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

Thursday, 22 November 2001
Port St. Johns --> Margate (SA)


In Port St. Johns I thanked Grec and Erika for letting me stay two nights. My stomach problems were over, fortunately, and I was happy to get on the leave again. I am just staying too many days lately and I am feeling guilty for that.

A shuttle drove all the people from Port St. Johns to Umtate, the well-known Ultra City petrol station and I was sure I would never see it again, this month.

At this Bazbus-station I met up with the British Katie and the Danish Nuna, who left her friend Britt in Coffee Bay to stay with a Brazilian flirt. Katie and Nuna were going to Durban today, and together with the Dutch Martijn, they were going to try to get me at their lodge the next day. This would be a Friday night and would mean: party night!

I wasn't so sure of my next upcoming whereabouts, but if Martijn or any of them could help me out with a place to stay in Durban, you won't hear me complain.

Today the Bazbus dropped me off in Port Shepstone, after a 4-hour drive from Umtata. The sun had already left this side of the planet when I met up with my hostess, the Swedisch lady Ulrika Cook.

She read about me through an email the backpackers association had sent out to all of her member and decided to invite me over. Not only for the publicity of her lodge, but also to have me -at least- show Margate.

Margate is the most-popular holiday destination of southern Kwazulu Natal, the eastern provence of South Africa and has a 10 kilometers long stretched beachline.

And in Margate, Ulrika runs Margate Backpackers. She started the lodge some three years ago and the place is currently running very good.

I even hung around with some permanent residents of the lodge. Like the Brit Brandon, who is a Margate Beach lifeguard, together with Ulrika's boyfriend Naville.

Next to them I met up with the Turkish man Muti, who is an artist at the Margate Beach promenade, where he creates henna tattoos and writes names on grains of rice.

He arrived in South Africa a few years ago, totally struck because of this major earthquake that shook Turkey and killed over 40,000 people . Thinking about it, I did forget all about it. Like we always forget things.

Muti lost seven of his family members in the earth quake that he survived. Someway he ended up in South Africa and decided to stay here and start a new future. As Ulrika told me: "In the beginning Muti would stay inside as long as possible. It took him at least a year to walk on the beach, because the wind that moved the sand made him afraid of quakes and reminded him of the cruelties nature can bring."

I even felt guilty for forgetting all about the earthquake. How many people remember the last one in India? Someway the media now only runs around other amounts of people killed and situations going on on certain parts of the world only.

Just like South Africa, Turkey and India are countries that the world does not know enough about. I'll get there and do my thing, which is the least I can do...

As a Swedish lady, Ulrika was very very surprise that I didn't make my way through Sweden that positive. I was basically ignored by the Swedish, who all said they just didn't care about my website. Even the press wasn't interested in helping me out publishing about what I am doing, to get me some more invitations in their country.

On the same day I had a live interview with CNN Headline News in Oslo, the Expressen Newspaper (one of the most popular tabloids in Sweden) told me that I should contact a travel magazine.

So I stayed with only three people in Sweden. More wasn't possible.

Arriving pretty late in Margate, we all had dinner in the kitchen of her little cottage (a Turkish, Dutch, Briton and Ulrika and Naville at the table).

After this good dinner Ulrika logged me on to her internet computer and this is where I basically hung around the coming two days two.

I am setting a new standard for myself. I can only write reports, if my hosts allow me the time for it. I just can't keep updating things from days ago as my life goes on and new things happen any minute...

It was around 11pm when I found Ulrika in the garage annex backpackers living room where we watched the Reality-TV channel. Amazing stuff they broadcast!

[b]Good nights Margate!

Ramon.



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