Sunday, February 13, 2011

Guess who did the world's highest bungee???

A bunch of my friends.
And not me.

(Yeah, I know I might have told a few of you that I was planning on doing it, but it’s a long story, so let’s backtrack)

So first of all, sorry for not blogging for a while. I could pretend I’ve been super busy but the truth is I’ve just been super lazy. But after threats from friends and family if I don’t blog soon, I’ve decided I can procrastinate on sleeping before the first day of real class (WOOO!!! Not) and catch you all up.

This week was a free week before classes started, so some friends and I (17 of us to be exact) decided to drive the Garden Route. I already told you to Wikipedia it, so if you still don’t know what it is, shame on you. I think my friend Alicia said it best by yelling “IT’S SO PRETTY!!!” as we drove through the South African country side. I have to completely agree with her. However, the view was marred a bit by the lovely horrible car we were given to drive.

This week was the week parliament opened in South Africa, which apparently means that almost all of the rental cars are unavailable. Lucky for us, our group was able to get the 4 cars necessary, our car being an automatic because we’re the silly Americans who aren’t taught how to drive stick shift in drivers ed.

Our car sucked.

It probably went from 0 to 100 km per hour in about 5 minutes. Which really was not helpful while we were driving through the constant hills and mountains of the Garden Route.

By the way, I totally drove the car. It took a bit to get used to driving on the wrong side of the road, and to get used to the fact that there really are no rules of the road in South Africa. For example, you pass cars anytime you want, no matter if you’re climbing a hill with no end in sight and no way to see if cars are coming. I think South African drivers are taught offensive driving in drivers ed.

So the trip to our hostel took about 7 hours of driving the first day. I must say my first hostel experience was pretty terrific. It was clean, the showers were nice, and the people running it were so helpful and friendly.
Definitely not like the movie.

So Day 2 was bungee day!!!!
It didn’t help that the whole night before I dreamed of different ways the bungee jump could go wrong. In one dream, the rope broke, in another I was told if I bungeed in shorts my legs would fall off, and I’m pretty sure in another one they just didn’t give me a rope at all.

So yeah, it would be an understatement to say I was already freaking out a bit by the time we left for bungee. Then our car decided to make the decision for me.

About ¾ of the way to the jump, our car got a flat tire. No biggie right? Well our car was full of 5 American girls who had no idea how to change a tire. And even if we did, none of us were comfortable getting out of the car to do it, considering all the warnings we got about safety first while in Africa. So walking around on the side of a highway in who-knows-where South Africa didn’t seem like the best idea. Luckily enough for us, one of our Norwegian roommates came back to change our tire.

Of course that was only after he registered and checked in for bungee jumping.
Leaving us stranded for about 30 minutes on the side of the highway.
Where any number of horrible things could have happened to us.
But no hard feelings…
(He still gets bonus points since he actually came back)

Needless to say, by the time we actually got to the bungee jump, I was stressed beyond belief and in no mood to jump off a bridge. Actually, I think I could have still done it if I had gone straight to registration and not to the viewing-area where I watched a couple of people jump off of the highest bungee bridge in the world.
Big mistake.

So, sorry to let all of you down who thought I was actually going to do something really cool, but the bungee didn’t happen. They had a TV inside which showed the people right before they were about to jump and then the jump itself and I’ve got to say, I got stressed enough watching my friends get ready to jump.

So I may have lost a few cool points in your book, but I’m still in Africa and you (sadly) aren’t, so I still win.

Anyways, after bungee we got to go to an elephant sanctuary.

So fricken cool.

We got to walk with an elephant hand-in-trunk and pet them and feed them and pose with them. I know you’re all dying for pictures (especially you dad), but I forgot my camera at the hostel that day.
But no fear, friends took pictures of me with the elephants, so when they’re able to get free internet they’ve promised to upload them.

Also, the elephant sanctuary gave us a little biology lesson about elephants. Surprisingly enough, I still remember a lot of what they told us, so if you ever need to know a random fact about elephants, there’s a very good chance I’ll know it.
I'm hoping it will come in handy during Charley's Trivia one day.

After the elephant sanctuary, we headed back to the hostel and spent the night hanging out. Some friends showed up at the hostel unexpectedly, so we ended up basically taking up the entire hostel. It was a great time, and I learned of a new drink that all of you must come visit me and try.

It is called the Springbok and it is absolutely delicious.

They next day we headed back to Cape Town, and since then I've had syllabus day (which apparently only exchange students and freshman go to, yay for me!), spent a day at the beach (amazing) and today we went to a flea market where I tried my hand at bargaining.

Sidenote: Bargaining is way harder than it sounds. Especially when the vendors start bargaining prices down before you’ve even decided if you like what they’re offering, so you end up almost buying it anyways just because it’s such a good price. Sneaky.

I successfully bargained down a canvas painting of Africa and a friend and I bargained down cute bags. I probably still overpaid, but hey, for my first time I’m proud I didn’t just agree to the original price.

I’m sure I’ll be visiting more markets like this closer to when I’m leaving to get presents for all you lovely people. The one thing I need to remember to get is a vuvuzela. Because, really, who can leave South Africa without an obnoxiously wonderful vuvuzela?

So that has been my last week. I’m going to try to go back on the Garden Route again, since there were so many things we still want to do, such as going to Monkey World, or a Cheetah Reserve, or a Game Reserve.

And who knows, maybe the second time’s the charm when it comes to bungee jumping??

Or maybe I should just sign up for sky diving, much less scary.

It’s crazy to think that I’m starting classes tomorrow. Cape Town is such a vacation. I can’t imagine being here and actually having to go to class and do work. But I guess that is the reason I’m here, so I’ll just have to suck it up. Plus, all of my classes seem really cool, so I’m excited to actually get into the content (nerd, I know).

So I’m going to head to bed, or at least attempt to. I really need to learn to stop taking naps in the middle of the day so I can actually sleep at night. But I’d like to wish an early (well not for me) Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone!!!

I know you all are probably dying to be my Valentine, but sadly for you, Corinne got there first. And I’m convinced that if I keep telling people she’s going to buy me a singing stuffed-animal it will actually happen.
It would be awesome to have a singing-stuffed Valentine's Day stuffed animal from London (hint hint)

But good bye for now, and I’ll try to update more often, since I know how thrilling it is to hear my commentary of South Africa!


  1. LIZ!!!!

    Okay- so when I come to South Africa, can we please go to Garden Route? We can bungee jump together and play with cheetahs. After my baby lion and tiger experiences, I bet I'll be so in the know that they'll actually let us play with the cheetahs. I really wish you were here, but I love reading your blog! MISS YOU!


  2. I know I already told you, but I AM SO FRIGGIN' JEALOUS THAT YOU HELD HANDS WITH AN ELEPHANT! This is only my life goal, so I am raging with jealousy!

    And Monkey World makes me think of M&M World. It's the same place, isn't it?

    Love you!