Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Wrapping up Oudtshoorn (Read: long overdue blog post)

So, after getting around and doing a whole bunch of stuff at the arts festival in Oudtshoorn, I've finally caught up to my own shenanigans and can take a bit of a blogging breather. My lack of a suitable Internet signal in Oudtshoorn was rather aggravating and caused me and my laptop to have a bit of a row, but things are all good now and I'm happily blogging away from my fortress in Cape Town.

By spending a whopping four nights in town, Oudsthoorn has officially been my longest stop in the Garden Route backpacking trip, even topping my three-night stay in Knysna.

And for two out of four, I snuggled up inside this tent:

The one at the back. I call it “the blue dwarf”.

Note to self: tents suck. At least I invested in a jolly nice sleeping bag, but it's still not all that preferable to, say, a jolly nice couch. You're basically sleeping on the ground. Sure, there's a few layers of plastic and warm microfiber fancymabobs that allow you to pretend that you're not sleeping on the ground. But no, really: you just are.

My fortress of solitude. And discomfort.

I don't mind the size of the tent (I don't really intend to share it with anyone in the near future), but I really do wish that there was an affordable way to guarantee comfort that's a few levels above “horrifically abrasive rock”. For now, I'm improvising with stuffing dirty clothes under the mattress. But this does, of course, mean that I end up sleeping on dirty clothes. Hmm.

Camping gets a firm 4/10 for me. It admittedly affords me far more privacy than I've actually had in the last three months. It's also cheaper than most other solutions: I got the tent and bag for just over R350, so a week of camping instead of dorm beds means that it actually ends up paying for itself. And it's an absolute lifesaver when there's nowhere else to sleep anyway.

But for the love of giant chickens, I do not want to sleep like this if there's any other realistic options at hand. Ever. That is my final word on the matter.

And so, to wrap up my blatherings about Oudtshoorn, I'd like to show you one of the prettiest sights in the area: the Outeniqua Pass between Oudtshoorn and George.

Now imagine seeing this with your eyes instead of through a crappy camera lens.

It's a fantastic view that's offered to anybody travelling between the two locations – there's even a few lookout locations along the pass where people can pull up their vehicles and admire the view a little.

And with that, I say bye-bye to Oudtshoorn. I'm glad that I had the opportunity to visit.

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