A Travellerspoint blog

Good byes suck.

A lot.

I've been working on this entry for over a week. I've been putting it off due to the topic. But here it is, finally. Enjoy.

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Today's the day I (am forced to) say good bye to Africa (for now). It's actually one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. I've fallen in love with this beautiful country, and having to get on a plane and fly away is pretty painful.

66 days ago I arrived in Joburg with little expectations and a whole lot of apprehension. Today I can easily say that Africa has proven to me that even the roughest of countries have a lot of beauty in it, it's up to us to see it.

Writing this blog has also been harder than expected, as it's nearly impossible to put in words the adventures I've been on (and the lack of Internet didn't help either). Besides, words and photos don't do enough, it's really something you have to experience for yourself.

I've been fortunate enough to have traveled quite a bit by myself (not that I'm bragging), but I can easily say that Africa has challenged me in more ways. I look back at my time in Europe and think that all I did was drink a lot and take terrible selfies. Although, I still did that here in Africa, I like to think I did it with a bit more dignity ... This adventure though, has seen me do many other things, things I've never planned on doing. Four years ago in Europe, the most extreme thing I did was to get on a plane by myself.

I look back now and go, "why did I wait so long?"

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Top 10 highlights (in no particular order):
- Volunteering/cage diving with Great Whites in Gansbaai
- Skydiving in Swakopmund
- Seeing the 'Big 5' in Kruger National park, twice
- Sleeping inside a cave in Spitzkoppe
- Walking lion cubs in Livingston
- Riding an Ostrich in Oudtshoorn
- Watching wild animals drink at the waterhole in Etosha National Park late at night
- Swimming on top of Victoria Falls in Livingston
- Surfing lessons in Chintsa
- Climbing Dune 45/seeing dead pan

Pretty much all of these highlights have challenged me mentally/physically/emotionally and because of that I'd like to think I'm a little more stronger/gangsta/tougher (mainly the gangsta part).

Starting out on my African adventure, I can honestly say I didn't expect these 10 to be on my to do list, well, besides the cage diving - I can thank that, the number one thing on my bucket list, for all this!

Looking back at the videos from both cage and sky diving I can barely recognise myself, seriously. I look ridiculously happy (and completely scared). I like seeing myself like that. Usually the photos I see of myself, my smile is more or less put on, but this was 100% real. Maybe I should keep doing crazy/spontaneous things!? If only money was limitless ...

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Present time:

I really have had an amazing adventure in Africa, but no matter what I write it's not enough.

One adventure down, two to go - and yes, I should mention I've added a new adventure! I've been away from Africa for 7 days now, and I'm already starting with the crazy/spontaneous things!

But that my friend will have to wait till another blog.

Until then, it's adiĆ³s.

Oh and thank you, seriously! You guys have pushed me to keep this blog up, and I really appreciate it! Even though I was terribly delayed and most were ridiculously long, we got through it - but I did warn you at the beginning!

Next stop, INDIA!!

Bella xxxx

Posted by AnnaBrad 10:20 Archived in South Africa Tagged adventure farewell africa Comments (0)

A day interrupted

overcast 19 °C

I'm currently writing this in my bed at the Lady Hamilton Hotel with a glass of red wine on the bedside table, a brand new block of fruit and nut chocolate next to me and my head torch on my head - in exactly (well, actually, it's more approximately ...) 10 minutes load shedding will start, and I'm ready for it. I've been in Africa for 34 days now and I'm still shocked and confused whenever the power suddenly turns off, but not this time.

I should start off by thanking the old woman at the supermarket who mentioned the 8 o'clock deadline to an employee. If it wasn't for her, and my skill of casually ears dropping, I might be reliving the same situation I was in two nights ago. Picture this: half way through my warm shower the power goes out ... So naturally a number of horror movie scenes flash into my head. A few seconds later, I realised what had just happened. If I were a crazy serial killer/paranormal entity from beyond, load shedding would be the perfect opportunity to do what they do best.

Yeah, so that glass of wine I mentioned earlier? Well it has suddenly turned into a bottle, thanks to my over imaginative/horror enjoyment filled mind ...

3 minutes till 8 o'clock.

I'm scared/nervous/excited. It's like waiting till midnight on New Year's Eve, except there's no celebration, there's only frustration, inconveniences and a whole lot of darkness, inside and out of the building - expect for me and my (brand new) trusty head torch.

Approximately 10 seconds to go, head torch on and ready ...

I don't understand how South Africans (plus the other countries involved) can cope with this. I mean, half of me thinks it's like having 'Earth Hour' every second or third day/night (and which goes on for an extra hour), and the other half of me questions whether this is the real solution to the problem - one which I don't really understand.

2 minutes past 8 o'clock ...

It also makes me think of the people who live in poverty everyday, who only have the basics to survive. They don't have running water or electricity (or very little of both), so why should we complain about a few hours?

8.03pm - Power has officially gone out.

For me, it's kind of fun (when not in a vulnerable position)! Well, actually, kind of half fun. Being alone means that the thrill that is being in a darkish room only goes so far. Eventually the enjoyment of reading, writing and drinking wine in a dimly lit room wears off and the darkness makes the loneliness more real - that was deeper than intended. If I were with one or more people on the other hand, think of the endless fun! Board games, ghost stories, card games, gossip ... This is the one downside to traveling alone. Usually when I feel a little homesick or lonely, I go to a cafe or take a walk, but being in a country that load sheds (and that I'm not too familiar with, especially at night) makes it harder (and potentially unsafe ...).

I probably should point out that the load shedding can happen during the day as well, it really depends - on what, I'm not too sure. Also, there's apparently an app that lets you know when it's going to occur! I probably should invest in it to save future problems ...

8.15pm, still without power.

I felt like I needed to talk a little more about the country I'm traveling in, and what better way to tell you about it than talking about my own experiences, especially ones I'm currently experiencing!

During the first tour I did starting in Joburg (Johannesburg, for those who don't know the hip slang word), I didn't really notice the load shedding as we were camping 98.95% of the time. Even when our tour leader, Dylan, talked about it I didn't really take it all in, naively unaware that I would eventually be effected. It wasn't until we came into the bigger cities, like Cape Town, our final stop, that we all became aware of it ...

A wise person once said, 'you learn a lot through education, but you learn a great deal more from traveling'. Okay, I'm pretty sure I just made that up, but it's slightly taken from a quote I once heard, or maybe it was just something I read ... Whoever said/wrote it, it's very true.

Important things I've learnt at school:
- Fractions (joking),
- Sin/Cos/Tan equations (seriously joking),
- How to (badly and not properly) speak French,
- How to get on your highly religious teachers bad side (by dressing like a pregnant Juno),
- How to get a high score in Icy Towers (best game).

What I've learnt from traveling (so far):
- How to be a (stereotypical) Australian,
- How to get away with taking touristy photos,
- How to tip,
- Eating too much and gaining weight,
- Survive on little sleep,
- How to be a people person (especially in the morning),
- Eat a meal at a restaurant, alone, and not be embarrassed,
- How to make friends, and keep them.

I could go on, but I'm starting to realise the things I've learnt while traveling, I should have learnt while growing up in my own country ...

8.42pm - pour another glass.

Okay, so, once again I'm rambling.

I feel like I've experienced so much in the last 34 days - through the G Adventure tour and the volunteering - that it's hard to catch you guys up on all of it.

Fortunately (and unfortunately) Facebook exists. I have been posting a number of photos of certain adventures I've been on through that - for those who don't have Facebook (or don't have me as a friend), this is especially for you.

'What's the point of this blog then?' I hear you ask (well, mainly myself asking).

The point is that it's providing you with MORE details of the adventure and (with each glass of wine) a lot more interesting. I'm not going to lie, the blog is also an opportunity for me to relive such fun times.

This blog (and yes, it's taken me now 55 minutes to explain) is going to tell you all about two small (but still fun and interesting) adventures I've been on in the last month. Also, I am aware I call everything that I've been apart of, big and small, adventures, but they are, honestly.

1. Cango Cave Tour
2. Ostrich Farm.

9.16pm, power back on! A lot sooner than expected!

... ... ...

9.37pm, I've decided to call it a night - blame it on the wine, again.

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9.56am, load shedding begins.

I wasn't expecting this one, but luckily I was just finishing up my cup of heaven (coffee) at breakfast, so no harm done.

Since there's no point heading out into Cape Town until the power returns (and the weather clears up), it's best I get straight back into this! No more distractions, and no more wine. Although, technically it's nearly 4pm I'm Perth ...

Before I begin with the two adventure stories, I want to begin with the phone call I got this morning ...

It was from a Frenchman named Patrick, who was my hiking tour guide yesterday morning - I'll talk about my (wonderful) hike up Table Mountain in the next couple of days/weeks. He called to inform me that my Lions Head hike late this afternoon has been cancelled, due to a boulder falling and breaking some of the safety barriers. He has been informed that they'll reopen tomorrow morning, so I'll be able to do the hike then. I agreed, with some hesitation. What if another Boulder falls? Ah well, you can't stop nature ...

The point of this is to let you know how unpredictable life can be, and being a solo travel, you have to accept what you can't control. Also, you should always have a back up plan. I didn't, hence why I'm writing this.

Okay, let's begin (finally).

1. Cango Cave Tour.

Day number 15, our second last full day on the tour. We took a very scenic drive through rocky/hilly terrain to our first destination, the Cango Caves. The whole bus was (secretly and not so secretly) nervous about what to expect. So for the drive we all remained rather silent, listening to our own music and staring out the window. I of course started thinking of a 'horror' film I've seen called 'The Descent' - Quick synopsis; a group of women decide to go down a cave to explore, and they all end up getting attacked and killed by this golem type creature. The twist is even more terrible and confusing. Anyways, the thought of that film made me nervous, and the constant reassurance by my fellow travellers that I'll be fine (mainly due to the fact I have the body shape of a 12 year pubescent boy) surprisingly didn't help.

Finally arriving at the destination, we all grabbed our belongings and headed up to the building. Entering it, half of the group went to the bathroom, the other half aimlessly walked around while our leader paid for the tickets. At the back I noticed a weird tall rectangle hollow shape object thing (??) with different cut outs on the sides. It took me a while, but I realised it was the shapes in which we'd have to try squeeze ourselves through once inside the cave. It was pretty confronting. I know I'm small, but most of the shapes looked ridiculous. I attempted what looked like the hardest one - a long horizontal jaggedly shaped hole that wasn't too deep in height - if that makes any sense. Apparently there's a trick to getting through it, but naturally I wanted to get through it quickly so I attempted to squeeze through without too much thought. Not smoothly at all, I sort of jammed my body into the tightest part of the hole, and awkwardly fell out into the centre of the structure. Everybody on the tour started to join in the 'fun'. Some started panicking that the holes were far too small, and they began to reconsider the excursion. Luckily a woman that worked for the company came over to reassure us that the holes are slightly exaggerated. Apparently they deliberately make them smaller to make sure that if you can squeeze through these tiny holes, you'll be able to do the real ones. It slightly reassured us, slightly. She also told us that the only two people who have gotten stuck was an extremely overweight man, and a pregnant woman. Seriously, why would you even think it was a fun thing to do if you were fat and/or pregnant! Some people are just stupid. Although it was not so pleasant to hear about people getting stuck, it did help us feel that we can all do it.

Finally we all walked into the entrance of the cave, which was a long stairway underground. We were met by the cave guide who told us all about the history of the cave and the reasons why they were formed. It was a pretty spectacular sight. The shapes of the rocks, both on the ground and on the ceiling, were amazing. We were then told that we should all turn our lights off for a few seconds to experience what it was like, back in the day, when they only had one oil lamp. With all our lights off, and with only a small oil lamp on, you could really sense what it was like back then - Cool in temperature, damp (in touch and smell) and basically pure darkness. It was rather unsettling. Of course one of my mate thought it'd be fun to jump out and scare me, not one of my proudest moments ...

It was then time to start the long circle loop of the cave. We all followed the guide one by one through each of the passages, holes, ladders and even a fun slide. I will admit, there was a section called 'The Devils Chimney' (or something similar) that worried me. Having short legs and not being very strong, meant that finding a foot hole at a suitable height and pulling my body weight up a narrow vertical hole, was a lot harder. Ungracefully, I managed to get up after two attempts.

The rest of the tour was made up of long waits to get through the holes and passages, and waiting for the others to catch up. But eventually, there was a light at the end of the tunnel - literally.

Of course, our own minds made the situation a lot worse than it actually is. So it's safe to say we all survived it and kind of enjoyed it! Well, I did at least, mainly because of my 12 year old like body shape - I was able to move through gaps and barely have to crouch down when going through the low ceiling section.

Nothing felt better than finally breathing in fresh air and walking around in the sunshine. I don't know how people work underground, but I have great respect for them!

2. Ostrich Farm.

(12.22pm, powers back on, I think. I'm currently sitting in my favourite cafe, Lola (on Long Street) about to order lunch - I decided on the Teriyaki beef and cashew nut stir fry with a carrot, Apple, orange and ginger juice, in case you were wondering what I ordered.

We drove for about 20minutes through a variety of farms, most of which had a large number of Ostriches in their fields. Finally we arrived at the tourist ostrich farm. From what we were told by our G Adventures guide, we were first taken on a short tour of the farm and then taken to meet the ostriches. We were also informed that you were given the opportunity to be part of a number of activities, all involving the ostriches. They included feeding them, being hugged, kissed and/or massaged by them, and even taken on a short ride on one. Naturally I was talked into riding one as I was well below the maximum weight.

After the short and informative tour by the ostrich guide, we were lead outside to where the ostriches were being kept.

DWARF OSTRICH. DWARF OSTRICH. DWARF OSTRICH. (Please google it!)
They had a beautiful female dwarf ostrich. It was ridiculously cute. This, obviously, lead to lots of 'it's ostrich Annabelle' and 'aw look, you're the same size'. I didn't care, I was damn cute - bird form and human form.

Next we were given the opportunity to feed, hug and kiss the non dwarf ostriches, the (boring) regular ones. Most people volunteered to feed them, a few agreed to hug, but only a select number volunteered to be kissed by one.

The hug was pretty straight forward. You loosely wrap your arms around the very thin neck of the ostrich while the ostrich guide held a bucket of pellets behind you, close enough so the ostrich could reach past to peck at some food. Three or four members of the group decided to do it, as it seemed like the straight forward and less dangerous option. It went quickly and smoothly, the volunteers hanging on long enough for photos to be taken.

Next was 'the kiss'.

The kiss involves putting a pellet in the mouth, just so it literally dangles loosely between your lips, just so the ostrich can easily peck it out. It's as scary as it sounds. First up was Paul, the tall, lanky Englishman was out to prove something - still not sure what. He placed the pellet into his mouth and straightaway the big bird pecked him (quite ferociously) on the lips, grabbing the pellet out. Honestly, it looked painful. Paul tried to laugh it off by saying something like 'the ostrich really wanted to kiss me, haha' but you could tell that his top lip was sore. Last but not least, Tammie. She looked nervous. After what happened with Paul, I don't blame her. With a sense of nervousness, she walked into the enclosure and stood ready. What happened next was pure magic. It happened very quickly, but oh so smoothly. The ostrich quickly and gently plucked the pellet from her mouth. Clearly the ostrich had something against Paul - nobody blames it. New Zealand: 1 England: 0

Next we went to another enclosure close by. I literally had to do a double take. What was this strange bird? Oh wait, it was an emu. How could I not recognise the distinctly unattractive bird that's native to my homeland? It made me rather homesick. The guide asked me if I knew the name of the bird (as he was aware I was Australian), which I replied, 'Emu'. He looked at me for a few seconds, with intense eyes, and replied, 'are you sure?' For a split second I wasn't sure. I started to question my own knowledge of my own country. I nervously replied, 'yes'. He looked at me again for a few intense seconds and laughed. Man, those were some scary couple of seconds. I'm kind of embarrassed that I questioned what I knew, but thank god I did know it!

The guide went on to explain that they have a few emus at the farm, just to show the tourists the difference between the two birds (and make Australians feel sentimental).

Next was the fun part; sitting or riding the ostrich.

Only a few braved sitting on the ostrich, but only the toughest rode it. Well almost, Paul also rode the ostrich, after me.

We started off with two Americans and one Canadian taking turns in getting photos of them sitting on the ostrich. They were apparently over the max weight to ride, or, they just weren't 'tough' enough (I think it was the weight issue ...). The rest of us sat on benches watching as the three macho men of the group got their photos taken. I sat there, patiently, quietly and nervously. Next, the guide yelled out for people who were not acting to take a ride on the bird. All eyes went to me, so I (weirdly confident) said 'I will'. I kinda acted like the tough Australian doing what I do best, sitting on native animals while they run/hop about. Also, I wanted to look cool, just in case I got flung off and broke my arm or something.

The guide and his two ostrich riding instructors (or whatever their title was) told me to grab tightly onto the ostriches wings and jump onto its back, as smoothly as possibly. I responded, 'no problems at all', but in my head I'm like 'shit shit shit shit'.

After that, the gate was opened, the bird was shoved and we began running, like actually running. Of course there were the two riding instructors on either side, just in case the bird went crazy or something, but for 10 seconds or so, all I remember was the wind in my face, the sound of feet running and me trying to smile for my camera, which was being filmed by Dylan.

'Jump off now!' My mind went blank.
'JUMP OFF NOW!' Shit, I needed to jump or something.

Just before the ostrich ran into a pack of other ostriches, I jumped off (quite gracefully if I don't say so myself), landing on both my feet with a slight wobble. The crowd roared with excitement, and clapped me all the way back to the bench, where I took my seat with a smirk on my face, I said 'and that's how it's done'.

Okay, well that may have been over exaggerated, but I did land semi smoothly and get clapped!

Apparently I'm a natural. I think being Australian helped.

Next up was Paul. Let's see if he can be as good as I was. (Listen to me talk, like I'm an expert in Ostrich riding!)

Paul being the very skinny guy that he is, wasn't over the weight restriction (I'm pretty sure he weighs less than me) so he was given the all clear.

Honestly, it was one of the most hilarious things I've ever seen, like something out of a kids cartoon show. Watching this man hold on tightly to this African bird as it raced around the grounds. I don't think anyone can look 'cool' riding an ostrich, and this coming from a pro!

His landing however wasn't as smooth as mine. He fell over but managed to get up straight away and brush himself off. He too was clapped off, but not as loud as mine. Okay, I'll stop with the bragging now!

We both gave each other a quick smile and nod.

After the main event was over, we were next lead to where a pile of eggs lay under a wooden shelter. It was asked that two volunteers stood on the one egg, at the same time, to test how strong they are. The guide did tell us that the eggs are very strong, and there's very little chance of breaking them. However, if the two people did happen to break it, they'd smell awful for a week. Of course, this scared most people away. But a few brave pairs volunteer to prove the theory - all survived the test.

The time at the farm was up and we all went for a quick wonder through the gift shop, before heading back on the truck.

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So that's it, the small and crazy adventure I've experienced.

I hope you all enjoyed the read! Apologies for the length...

I'll try to keep update regularly, but I start my next trip (finally) on Sunday, so who knows!

A x

Posted by AnnaBrad 09:03 Archived in South Africa Tagged ostrich emu Comments (0)

I've been busy living my dream.

rain 18 °C
View African Adventure on AnnaBrad's travel map.

It's amazing how little Internet or other technologies matter when you're busy with the world. It had been six days before I realised I hadn't been on Facebook or the abc news app. For all I knew Perth had been taken over by the 'A' word ... But hopefully not.

Now it's been over 2 weeks since I last posted on my blog - no surprise there. But laziness isn't all to blame, lack of energy and spare time is too (but mainly laziness).

The point to this rant is that to update you all with my adventure is near impossible now (unless you're willing to read 15 pages worth). So instead I'll give you the highlights, the higher lights and the beyond lights ... If that makes any sense.

You better be ready. I recommend a glass of wine or a strong coffee.

But before I start bragging, I'd like to begin by saying you all have to add Africa onto your travel bucket list. Or, if that's too much, at least Kruger National Park. You just have to go. No questions asked. Not only for the animals, but for the natural beauty. Driving through the park, you get distracted by the trees and the rugged terrain. It was just so endless. Kind of like the bush in Australia, but with more greenery. Although, it made animal spotting a tad harder. Little did I know we were about to get lucky, like really lucky
It was such a surreal experience, one I won't forget. Having a chance to see them both during the day and at night was amazing - freezing your ass off for a glimpse of a lion and lioness is totally worth it.

What I learnt from the experience:
- 300 photos of one wild animal is never enough,
- Keep hands inside the vehicle at all times,
- Zebras constantly cross the road (no pun intended),
- Giraffes are rather odd looking, in the nicest way possible,
- Elephants have the saddest eyes
and
- Impala are bloody everywhere.

The photos I've taken don't give the place any justice. The scenery and the animals are just so beautiful. I'm not going to even try to describe Kruger, you're going to have to see it for yourself!

Second of all I should mention the days spent in Swaziland. It's such a contrast to Kruger, with the lush scenery and huge mountains. Driving through the town was just an experience in itself, burning break smells makes for an interesting travel journey.

By this stage in the 17 day adventure there was only 7 of us, including the two leaders. It actually was pretty wonderful having such a small number, made for a more cosy and family like experience. It also meant we could have our own private tents, no sharing meant no fighting for space. This is important.

Our full day involved a cultural experience at a local tribe in the morning and a big hike in the arvo. The cultural experience was great, we learnt how to say certain words in the tribes language, dance a traditional dance and how to cook using the tools they have made. The people in the tribe are such beautiful, happy people, especially the kids. It felt as if they hadn't been affected by the outside world, they were still very traditional in everything they do.
It was a great way to experience what being part of a tribe is like. So completely different from anything I've experienced.

Late afternoon the five of us walked the hippo hike, perfect weather for wildlife spotting and watching out for ...
Such a beautiful hike, one of the best I've done. We experienced walking along side impalas and zebras, uneven and sometimes unstable zigzagging tracks and even through thick mud. We literally were one with nature. But this isn't the best bit. The best bit would have to be the smell of death and decay we came across towards the end. It was a dead buffalo floating on the edge of a bank, with a 2 large crocs swimming past. Thankfully we were up a meter or so from the waters edge, not that it would stop a croc from jumping up ...
Although it was an unpleasant smell and site to see, it's what nature is. Getting to see what happens in the wild is pretty amazing, felt unreal.
Even our leaders were impressed by what they saw.

The last thing I'll mention, for today, would be the two days spent camping by the sea. Port St. John's is a beautiful coastal town, with lush hilly landscapes and friendly people.
The first night there we had a delicious dinner at the camp restaurant, then naturally we all ended up at the bar for a long and drunken night.
It was no surprise the next day we all felt pretty awful. I think I felt the worse as I lost one of my thongs (... flip flops), after owning them for 10 years, it was hard to except. The day before I had signed up for surf lessons, which I started to doubt whether I was up for it. I sculled my coffee and headed off on my ridiculous adventure.
Getting into the wetsuit was hard enough. It felt like a terrible dance move involving a lot of wiggling. After a brief meeting with the (cute) instructor, we headed to the lagoon for a brief paddling session, both in and out the water, before heading to the big waves.
I hadn't even left the surf shack before a problem was discovered. I couldn't carry the surfboard, my arms were too short. Thankfully the instructor helped me out with that, winning.
On land we went through the motions of paddling and jumping into the correct surf pose. The first 4 goes were a tad embarrassing, but after that it was till embarrassing but I was better. Next it was lagoon time.
I was hoping as soon as I grabbed the board and got into the water my Australian surfing instincts would kick in. Unfortunately they did not.
Jumping onto the board in the chilly water was a step further than I thought I'd get, so that was a good sign. We paddled around for ten minutes before we were declared "pros" by the instructor.
Ocean time.
From the lagoon we couldn't see the ocean so we weren't aware of what were to expect ...
Dum dum duuuuum
Big. Huge. Giant. Waves. Then again, most things are big compared to me. I may be exaggerating a tad, but for a girl with no surf experience it was a tad overwhelming.
The instructor, two young guys and I headed out to what will be an intense 2 hours. I didn't make it too far without getting dumped and attacked by waves (and by waves, I mean the whitewash part). We started off by getting onto our boards and getting pushed in front of a wave, riding it into the shore. I clung on for dear life. But it was a lot of fun, it's a shame that's not considered surfing ...
Next wave, my first attempt at standing up, I did it. I stood up. I actually stood up. I'm officially Australian. It felt bloody amazing. Scary, but amazing. I probably should point out that I only lasted around 5 seconds. 5 thrilling seconds. It took 5 attempts (all of which involved me being tossed under water) to do it again.
For the rest of the hour and a half I basically drank 2L of salt water, got tossed and turned under water, got laughed at by the instructor and collapsed with exhaustion with 30mins to go. But who cares? I stood up!
I slept amazingly well that night.

Other crazy, fun and exciting stuff has happened before and after these three adventures. 'll try to write more short paragraphs about other exciting adventures had here, but they are endless so it'll take a while to get through.

Once again, thank you for being patient. I promise to be better! Well, promise is a big word, I'll "try" to be better haha

Peace
A x

Posted by AnnaBrad 09:40 Archived in South Africa Tagged gansbaai Comments (0)

24 hours.

all seasons in one day
View African Adventure on AnnaBrad's travel map.

I want to start off by saying how proud I am of myself. I was able to get out of bed at 2.37am for the final morning in Perth. Not only that, I was able to have a shower, get dressed AND pack my hand luggage all before a cup of coffee. Its not very often I'm able to do this on a normal day, so I have to congratulate myself on this (it's all about the small things in life).

Good byes (or hello's) aren't my forte, so my parents got a quick hug, a smile and a 'see you in a few months', before I left for the airport.

I should point out that even at this point (driving to airport) it still hadn't sunk in that I'm going away. But then again, I'm now surviving on 2 pieces of vegemite toast and 1 cup of tea. I'm hopeful that a wave of emotion would hit me hard, having said that, I've been waitings years for feelings and emotions to develop fully.

Airports has a certain feel about them, especially when you're the one getting on the plane. You walk in with a sense of purpose and importance, especially when you're carrying a back pack that is bigger than you - literally.

Walking through duty free on the other hand is a different story. I walk in with a sense of desperation, my thoughts were basically 'give me all the gin and one chocolate bar and nobody will get hurt.' But, I walked out with nothing. No gin. No chocolate bar. Just a tinge of sadness. Oh well, Africa will be my gin, and India my chocolate bar. That should be absolutely fine.

The plane ride to Dubai went surprisingly well. I had 3 seats to myself, so for the 10hrs and 55mins I changed from aisle seat, to the middle, to the window seat and to all three at once. Pure bliss. It was a pretty empty flight, so I wasn't the only lucky one - but I could sense the woman across from me hated me for my luck #hatersgonnahate

During that flight I realised why I don't mind long plane rides; It reminds me of my (unemployed) life at home. A typical day for me would be getting up, eating, watching tv, eating, napping, watching a movie, eating, sleeping. And that's basically what I did for 10hrs and 55mins. The food was surprisingly delicious, the naps rather comfy, the movies pretty entertaining and the company (myself) well, thats always good. I've never flown Emirates before, but I found the whole experience a great one - the stars on the ceiling when the cabin lights dimmed being the thing that one me over.

The landing into Dubai was an interesting one. The view outside the window was rather unexpected - not necessarily in a good way. Very smoggy and slightly brown looking. Visibility was lacking, which didn't give me the greatest first impression. Walking off the plane I swear the heat hit me hard. But there was no time to stop, look or complain, I had to race to my gate which was a (fun) train ride away to the connecting terminal.

The inside the airport was rather impressive. To describe it in one word, massive. The highest of ceilings I've ever seen in an airport. I wish I had the time to explore the airport and the shops.

Arriving at the gate I felt suddenly very conscious of my age, gender and race. Not in an unsafe or scary way, just in the way that people do stare at you. I guess it's uncommon for woman to be traveling alone in certain countries, especially countries that could be considered dangerous. But being such an avid and independent traveler, I have learn to accept the looks and the comments.

Handing my boarding pass to the air hostess, she responded with 'thank you Miss Bradshaw ... ohh like that woman ... Carrie!' It seems that no matter where I travel people point out my relation to that woman, dammit.

Getting onto the plane I noticed that it was also very empty! I managed to score myself 4 seats free in the middle, so I knew I was in for a comfy plane ride - Another 8hrs full of eating, sleeping and watching movies.

I started off with (surprisingly) a Katie Holmes movie called 'Miss Meadows'. I'm not going to lie, it was weirdly entertaining. The tagline for it was 'she doesn't play well with others' - enough said. Her character has been likened to the homicidal Mary Poppins, which sounds pretty amazing. She is disgustingly sweet and proper, but her and her gun isn't a good mix ....

Food was eaten, naps were had.

The final movie I watched was a Simon Pegg movie called 'Hector and the search for happiness'. I really enjoyed it! It really got me into the traveling mood. Well, expect for the part where he got kidnapped in Africa ... But still really enjoyable. Lessons were learnt, laughs were had, moments were made.

The rest of the plane ride was a blur. I did have to fill out a health form, which they asked if I had any flue like symptoms or if I've had any contact with someone suffering from ebola. My answers may differ when I have to fill out a health form for entering India ...

I was met with my lovely driver named Leonard. He told me many stories and interesting facts. He was even very jealous about the adventure I was going on, especially about the Great White Shark volunteering! For someone surviving on 5 or so hours sleep, I was surprisingly talkative and enthusiastic. Which is something I'll need to be able to bring for surviving the 2 tours with other people!

Eventually I got into my room, which I was lucky enough to have all to myself! Spacious open plan room, with one large couch, a desk, two single beds and a shower - yes you heard me correctly, the shower is located in the room, with no privacy ... will be interesting when I have my guest turn up tomorrow night!

Had a shower, a cuppa and hopped into bed for the first time in over 24hours - it was bloody amazing!

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Self service breakfast. Yeah, heaven does exist. I ate a little bit more than I normally would, but surviving on plane food meant I needed it! I befriended the chef who told me her life story and gave me her number. Not sure what I'm supposed to do with it, but it was an interesting way to start the day.

Soon after breakfast, I fell in love. With a deer. I've named him Bambi, naturally. He followed me around, stuck his head through the fence to try give me kisses, laid down next to me while I read and let me scratch his head. It was the perfect way to spend my first day.

Bambi is part of a small animal sanctuary they have at the lodge. Other animals include springboks, ducks, geese and ostriches. If you're very lucky, an ostrich will walk up to the fence, look at you, and then start peeing. I was very lucky.

Most of the day I spent skyping and listening to music, all by Bambi side (so very romantic). I am tempted to do a Angelina Jolie and adopted him.

But by 3.30pm I finally made a human friend! She's a lovely girl from Poland named Lidia who is living in London. We ventured to the local supermarket 1.5km away on foot. Was an interesting experience! The supermarket was big. I tried very best to not go crazy, so I just bought the basic - water, crackers, apples, a single roll of toilet paper and a snickers bar. I'm not sure how much I spent due to being very bad with currency and exchange rates, but what you don't know won't kill you... Or something.

Walking back with a shopping bag in one hand, snickers bar in the other. We decided to head into the big city the next morning before our tour begins. We've been advised to travel in packs, or as I prefer to call it, gangs. Having said that, it's probably best I don't join a gang here... Unless it's like Hamish and Andy's 'Gang-a-roo'. But people can get beaten up for having lame gang names like that.

I ordered a Greek Salad for dinner which gets delivered to the reception, such convenience. I need to bulk up on as many vegetables possible, not that Greek salads provide much!

An early night tonight before a big day tomorrow! We meet up with the tour group at 6pm, hopefully there's a few Aussies on board! I'll probably regret saying that, Australians are everywhere!

I'm not sure when I'll be able to post, so you'll all have to wait in anticipation! I'll make sure to have another exciting story to share, but I'm sure that won't be hard! I have a great feeling that Africa will be my favourite place yet! Bambi sure did help though :)

But for now, keep it real.

Bella x

Posted by AnnaBrad 10:37 Archived in South Africa Comments (0)

Tomorrow.

I'm currently surviving on 5 hours sleep, one cup of coffee and the knowledge that this time tomorrow I'll be on a plane.

Hopefully that's enough incentive to complete the long list I have of 'things to be done before the plane leaves or else you're in trouble'. The number 1 item on that list is to get excited (or, as the cool kids say, 'get pumped'). I'm sure I'm not the only one that finds that returning home from a holiday actually feels as if they'd never left at all.

WikiHow is my go to website for life advice. Here is a few important (and hilarious) points from the 'How to get excited for a holiday: 9 step' guide:

2
Work on your image. Need to go on a diet? Have bad skin? Dark circles under your eyes? Working on these will make time go faster, knowing you have a goal to reach.

4
Create lists of what to do. Create a list with pen and paper about what you will be doing the night or day before. Tidying up? Final packing? Shopping? Exercise? Anything you want.

5
The night before make it a night of luxury. Face masks and massages, shave those legs and under arms and have a lovely bath. Be fresh for the morning!

7
Be healthy for the week to come. Sleeping more makes time seem less, drinking (water!) more makes you more energetic so you'll feel more tired.

I'm personally looking forward to getting rid of my dark eye bags, having a lovely bath and drinking (g&t's).

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I won't be contactable by mobile, but thankfully with technology these days there's many other ways to contact me - Facebook, email, instagram, Skype, etc.

I'll try my best to post every second or third day, but I am ridiculously lazy and forgetful so no promises!

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Today I'll be spending the last usable hours completing my list (and wiki's). Tomorrow at 3am I will be catching a taxi to begin my most exciting adventure yet!

But for now, it's au revoir.

Bella B.

Posted by AnnaBrad 08:35 Archived in Australia Tagged home Comments (0)

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