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During my travels, my compensation for free accommodation for one night, was for me to write a daily travel diary. Of how I got to my next location, the people who would host me, the food I was offered and everything else. Below you find the archives of the highly extensive reports. Know that English is not my native language and most reports were written at high speed around midnight. Enjoy.

Friday, 9 November 2001
--> Keurboomstrand (SA) extra day

With a sunny day coming up next, I already prosponed my next stay for a day in a next place, to be able to stay another day at the Abalone Beachhouse in Keurboomstrand. Because this was a paradise spot for me and I loved the group of young international people I was with.

Today was very relaxing, however it ended very active in the local nightclub of Plettenberg Bay and with bottles of champaign at home...

The two other Dutch guys that I shared this room with had already left the premises to travel on when I woke up. It was charming to open my eyes, remove the curtain and look into the bright sun and have a gorgeous view on the back garden and the beach at the back. The weather was much better today, however it was still pretty windy; but Iíll go along with that.

After a good breakfast of weetabix with milk, I hang around in the house (I just canít call it a lodge, because it doesnít feel like that at all). Spending time in the sun in one of the hammocks, take a walk to the windy beach (to get sand in the ears, for example) or I lounged on one of the soft couches in the living room with a good book. This was going to be a comforting day and I was really going to enjoy it.

It was interesting how new guests hopped in as others left, and everybody got so good with each other. Before I knew I was talking with different nationalities about the exchange rates of the South African Rand or discussion jazz music.

It was the Canadian Erin Collins again, who is also a reporter for CBC in Canada and together with a photographing friend Jeff on a tour from Cape Town to Moscow the coming year, who kept the entertainment factor alive.
(visit their website where they report about their exiting trip)

He kept on saying how he enjoys the German guys as he thinks that they can say funny things in their German-English. But it wasnít without Erin that we have quite some laughs about the whole situation.

So remember: put a few Canadians in a group of Germans and you are ready for a fun day!

He also had an eye for the blond Danish girl called Nuna and almost everybody enjoyed how smooth he handled his interest for her. Fascinating to see up close!

And these kinds of things happening in his lodge makes Grant and Elbi happy. If there were less people in the house, or different groups, they would have been waking people up or trying to get them enthusiastic for something. Today they had 'a day off' and Grant was sitting behind the bar with a big smile on his face. ďItís sometimes incredible to see how people can mingle together. I donít have to do anything.Ē

He didnít have to be the guard, the boss, the owner, the father or the police in anyway. He was just Grant and we could all have great talks with him or his wife Elbi.

To get out of the house for a change, and to fill in my day a little, Grant and I got into Plettenberg Bay and had lunch at the Blue Chilli. During the day a quiet relaxed place, but at nights one of the hippest and busiest restaurants in town.

It was interesting to hear the story about the name, Blue Chilli. The owner was once so far out, that he saw a shape of a chilli in the stars. Hence the name for a hip place in Plett was born.

At the Blue Chilli we met up with the owner of the Beacon Island Hotel Cafť and that gave us an idea for tonight. ďIt would be nice of this whole group could go out for dinner tonight and later go out in town,Ē Grant told me.

And if there would be a reasonable inexpensive restaurant where we could all eat out tonight, probably everybody would join in.

Back at the beachhouse the idea was received very positive, as Elbi had already offered to take everybody up for a party in town tonight.

I spend some time on Grantís laptop to be connected to the internet while Erin and Jeff set up their equipment. Being here in South Africa with the famous internet world traveller gave him a good occasion to make a report about me for the CBC Radio 1. And this same CBC has already hanging on in my mailbox for an interview with me in the popular radio show Basic Black.

He eventually interviewed me in the middle of the livingroom, while Grant and I were sitting at the bar. It felt quite reserved, as everybody was of course hanging around as Erin asked me all kinds of questions about my project and Jeff was moving around with a digital television camera!

Grant was of course asked why he had invited this crazy Dutchguy and when he tried to explain what my presence actually had done to him, he had a breathtaking silence. ďItís a great inspiration to see that something that Ramon is doing can be so successful and to see that the world not only is about money, but about the people living on this planet,Ē he said Ė or something very similar to that. I was flattered.

The other guests in the house complimented me with my great success and the way that I handle interviews as just another daily thing. And that is strange to hear, every time, because I am just myself and I got to do what I got to doÖ

So we went all out to dinner when the night set in. The sun was already set when we all got into different cars, some guests had cars hired for their travellings, and drove off to Plettenberg Bay.

We had dinner at the Blue Chilli, which was now fully packed. Fortunately Elbi had reserved tables for us twenty persons. The food was brilliant, the only disappointment my table had to take was that the other part of our group had already finished their meal, as we were still waiting for it. But that didnít grieved us at all, the waitresses were interesting enough and everybody had something to talk about. We wouldnít be bored that easily!

After dinner Elbi took us along to the Beacon Island Hotel Cafť, located right on the beach of the bay. When we came in this entertainment room of the hotel, we first had to laugh with our hands before our mouths as a big audience of elderly people were entertained with Tom Jones and Frank Sinatra, all dressed-up hotel personnel, of course.

But it was amusing and we all got our drinks at the bar. In case he would forget about me, Grant stuffed 100 Rand in the pocket of my Hawaiian blouse, so I could by myself and some others some drinks. Hey, things are going good like this!

And with the new smoking law in South Africa, itís prohibited to smoke anywhere in a public area, so suddenly I was among a group of cigarette addicts in the kitchen of the hotel! This seemed to be the place where the personnel also catches their breaths on nicotine. And with the news spreading fast, suddenly everybody was peaking behind the screens of the hotel.

When Frank Sinatra had finished his New York, New York, the old folks clapped their soft hands for the last time and got up to their rooms. The stage was turned into a little dance floor and we were all invited to get us to do some knee-shaking. And of course, after a few cocktails, vodka ice, and ciders, everybody came loose.

Grant had told the owner of the place about me and as I met him I received two bottles of [i]Kaapse Vonkel[i/], known as the South African Champaign (the word Champaign is only allowed for the real French bubbles). "To drink back at home," the good man told me.

And there I was walking around with my two babies, making everybody in the group very enthusiastic for the end of the night. And we danced away on dance classics from the 70ís and 80ís as they were sung live by a one-man-band.

When the place closed up, we all were pretty much excited and not all interested in going home yet. So a big bunch of us, were loaded into the cars and drove up to The Cave, the local Plett nightclub.

When we arrived there, we were a little bit thwarted because it seemed that we were the only ones in there. But with funky music played by the deejay - who wasnít really that good in starting the next song all the time Ė and the drinks we drank, it started to get quite amusing.

Around 1.30 Grand and Elbi took off, as they would be awake early in the morning again to be the hosts of a backpackerís place. But nobody wanted to come along yet, it was now getting more and more crowded and the music even got better.

We decided that we would return in two groups of six, with only one car. One of the guys didnít drink at all and would drive up and down to the beachhouse twice to bring everybody home again.

And we danced on and on, got sweaty and tired and ended up making strange moves in front of Erinís camera as he had taken it along the whole night.

Around 2am we eventually got ready to get into the car within an half an hour we were all back in the living room of the Abalone Beachhouse, where I opened one of the two bottles of champaign and we all relaxed after this interesting and active night. Music was played softly and Nuna was singing softly with Shirley Bassey on a CD, and they both have a great voice.

It was a quarter to four in the morning when Elbi came up to the living, to tell everybody very friendly that it was really time to go to bed at this time, or otherwise nobody would show up for breakfast.

And everybody got to their dorm or rooms. I was moved from the three bed room to the next door cottage, so that my previous room would be available for a group of three and I would be Erinís roommate for the night.

But, haha, he friendly asked if I could sleep on one of the beds in the cottage full living room, as Nuna would be his guest for this night.

Of course I let him private with Nuna, and with the moon shining on my bed I fell in a deep sleep. What a life I am having! Ooh...

Good night Keurboomstrand!


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