Tuesday, July 6
Port St.Johns - Durban
I'm gutted to be leaving the backpackers in Port St.Johns. I wanted to find somewhere to chill for a few days and this place has been absolutely perfect.
I'm down the minibus terminal at 7am. One of the drivers organises breakfast for me with one of the local ladies and while we are waiting tells me about the last years of apartheid when "some people" came down from Bloem and Joburg and opened fire on the local black population in '83. "They just wanted to kill as many of us as they could," he tells me, "but none of them ever left town. Now all anybody is interested in coming here for is to relax and have a good time."
It's closer nine before the minivan is full and we can set off for Durban. Predictably, I'm the only white person in the van and there in't a single white on the whole journey back along the R61. Again, the dead animal count on the road is near double figures but the road to Durban doesn't seem half as intimidating as it did on the way down with Camper Van Nick and Fabio.
I find Blackburn at the Costa Do Sol bar just off the beachfront in Durban. It's a bit sketchy down here where the colonial buildings stop and the dive bars begin. Blackburn's the wrong side of drunk so after a couple of Klipdrifts and Castle I chuck my bags in at our digs for the night on the beach front, just across from Joe Cool's.
Durban beachfront is absolutely packed in the evening for the first semi-final being shown live at the Fanfest. They've been getting 70,000 here on a regular basis throughout the world cup.
A big bonus is the sudden appearance of K'naan, whose song 'Wavin Flag' has been the soundtrack to this world cup finals. K'naan was a Somali refugee so you can't blame me for a sudden attack of goosebumps when he sings a second rendition of 'Wavin Flag' in front of tens of thousands on Durban beach. Images flash in my mind of the refugee camps I visited in Tanzania and Malawi. I think of all those lovely people Bjorn and I met, many of them from Somalia; I reminisce over the last three amazing months on the road and here at the World Cup in South Africa. I bite my lip to stop the odd tear or two rolling down my cheeks.
A gale blows on Durban beach as the Dutch experience a late scare against Uruguay but go through 3-2. Tomorrow it's the semi-final here. It will be a result if i can end my world cup by getting into the semi before I fly home.
Monday, July 5
Port St.Johns is the kind of place where you stroll down the road for five minutes, climb down a grassy embankment and find yourself with a fantastic deserted beach, hundreds of seabirds bombing into the waves and a huge shoal of sardines trapped by the seashore. And if you stick around long enough you might find yourself lucky enough to spot a lone whale surface, probably getting some well-earned oxygen to help digest several hundred sardines.
Port St.Johns is also the kind of place where people of all colours and creeds laze on sofas smoking marijuana, strumming the guitar, discussing life theories and enjoying a rum and coke sundowner.
Sunday, July 4
Highlight of the day is being sat in the back of a pick up truck with three hippies, their four kids and two dogs on the way to one of the best beaches in South Africa. The wild, untouched beach is totally deserted but for a herd of cows!
The rest of Sunday is spent sleeping, eating, reading, thinking back over the last 3 months...and looking forward to what I will do after the World Cup.
It's brilliant here in Port St.Johns but, truthfully, I'm about ready to go home now.