This week I flew up to Durban to help Bronwen pack. The plan was to fly up on Thurs, hire a car and drive back to Cape Town on Fri and Sat. So much for the well laid plans of men and mice........... I arrived Thurs to discover that there was an awful lot of stuff to be packed and a lot of stuff to still be sold. Spent most of Fri packing boxes, suitcases and sorting paper/magazines for recycling. I have just spent the past 3 or 4 months doing the same thing in my life and thought it was all behind me. Durban is very different to CT and I had a battle to find someone who would come and buy bric 'n brac, eventually found a lady who promised to call later in the afternoon. We eventually managed to pack all of Bronwen's stuff in various suitcases, boxes and bags. The odds and sods were sold late in the day just when I was starting to panic that we would have to just leave these things in the house. Of course this meant that we only left Durban on the Saturday morning.
Loading everything on Fri was a nightmare, putting stuff in every nook and cranny and ensuring that there space for Bron's largish dog Max. We set off on the next stage of the adventure at 3.45 in the morning. We had decided to travel along the garden route which is supposedly the quicker way to get to Cape Town! Not more than 1 hour into our trip we got sick and tired of one of the parcels falling onto the dog who was already feeling quite unsettled. We stopped to repack some items and in desperation gave a bag full of groceries to a car guard sitting at a bus stop. Don't think he quite understood what was happening.
We reached Port Shepstone, missed the sign for the main N2 highway and started driving some 15 mins in the wrong direction. Turned around and retraced our steps, the first hiccup of the day. All was going quite well as this is a very beautiful part of the country and we were enjoying the scenery but started to feel a little concerned with the state of the brakes on the hired car as every time we went downhill the steering started shaking severely. This part of the country is Africa in the raw, tourists need to visit this area to see what it is really like in South Africa where there is so much poverty not the facade of cities like pretty Cape Town. There were major roadworks in progress which necessitated sitting waiting for some 10-15 minutes until it was our turn to use the single lane highway. We crawled through two small towns then arrived in Mtata which is an enormous city and the main road is full of potholes and pedestrians. Sitting at a traffic light we heard the back door being opened and turned around to see Bronwen's radio disappearing. Another problem with the hired car, whilst the central locking system worked on the doors, it did not work on the hatchback door. Goodbye one radio as two women on their own, getting involved in an argument would not have been worth the bother and risk. We had planned to drive as far as Port Elizabeth the first day so just had to keep going taking turns with the driving. The next problem occurred when I was driving, the clutch seemed to be sticking and as the long climbs required lots of gear changing, this became a nightmare. Getting hold of the 24 hour call centre for the car hire company proved a little difficult but we eventually got hold of someone. We were promised another car so decided to keep going and we did make Port Elizabeth safely. The b&b very kindly gave us a self catering room so that Max could sleep on the floor.
We had planned an early start but had to wait for the new car and repack everything in it. This done we set off again in a slightly bigger car which was a bonus. Well our planned easy second day became a long tiring day as there were roadworks to contend with and a large section of the road has major speed restrictions which slow down the traffic and make for much longer travelling time. We eventually arrived in Pringle Bay late in the afternoon. We did make the effort to take Max to the beach for his first visit and he was most intrigued with sea and tried to drink the water!
Did manage to stop at the Storms River bridge and took lots of amazing photographs which I will put on my blog in the next few days.
Tonight a good sleep is much needed.............................