From Thursday to Sunday, the two other COST students and myself went to Port Elizabeth. We stayed at a backpackers called Jikeliza. It was in the center of Port Elizabeth and close to the beach. Before coming to South Africa, I thought backpackers (aka hostels) were dirty places that I wouldn't want to stay in. However, they are actually very nice. Now you don't get your own room and bathroom like a hotel but you can't beat a 3 night stay $30!
On Thursday, it was raining so we went to the mall. There isn't a mall in Grahamstown so we enjoyed getting to go shopping. That night we went to the Boardwalk for dinner. The Boardwalk had a casino so we went and gambled like 10 rands (about $1.50) just for fun. There is a sports bar connected to the casino that had karaoke. We didn't sing or anything because half the songs were in Afrikaans. Luckily we met some people who were able to translate. One of the girls I went with named Diana is Italian. On our way out she saw a guy with a Roma jersey on. She went up to him to ask if he had ever traveled there before. We ended talking with these guys and it turned out they were professional cricket players, aka the South African version of the MLB. We were planning on going to the Rugby game Friday however they offered free tickets to the cricket game so we couldn't turn that down!
On Friday, we spent the day chilling at the beach and watching people surf. I am determined to learn how to surf while I am here! Friday night we went to the Cricket game with some other people at our backpackers from Europe. Wow, cricket is so much fun to watch! I entered the stadium not knowing how the game worked or if it was going to be any fun. I left a huge cricket fan. They played a version of cricket called 20-20 so that it is a short game. A cricket can last up to 5 days if they don't cap the overs. 6 "pitches" is considered an over. So by capping the number of overs, they are capping the number of pitches. At the game there was a small marching band and a concert band. So there was tons of music and dancing! So enjoyable! After the game, we went out with the team... I felt like a local celebrity with them!
On Saturday, we went on an all-day game drive! We got picked up at 9am and didn't return until 10pm! We went on 3 game drives. The first was a 2 hour game drive at Addo Elephant National Park. There we saw elephants, monkeys, kudu, leopard tortoise, etc... Next, we ate lunch and went on a 3 hour game drive at Schotia private game reserve. Here we saw giraffes, impallas, warthogs, zebras, wildabeasts, and rhinos. Next, we had an excellent dinner and went for a night drive. On the night drive we saw a whole pride of lions. 3 males and 5 females. It was absolutely amazing to be only 5 feet away from the lions and all the other animals we saw. Of course, we were sitting high up on a jeep so we were in no danger. It cost around $150 to go on all 3 game drives, lunch, dinner, tea, and all-you-can-drink! Totally worth every cent!
The only down side of the trip (giving the bad and ugly part of the title of this blog) was I got my wallet and camera stolen :( So here is what happened: Everyone here knows to leave absolutely nothing in your car because people will smash your windows and take it. Well, on Thursday night I accidentally brought out my wallet with me and forgot my purse. So when we got to the boardwalk, I decided to keep my wallet in the glovebox because I didn't want to carry it without my purse. Well when we got back to our backpackers, I forgot to take it out of the car along with my camera. We also didn't know we could, and needed to, take the radio plate out of our rental car. So some time between 3am to 6am someone smashed our windows to steal the radio and while they took that they ramaged through the car and took my wallet and camera. Even worse was that I had taken out my rent money and safari money so I had about $400 in my wallet. So stupid of my to ever carry that much money. LESSON LEARNED! and of course I now don't have a camera and lost all my pictues. Luckily we had already booked our safari but hadn't paid so they let me go complimentary because of what happened.
So despite getting my wallet and camera stolen, I had an excellent trip to Port Elizabeth!