Friday, April 30, 2010

(Un)Baz Day 18-19: Swartberg

Remember those new friends I mentioned who we shared our house with in Coffee Bay? They are a group of three girls we kept running into along our South Africa route, until we finally decided that we're destined to be BFFs. When it came time to pack up and head out to Durban (where they, of course, were headed as well), they were kind enough to give us a lift in their rental car and spare us the ten hour Baz Bus journey. We hit the road at noon and expected a leisurely arrival around sunset.

Well, shortly after stopping for gas en route, the sun began to set. The road got darker, and seemingly longer as well. We started to get the feeling that maybe this wasn't quite right. Finally, a T-stop offered us a selection of two towns we had never heard of, confirmed that we had in fact made a wrong turn somewhere.

Out of nowhere, a truck pulls up beside us and rolls down their window. They tell us we passed our turn off about an hour back, but give us directions on our new scenic route. We are disappointed to hear it will be another three hours before we make it to our destintion. Have I mentioned how dark it is?

We travel a few miles further, and notice people keep flashing their brights at us. We don't know what this means. The truck who helped us is driving just ahead, and they put on their blinker and signal for us to pull over. We think they are going to clue us into what all the flashing is about. Instead, they ask where we are from. I catch a worried glance when we reveal we're British and American.

The guy warns us that the road we are on is pretty unsafe. Especially for tourists. Especially on weekend nights. Car jackers and drunk drivers abound. And heaven forbid we have any car trouble, cause we were about 80 miles north of the middle of nowhere. Cell reception, not so much. He tells us they have a farm just up the road, and offers to put us up for the night, free of charge. And wouldn't you know, supper will be ready upon our arrival.

At this point, we are faced with a decision:
A - Follow this kind stranger several miles up a dark dirt road. Um, have you ever seen the movie Touristas?
B - Test our luck on a much longer dark road, only mildly aware of where we are going.

If there is one thing I have learned about traveling, it's to trust your insticts. And we all agree that option A is slightly less likely to end in disaster. As we follow them up the winding dusty path, we joke about what our escape plan will be if he pulls out a chain saw.

You will be relieved to hear, there were no chain saws to be found. What there was, however, were polo sticks. Polo themed paintings. Polo tropies. Lots of them. Turns out our friendly host is a world famous polo player, former captain of the South Africa Polo team. Their 2,000 hectare farm is home to horses, sheep, pigs, wild zebra, a Shetland pony, and polo enthusiasts from around the world who come visit to stay and play on their private field. We enjoyed a night of home cooked dinner, generously flowing wine and conversation with their other guests. We awoke bright and early to the roosters cock-a-doodle-dooing on the porch. And despite our insistence, they wouldn't accept a dime for their hospitality.

Take THAT Baz Bus.

1 comment:

  1. AWESOME!!!! that sums up everything awesome about traveling. amazing story.