Monday, July 26, 2010


This is Africa. While watching the local news with a couple of friends of mine in Jeffrey’s Bay that I have met along my travels I learned the meaning of this term. It was used frequently to refer to the backwards and often silly things that happen here. However, upon really thinking about the corruption in the SAA airlines’ finance that was being reported I realized that TIA could be used in almost any country or state. For example, "Thank you for flying with Hawaiian Airlines and Aloha and welcome to Hawaii. Your bags will be here tomorrow, though": T.I.Hawaii. People’s perceptions and ignorance of other cultures is global. Here are a few realities of South Africa that I have learned while being here.

I am back in Cape Town after having spent almost two weeks on the road or in Jeffrey’s Bay/Port Elizabeth for the World Cup and for the Billabong Surf Competition. Now that the traveling and business has settled down I have had the time to talk with local people and do some more touristy things. I have gone to Robben Island, seen the locally made movie “Themba” and spoken with the head professor of the history department at the University of Stellenbosch regarding some of South Africa’s History.

The Grundlingh Family.

Robenn Island was a very interesting experience. Truthfully, I was bored. It was a three hour tour of the island and a walk through the cell with some historical facts interjected in between. It wasn’t completely useless, however. For example, I did not know that it was once a lepor colony. Only former prisoners are allowed to act as tour guides on the island. This makes the experience a bit “one sided” in the words of Albert Grundlingh, Marizanne’s father. The experience became more personal when one of the guides missing about half his teeth was asked personal questions like, “how many years were you in?” and “what was the specific act of treason that you committed?” He was in for 11 years and attempted to use a bazooka to blow up a petrol station. The contoversial side of it that Prof. Grundlingh pointed out is that even though some of the pre-apartheid acts that were committed by minotirites were atrocious and sometimes took a lot of lives, it is sort of seen as a just act because of the political situation. These sort of controversy’s is what makes this amazingly beautiful and mountainous country of South Africa so appealing.

I highly recommend the movie “Themba” as well. If it is playing anywhere in your foreign film theathers PLEASE go see it. It provokes so many emotions in such a short time and pretty accurately expleans the reality of the situation here. It is conveniently about a young boy’s struggle from the rural township in the Xhosa region with soccer. The main message conveyed, however, is the reality that AIDS and education have in South Africa. As Themba was walking through Kayelitsha (pronounced kya-leech-a), South Africa’s largest township located in Cape Town, Moz tapped me and said “that’s how it is really”. She is researching for her masters how to use sport in townships to take kids off the street and out of corruption. Last Thrusday, while I was comfortably in Jbay, Moz went to Kayelitsha with other foreign volunteers in order to conduct soccer clinics. At the end of the day they were going to get some knick-knacks and one of Moz’s co-workers was robbed of the little money she was carrying and the shoes off of her feet were taken from her on the spot.


Monday, July 19, 2010

Camel Toe

Isn’t that attractive? You get used to it if it is your only means of survival in thte frigid 16 degree celcius water of Jeffrey’s Bay, South Africa. The booties I wore on my feet were provided to me by my sister-in-law, Katie. What a life saver!

Island Vibe is the hostel that Marizanne, Michelle and I stayed in. It was a very comfotable site overlooking one of the surf breaks, Kitchen Windows. I recommend it for any traveler ona budget. It was a mere 30 minute walk to the epic Supertubes where the pro’s were warming up for the ASP Tour competition that began on July 15. A good website to get updated on the behind the scene event happenings is or also the official website of

The Island Vibe hostel is just that…and island feeling. I felt like I was back in Hawai’I, or maybe even Australia. The only difference is the cold winter air that brings such nice waves. Island Vibe is home to Niel aka “Surf Theory” (his appointed nickname). If you lack things to do on a rainy day in the small village of Jbay, Niel can entertain you with his class on “Surf Theory”. Now, imagine this tiny lanky guy with a mixed accent between a stoked California grom and a thick Afrikaans trying to teach you the theory behind surfing. What does that even mean? It was hard to resist this yellow bushy-haired creature, but Moz and I decided to venture to the other side of the village to surf “The Point” just a few hundred meters down from Supertubes. What a session!! Picture your favorite right-hand clean pointbreak, then imagine it being even better than you thought! The only problem was that, even with two massive camel toes, I only managed to last one hour in the firgid waters of South Africa.



Who cares. It was still epic.

Our last night in Island Vibe was in a communal dorm. Creative measures were taken to block the light as the late night partiers came home.

Monday, July 12, 2010


The bar was the Mexican. The atmosphere was calm at first. The city is Jeffrey's bay. When the final game began there was a mix of sadness and excitement. After this game, there would be no more World Cup. After 4 years of preparation and excitement for SA, it will all be over. Despite that fact, Moz, Michelle and I were still celebrating loudy with bottles of wine, faces painted and good company. What a game. And in the end, the champions prevailed!

We are still here in Jeffrey's bay, home of the longest righthand barrell in the world and the picturesque aloe.

Moz and I will stay to catch the Billabong Pro surfing competition while Michelle returns to Pretoria to work. Shame.

In our down time, Moz and I have caught some really good waves here. We have also gotten the chance to watch some of the pros practicing at supertubes. Very very impressive. The next few days will be recovery and searching for waves. There is a different perspective surfing here, though. For example, yesterday the waves were clean but small, and very perfect. We did not surf. It was a difficult thing to deal with, but when temperature of the water and air becomes just as much of a factor as the wave itself, your perspective changes a bit. How lucky to live in Hawai'i and not have to worry about that.

Until next time...

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Road Trip

What is it about Celine Dion that makes you want to sing at the top of your lungs?

Michelle enjoying her spot in the back seat.

Marizanne, Michelle and I were three girls, two surfboards and many bags stuffed into a Toyota Yaris driving from Capetown to Jeffrey's Bay/Port Elizabeth.

We stayed in Capetown to watch the Semi-Final matches of Holland vs Uruguay and Germany vs Spain. We then drove from the bottom left-hand corner to the bottom right-hand corner (for those who are not familiar with SAs geography) in order to watch the consolation final of Uruguay Germany that happened last night at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.

What a game! I went for Uruguay because I like the Spanish language better than the German language. No offense to my German friends. (I am really pulling for Spain tonight.) However, the vibe in the stadium was obviously German. Africa has still not gotten over Suarez's hand ball against Uruguay to knock them out of the tournement. Every time the number 9 Suarez touched the ball the crowd filled with "boooooooo". The Africans are proud of their teams.

We did get to stop in Vleesbaai (which means flesh bay), where Moz has a beach house, for two nights. It is named this from when the settlers came around Africa for goods, they would stop here to slaughter cows that were wandering the coast for food on their trip.

Here is the sunrise over the serene beach.

I learned many things here. Moz taught me the beauty of a hot water bottle to fill with boiling water and put in bed with you at night to keep you warm. Michelle taught me about boiled wine. It's a wonderful treat to keep you warm after a nice dinner. You simply bring wine to the boiling point, pour yourself a glass, add one spoonfull of suger and a slice of lemon. I think this day we drank alcohol from morning to night. Amarula in the coffee, Coke and Brandy for our Braai (bar-b-que) at lunch, and boiled wine for dinner. What a pleasure!

Tonight, we have reservations at a Mexican bar in JBay to watch Spain beat Holland. Ole!!
Pictures still to come.

Peace out from da Motherland.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Germany vs Argentina

What an upset. After 36 hours of traveling and one pounding headache I was picked up by Moz at the airport in stellenbosch. The excitement was already in the air at 8:00 a.m. Because of the battle hat would soon take place between Germany and Argentina. With enough time only for a small nap and some coffee with amarula cream, we were out on the streets tithe stadium where Moz and her boyfriend Joey had tickets to the game. I sat outside in a bar with an elderly local woman watching it on the big screen and drinking a local Savannah dry beer. This woman made my night. Belinda was her name. She represented what the world cup means for south Africa: pride. A little bit tipsy and with lipstick all over her teeth she told me how proud she was of bafana bafana for doing so well and how she felt for Ghana and how beautiful the entire world looked walking safely down the street to the stadium. The only I t
interruption was when she screamed at Germany when they scored 1 of their 4 goals. What a game.

I am now sitting in an Internet cafe typing on my mobile. Time is running out so I can write no more. I am also unable to load pictures at this point. Check facebook soon. I will upload more when possible. I miss you all and hope you are watching and cheering for Spain on Wednesday. For now...cheers from capetown.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

It's a small world after all

That's a lie. Walt Disney didn't know what he was talking about. I'm in LA and am already sick of traveling. I still have to cross the pond to get to London, and then fly south accross the continent of Africa to arive in cape town. Yikes!! Thanks to Hawaiian Airlines for keeping me awake on the first leg with their yummy coffee...this flight I'm going to take a happy pill (thanks chip!).

Next stop: London.