Riding down the coastline in a bright yellow beach buggy with a dog in my lap and a good friend in the seat next to me is my new definition of fun. Durban was the first time that I actually planned my own travel experience (shout out to you Glenda.)
My friend Becca and I flew to Durban from PE and we arrived at our hostel late afternoon. The hostel was adorable, every wall was covered with colorful murals, and three dogs were there to welcome us to our home for the week. I slept in the top bunk of a room that had eight beds, and loved every minute of it. Per usual, I was the youngest person in the hostel. There was a group of thirty-year-old men from Botswana who were also staying in the hostel. They kept telling Becca and I that they had never seen such “beautiful white American girls,” and they insisted that we take a picture with them because their friends would never believe them.
The first day in Durban we woke and went to breakfast at FREEDOM CAFE, per the recommendation of a German girl we shared the room with. The cafe had delicious coffee, and some of the best scrambled eggs I’ve ever eaten. After breakfast, we walked to the BOTANIC GARDENS, and we only managed to get lost on the way once. The garden was huge, and the flowers were fragrant. There was a tea garden lined with trellises, we sat in the shade and listened to the young guitar player a few benches down. It was quite a romantic place, we saw three different wedding photo shoots. The garden was home to bamboo. When the wind blew the trees would knock together and make their own music, I never realized bamboo was so vocal.
Our second day in Durban we went to THE FESTIVAL OF CHARIOTS, which is an Indian celebration. At the festival, there was a tent where they had free food. I’ve never had Indian food before, and it was sweet and spicy and delicious. I should have gone back for seconds.While at the festival we both got Mendhi on our hands. At this point, a week later, it looks like I have Cheeto dust on my fingers. I went into a book tent, looking for a good read. What we found instead was an Indian man who sold me on the thought that religion comes from where we live. I was born in central Wisconsin, so I was raised in the Catholic church. This man was born in Durban and he practices Hinduism. He told me that although people believe different things, we all, for the most part, want the same things. Happiness, longevity, love, purpose. We pray we chant, we sacrifice because as humans the weight of our life and responsibility is far too much for our singular souls to hold up. So we tell our sins and our problems our sorrows and our joys to a god,to many gods, because life would be lonely without it.
Becca loves to swim in pools, she’s not a huge fan of being tossed around and swallowed whole by the Ocean. So we went to USHAKA MARINE WORLD. It has an extensive aquarium and the best part…Waterslides! I felt much like a younger version of myself at the aquarium.It reminded me of when the entire family would wake up at six am and pile like sardines into the car. Drive to The Dells and spend a day running around Mt. Olympus like we needed chlorine to survive the winter. Good Times overall.
On Tuesday, the second to last day of the trip I dragged Becca to an Art Museum, because who would I be if I didn’t. The PHANSI MUSEUM was an elaborate mix of history and culture and art. I loved it. We got our own tour because we didn’t realize that they like it when people made appointments. The tour guide was gorgeous, and funny, and knew about everything. I think I learned more about South Africa in that forty minute tour than I learned in any history class ever.
After that, I found another museum online. So I called us an Uber, and all was good. Once we got to the address we didn’t see the building right away, so were got out of the car to find it. Unfortunately, I had my fancy IPHONE 7 in my back pocket. BAD MOVE. So, of course, I got pickpocketed. At first, when this stranger grabbed my butt, I thought he was just being gross. Then after five minutes when I was looking for my phone in my purse, I realized OH! He’s not being a perv, he stole my phone. Needless to say, I wasn’t too pleased. However, Becca was much more upset than me. I was glad that we didn’t get stabbed or stolen, that would have been worse. Anyways if you’re wondering why I don’t have any pictures from Durban, that’s why.
Wednesday was my favorite day of the trip. We woke up at eleven and made pasta. Then Jess, a woman who helps run the hostel asked if we wanted to take the beach buggy out for a spin. We said yes of course. So we grab our purses and climb into a fifteen-year-old buggy. Complete with handpainted flowers and a necklace hanging from the mirror. Riding down the coastline on in a rickety beach buggy on a highway is truly the experience of a lifetime. It gets better, I also had a dog named Marley (LIKE BOB) to keep me company in the back seat. I assumed that we would go for a quick little ten-minute drive. NOPE, we take a thirty-minute drive down the coast to a bar called BEACH BUMS. It is right on the beach, so before we sit down we let the dogs run loose. It was like the end credits of a romantic comedy. Becca and I split a Hawaiian Pizza that has the ability to change lives. I got day drunk off of bloody marry’s because HEY, WHY NOT? The ride home in the buggy made me question why anyone would ever choose to drive a real car.
After a fantastic day in the buggy, I took a much-needed nap. But the fun doesn’t end there. We later went to a comedy show in the basement of a weird bar. We drank beer and laughed at shitty jokes, a perfect night. After the show, we played a few rounds of pool and talked to some of the acts. They were just as funny off-stage as on. Once again they were alarmed when I said I was eighteen, I guess that’s young to be in a country thousands of miles from home.
Durban was amazing, I will definitely go back at least once in my life. It seems that the trip happened in milliseconds. I’ve been home three days and am ready to start my next adventure. Luckily enough I am driving with some of my friends to Cape Town on Wednesday morning! I can’t wait.
April 23 2017