Thursday, October 11, 2007

Rugby is for Girls; Speak British; Barbed Wire

After visiting my cousin at the Amakhala game reserve, I stayed in a gritty little city called Port Elizabeth. It is kind of the Somerville of the Western Cape, the section of South Africa in which I've been traveling. My first night I promptly caught a cold and stayed in the same hostel for 3 nights. I was forced to endure night after night of rugby on the livingroom TV.

Rugby Is A Girlie Game

After watching a number of rugby games, I've come to the conclusion that it is a sport for pansies.
Here's why:
1) The game is played mainly by white guys in collared shirts and expensive haircuts.
2) In American football, players tackle by throwing each other to the ground. In rugby, players tackle by trying to rip each others clothes off, almost like overexcited teenagers making out.
3)rugby players spend an unnatural amount of time hugging opposing players and with their hands between each others legs.
4) any contact sport where the French are leading contenders is highly suspect.

Speak British

After my cold went away, I moved on to a town called Plettenberg Bay. This is more like a nice beach town on Cape Cod. I spent two nights there drinking till 1:30 with a nice group of Brits and Germans. (oldest person besides me was 32 years old). I picked up some new vocabulary words from the Brits that are worth passing on.

Tosser: Another word for a "wanker," or a jerk off

Knackered: Tired

Winge: To kfetch or complain

Pissed: To be drunk

Jumper: Sweater

Brilliant: excellent

Wife-beater: any kind of men's vest

Good Fences Make Good Neighbors

In South Africa, the cliched white pickett fence has been replaced with 6-foot high stone walls topped with decorative concertina wire or an electrified fence. The walls also usually have an attractive sign that includes the name of their security company and the words "Armed Response." Unfortunately, what I've seen of the armed guards does not instill a lot of confidence. In Port Elizabeth, the hostel in which I stayed had an all night guard, who couldn't have been more than 18. I wonder if his mother knew he was out that late.

Weather Report: Cold, Rainy

For the last week or so, it has been rainy and in the 40's and 50's. I had envisioned South Africa a little differently: Hot, dusty, people running around in loin cloths. Most people I see are wearing down coats and ski hats.

I went sea kayaking yesterday in Plettenberg Bay and the guide made us turn back after the rain got so bad and the wind picked up. Landing the kayak on the beach, I got tossed in the water, which felt warm compared to the air temperature.

Price Comparison

In Plettenberg Bay I walked into a 4-star hotel that overlooked the ocean. The hotel was pretty nice. Actually, it was gorgeous. Two nights in the cheapest room at the hotel costs about 3800 Rand, or $540. That would be enough to get your own room at a hostel for almost 3 weeks. (hostel room would probably have a shared bathroom and access to a kitchen.)