Sorry for the dry last post, lads. It’s been D.I.F.F.I.C.U.L.T. to get to a decent computer here and I’m often just so freaking grateful to be able to get into my email, I don’t have enough juice left to blog. That last one was the cumulative effort of about 15 different internet sessions and, as a result, is completely out of date. So, yeah.
South Africa has been something of a complete mindtrip. The internet cafes are full of nice-looking computers with flat, cool-looking monitors, but if you try to open Yahoo on any of them, they’ll literally start flipping out, with the CD drive going in and out and everything. Buttons flashing – all kinds of crazy shit. SO! That being said, it’s been difficult to blog, but like, five times more difficult to get any of my graduate school application stuff done. ARRGHH! Just so you all know, trying to apply to graduate schools (which all require different essays, certifications, and cocktails of transcripts and letters of recommendations), while abroad in a place like Africa is a stupid, stupid thing to do. Very stupid indeed, and it will rob you of all joy, optimism, and pleasure for the things you once enjoyed.
Backpacking through South Africa has been good, although I really hope that it’s not indicative of what it’ll be like in the rest of the region. There are literally two kinds of travelers here: the kind that use the Baz Bus to get everywhere (a hop-on hop-off, backpacker-designed type of transport), and then me. I don’t have a Baz Bus ticket (at THOSE prices? FUCK THAT!!), and therefore find myself marching to the minibus taxi rank alone, haggling alone, and frumping from hostel to hostel alone, looking for space while all the people who AREN’T stupid look on from their rooftop bars, cocktails in hand and shaking their hair slow-mo in the wind. I don’t know what it is about me that is so obstinately intractable, but whenever an easy option to do anything presents itself, I immediately rail and go do whatever the dumbest, most difficult option is. Something about the Baz Bus and its…EASINESS…just makes me feel like it’s not really traveling. That being said, I’m a lot of things, but a cheater I’m not. I just kind of wish there were someone else with me. Honestly, either you’re entirely on the backpacker trail, or you’re entirely off of it. Step one foot off the beaten path, and you’ll be ALONE. That’s not so nice.
One thing of note: in almost every other region I’ve been to, the majority of the other backpackers I’ve met have been…German. Or Dutch. There have been spots here or there that were overloaded with this or that nationality, but never in my life have I seen the overwhelming enthusiasm by a country’s own inhabitants that I have in South Africa (even you, Israel!). South Africans have, by and large, made up the majority of backpackers in all the hostels I’ve stayed in, and it’s incredibly refreshing to surround oneself with locals who know and love their country with a fervor unmatched anywhere else. It also doesn’t hurt that pretty much everyone in this country is smoking hot. With hot accents. Rawr! Anyway, this has led to some very easy traveling, since the hospitality I’ve enjoyed from the locals is also unmatched anywhere in the world (even you, Israel!). I’ve been fed, driven about, and tucked into warm guest rooms with private baths by pretty much every South African I’ve given the chance. Very nice indeed.