Reilly on the Road travel blog

Moonrise over Port St. John's

In The Drum Circle

Show-off in the township

More Showing off

Jostling to get in the picture

The View from my tent at Amapondo

Old Ben Gunn ..

Dumela! (hello)

This was perhaps the first time it felt like Africa. Port St. John's is in a region known as the Transkei a former African "Homeland" designated under Apartheid. These were roughly equivalent to Indian reservations, but imagine if 80% of our population was Native American. This was the essence of Apartheid - separate development for whites and then the various tribal groups throughout the coutry to divide the non-whites as much as possible. As such, it has been isolated from much of the development in the rest of "White" South Africa until the first free elections in 1994.

This was the first time, we really felt we were in Africa - in a place where we were among the minority and out of our element. These are the places where you feel your stomach tighten a bit and your guard go up. These are also the places where you realize how much a simple greeting, a smile or a laugh can bring people together, and that there is common ground between people most anywhere you go in the world. This is what I love about travel.

We stayed in a great backpackers just off the coast and had some great hikes around and a visit to the local township pub or "Shebeen" for some drinks overlooking the ocean. ON an architectural note, all the houses overlooking the ocean had no windows on that side to soak in the unbelieveable view. When we asked about it, the practical takes precedent over the aesthetic - the wind is too strong in winter and drafty windows aren't off set by great views. The Hostel runs community projects here, so alot of local kids came out, and this old hippy who seemed to be everywhere we looked into town, broke out his hand drums for a little communal drumming circle. Even though he was whit South African, he called himself "Bali" which means old man in Xhosa. We had a great time drumming with the kids and then some other guy broke out his Cirque Du Soleil act with fire sticks and bolos.

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