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During my travels newspaper columns were published weekly in the Dutch daily newspaper
Dutch newspaper Spits

This project has been supported by these great and warmhearted companies:
Netherlands: Paping Buitensport, ODLO, IPtower.nl, AVRO Dutch Broadcasting Org., Travelcare, TunaFish, Book A Tour, StadsRadio Rotterdam; UK: Lazystudent, KissFM, The Sunday Times, The Guardian; Isle of Man: SteamPacket/SeaCat; Ireland: BikeTheBurren; Belgium: Le Temps Perdu, Majer & PartnersAustria: OhmTV.com; Norway: Scanrail Pass, Hurtigruten, Best Western HotelsSouth Africa: eTravel, British Airways Comair, CapeTalk, BazBus Spain: Inter Rail, Train company Renfe; Australia: Channel 9 Television, Bridgeclimb, Harbourjet, SeaFM Central Coast, Moonshadow Cruises, Australian Zoo, Fraser Island Excursions, Hamilton Island Resort, FantaSea Cruises, Greyhound/McCafferty's Express Coaches, Aussie Overlanders, TravelAbout.com.au, Travelworld, Unlimited Internet, Kangaroo Island SeaLink, Acacia Apartments; Malaysia: Aircoast; Canada: VIA rail, Cedar Springs Lodge, BCTV/GlobalTV, St. George Hotel, VICKI GABEREAU talkshow, Ziptrek Ecotours, Whitler Blackcomb Ski Resort, Summit Ski & Snowboard Rental, High Mountain BrewHouse, Cougar Mountain Snowmobiling, Whistler Question Newspaper, Snowshoe Inn, First Air, Nunanet.com, Canadian North Accommodations by the Sea, DRL Coachlines Newfoundland, The National Post and Air North.


Reports

Wednesday, 31 October 2001
Oudtshoorn --> Wilderness (SA)


After ostrich breakfast in the Backpacker Paradise, I packed my stuff together again and left it at the reception. I spent most of the morning at the Tourist Office, finding out that tourism director Pierre-Andre Nel had left already in the morning, heading for a meeting in Mosselbaai.

There was no sign of the man who promised me a fine upcoming week, it was all Allison and I only. Allison is the only employee there, who works hard, helps the people and answers about 30 phone calls in thirty minutes.

She had got the order to find me places to stay, but without the full enthusiasm of Pierre-Andre Nel, I didn’t really see this work. Allison started calling the tourist offices in different town along the garden route and she had to explain the people about what I am doing (as I just explained everything to her).

I found that quite a bummer, especially as Pierre-Andre told me that he would arrange accommodation for me. Now, somebody else had to help me, starting from zilch. That's not how you run things!

And I haven’t started about the Letmestayforaday-gift yet, that he would arrange for my next host this morning. There was no sign of it and he probably forgot all about it. THE CHAIN that has been going around the world for over 180 days and had trailed through 11 countries WAS BROKEN.

What a pity. What a shame, even for me, as I tried to continue this gift-thing from one host to the next one.

Together with Allison I worked out a schedule for the upcoming week. I was going to stay at a Bed & Breakfast in Wilderness first!

A nearby shoe repair service fixed the sole on my shoe and I even tried to have my mobile phone put back into working order, but that was unfortunately a hopeless try.

The thing is dead. I can now even hit it with a hammer and it won’t even make a difference. My backup team is working hard to solve the problem. We’ll see…

At 12.45 a shuttle bus brought me and some other backpackers from Oudtshoorn to George, where I got a sponsored ticket to get onto the Baz Bus, South Africa’s handy hop-on-hop-off bus service for backpackers.

The Baz Bus isn’t a luxury ride, but it does bring you where you want to go and most other transport services in South Africa don’t even do that. It drove me from George towards Wilderness, just a 6 kilometers distance.

And Wilderness is the wild name for a small settlement. The Wilderness village cuddles up attractively between the long surf-washed beaches of the warm Indian Ocean, the Outeniqua Mountains and the lakes and waterways of the Wilderness National Park.

For thousands of years the district was home to roving bands of hunters, known as the San, whose paintings are still to be found in caves in the surrounding mountains. Lather the Khoikhoi came to herd their sheep and cattle, while sharing the fishing and coastal harvests with the San.

When the Baz Bus dropped me off on the main street of Wilderness, I walked up a hill towards my place to stay. Right of me I got a great view on the lagoon that could almost touch the full waving blue ocean. Above me people were airborne with their paragliders and hanggliders.

This place doesn’t look like wilderness at all! It’s looks like cloud nine!

At their Bed & Breakfast called Mont Fleur, and it really was mountain of flowers, I met up with Paul and Sue Nicolas. They heard about me this morning through Allison at the Oudtshoorn tourism and immediately offered me to stay two nights.

Their elegant B&B has four spacious en suite double rooms, each with satellite television and tea & coffee facilities. There is a very comfortable lounge and bar which leads out onto a covered veranda where I could enjoy the prolific bird life or just simply relax and watch the sun go down.

I had to catch my breath when I was there... I walked around with my camera, capturing this magnificient place. Staying here for two nights would make so many people envious, would it be okay?

The possibility of internet in Wilderness is almost nil. I was lucky; Paul is the chairman of the local Tourism Office, an independent foundation that depends on the commissions it earns and donations. There was one Internet connection there and I could only just post my photos and the story about my stay in Die Rust last week.

Back at Mont Fleur I explained Paul and Sue all about my project while we had dinner (ostrich goulash) in the kitchen. I was their personal guest and they didn’t want to put me solely in the dining room with a romantic couple from Germany. I had to tell them the whole story and I hoped that they would understand the whole purpose of it.

Dinner ended with coffee and drinking wine into the night. Paul told me about his life in the SA Navy, where he was a diver and mine deconstructor for almost 25 years. He retired from it and replaced their live in Cape Town for a easy one in Wilderness. Can't blame him!

Before I headed to my room, I jumped in their pool for a few dips and climbed under the blankets of my bed. I played around with the remote control and saw how two South Africans won 250,000 South African Rand in Who Wants To Be A Millionaire.

Good night Wilderness!

Ramon.



In the media today:
NTV MSNBC (Turkey): “Un yani lütfen birgün kalmama izin verin


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