a good hamburg in Durban, a place called Coco’s on Fla Rd makes one called the Manhattan burger I think – cheese, bacon and mushroom sauce, and really good beef. Also want to go to the monkey place and the bird place down there, and maybe on a whale/dolphin cruise. A lot will depend on how often I get lost
    Happy Thanksgiving!! **

    All for tonight – I mean this morning – it’s 1 a.m.! Stay safe! MT

  3. Eli Jakeman said

    Mmmmmmmmm, KFC…
    Bring back fond memories of being preggers with Erin?
    I’m sure you could have found some lizards or crickets to eat instead.

  4. Kayleigh said

    Thanks! I’ll soon be out of new Lit. I’m hunting it down right now… I think it’s written by Sam Bourne.

    *** You’re right – that’s who it is.

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