Day 5_Arriving at the West Coast



I woke up to a fresh morning with olive thrushes filling the garden. I relaxed on the beautiful porch for a while before making my way through the busy main street flooded with friendly locals and set off to my next destination, the West Coast.

I stopped at a lookout over Citrusdal, gazing past two giant eucalyptus trees with a bird of prey soaring over the valley and Edward Sharpe’s Om Nashi Me taking me right next to the bird. I then stopped at a padstal(1), with the aroma of freshly baked bread luring me inside and ended up leaving with an entire bread, grapes and ginger ale. 

Closing in on Piketberg, the landscape changed drastically to yellow rolling hills, leaving behind the green of the citrus trees. By this time I came to realize more and more cars flashed their hazards passing, filling my heart with joy. They were acknowledging me at last(2). Turning west after Piketberg alongside a pied crow, I made my way to St Helena Bay to stay with friends of my parents for the following two nights. I came across a few Stop, Ry, Go's as one usually does, and snacked on some droëwors to overpower the acutely acrid ginger ale I just bought(3).

For the first time on the trip, I allowed myself to think about Seattle and the University of Washington to which I applied to. The whole idea of going to Cape Town was to pass a few months while waiting to hear back from grad school. Two days before my planned day of departure I woke up to an email informing me that I did not get accepted. Well... c'est la vie. By that time my heart was already set on Cape Town so I decided to do the drive down, in any case, bringing me right here to the present. Life is just a crazy game. You start off in this world, equipped with some tricks and talents and limited resources with which you have to try and figure out how to get to the next level. Every time you succeed you get some sort of confirmation or clue and then the process starts all over again. Well, that's one way of looking at it at least.

A giant tumbleweed-like, dried bush barely missing me, brought me back to earth as I entered Velddrif, passing some massive palm trees before making my way across the estuary. This was my first time to the West Coast and I was really excited. The drive to St Helena Bay takes you through the flat open landscape, with the ocean on the one side and big white houses popping up like mushrooms along the way. I arrived at the Nautilus, the lovely warm welcoming, self-catering haven right on the beach owned by Oom Tally and Tannie Marie(4). My room revealed my next inspirational quote:

Every bump and shove tells a story, it gives character, such is life. Yes, embrace those bumps and bruises, they're a part of you.

I had a lovely stroll along the beach in the afternoon, picking some special shells before feasting on an evening of lobster, prawn, champagne and cheese and stories from different times. I got to experience the friendly West Coast culture first hand. I ended off the night with another walk on the beach, together with my remaining glass of wine. The stars were closer than usual and I felt them right next to me as I ended up getting lost in the Milky Way.


(1) A padstal, is a farm stall which can be found everywhere in this region selling all kinds of home made goodies. This one was called, De Tol, just south of Citrusdal.

(2) Referring back to a comment made on Day 1

(3) Stop, Ry, Go refers to areas on which roadworks are currently being implemented. They always have big yellow signs with the words stop (meaning the same in both Afrikaans and English) and ry, meaning go in Afrikaans. They're worth a mention because you can't cross the country without passing at least a half a dozen of them. Droëwors is South African dried sausage and always a favourite. (Dankie Margaux en Willem en die arme blouwildebees.)

(4) Oom and Tannie translate to uncle and aunt and is used to address someone older with respect. It becomes awkward when a fifteen-year-old calls you tannie and you realise the people you once called oom and  tannie were probably never even that old.


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