Monday, July 9, 2012

South Africa: Sugarloaf Backpackers.

We weren't in Joberg long. The next morning, we flew into East London. The East London airport was TINY. As in, climbing out of the airplane right onto the runway tiny. I have to say, I felt a little like a celebrity. From there we hopped on a bus and went shopping for gifts that we'd give to the villagers we interviewed once we got to Mdumbi. We couldn't find much of anything in Game (South Africa's version of Wal-Mart), so we had to go to Pick 'n Pay (South Africa's version of Giant/Redners/your typical grocery store). Of course, we got lost walking to Pick 'n Pay because it was in a mall, so we attracted a lot of attention, being a group of twenty lost Americans. Eventually we did find the food we wanted (apricot jam, rice, soap, and mealie meal, which is sort of a cross between rice and flour).

Then it was time for food. Nando's is a fast food chicken restaurant, but the food is higher quality than American fast food places. It took them forever to make our food; we sort of overwhelmed them. While we were waiting, we went to the store next door and looked at the South African snacks. Glen, our professor, bought biltong, which is essentially beef jerky. He chose the ostrich brand and shared it with us. It tasted like a pet store. Use your imagination.
my ostrich jerky face
Once we got our food, we got back on the bus. We had a long drive ahead of us to the next backpackers, so we ate on the bus. The chicken was DELICIOUS. I got a 1/4 chicken with lemon and herb sauce on it. It was tangy and a little spicy, perfect. I also got South African's second best invention (next to coffee milkshakes): an appletiser. It's sparkling apple juice, and they sell it everywhere in South Africa.
and it came in this cute little bottle!
We didn't realize that it got dark in Africa around 5:30, so we were convinced we'd been driving around for hours and were hopelessly lost. Since pretty much no one had a watch, we all assumed it was 10 o'clock when it was really only 7pm. We were positive we were going to be eaten by lions. Then Glen assured us we were going in exactly the right direction and were almost there. To where, you ask? My favorite place on the planet!


Just look at these pictures and tell me you wouldn't want to spend the rest of your life here.

the bar attached to the house

the outside of our 12 person room

the living room, complete with backpacker children (the owners' kids)

dining room
 I was in love instantly. This place is exactly like something I would create in one of my stories, and to find out it's real was the coolest experience. Sugarloaf had the greatest atmosphere. It was calm, and we just sat around, getting to know each other and some of the other people staying there, listening to Nate the Musician play an acoustic set. Did I mention we could see the ocean from the living room window?

Nate the Musican and Sugarloaf's awesome atmosphere.
One thing I quickly learned about backpackers: every place has dogs. Sugarloaf was my first (and favorite) encounter with Backpacker Dogs. Two of them were puppies named Chili and Chocolate. PRECIOUS!
me experiencing adorable puppy overload with Chili
Chili and her brother, Chocolate
Most of our group experienced the same adorable puppy overload
That night, I conquered a fear I didn't know I had: sleeping on the top of a triple level bunk bed. I don't want to know what I looked like while I tried to clamber up onto my bed, but it makes a great story now!
Mine is, you guessed it, the one on top. I estimated it was about 10 feet in the air.


  1. Puppies = adorable.

    Sugarloaf = charming.

    Three level bunk beds = SCARY ;-)

    Seriously, I'd have insisted on the bottom bunk. Kudos to you for braving the top!

    1. That's what happens when you're one of the last people to get into the room to claim a bed! :p I'm just really glad I didn't have to attempt to get up in the middle of the night...I would've broken my neck trying to get down!


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