we're back online after a couple of days of roughin' it. we spent wednesday totally enjoying the sheraton resort's pool before plunging further along the southern coast of africa on thursday morning. thursday was spent mostly driving along what is called, quite rightly so, the "garden route" of africa. it was gorgeous, especially the route on the N2 right around george, south africa. beautiful beaches and vegetation, and some of it reminded matt and me of the area of california just north of the bay, homes and all. during our drive on thursday we took a time out a very cool little spot called monkeyland, just a dozen or so kilometers outside of plettenberg bay. monkeyland is home to homosapians who've either been in zoos or in private homes and are being rehabilitated to enter the wild. guests are taken through a caged off forest area and allowed to walk around and just hang out with the monkeys!! it was wild! matt's favorite was the white-headed gibbon, the fastest swingin' of the bunch. he also caused the most trouble and liked to, as our guide said in a very heavy african accent, "play W.W.F. Smackdown in the forest with the other monkeys."
we spent thursday night at a backpacker hostel in port elizabeth, a non-impressive, very industrial city, but it positioned us perfectly to spend the next morning in addo elephant national park. we drove our car through the park and rubbed elbows with the elephants, zebras, warthogs and dung beetles. i wish we had the capacity to upload pictures for you all to see, but sit tight til we get home and i promise we won't disappoint!
after addo we spent most of the day in the car trying to get to little coffee bay, a remote beach spot in the heart of xhosa territory. we spent 2 hours on a pothole-pocked road through xhosa country in a downpour to reach the coffee bay area, and we were grateful to arrive before it got too late. we stayed right on the beaches of the indian ocean in a little friendly hotel (the rooms were your own private round huts), and this morning we walked along the beaches and explored a bit. our drive out of coffee bay made the entire trip worth it. the evening earlier, because of the rain, we didn't see much of the xhosa territory or the xhosa people. as we were leaving the hotel, xhosa kids showed up in hordes along the road to beg for "SWEETS!" or "MONEY!," the only two english words they probably knew. matt stopped the car to take a picture, and it wasn't long before two little xhosan girls came up to our window and asked for sweets or money. i told them i didn't have sweets, but i gave them both apples, and they were excited to take them. soon after i did, however, the entire neighborhood descended upon our car. kids were running down from the hillsides, holding out their hands and screaming "SWEETS! SWEETS!" seeing as how we only had a couple of apples left, matt jumped in the car and we tore off down the mountainside with little kids chasing after us.
and today we've done a lot more driving, through some very interesting and poorer country. this is more of the south africa i was expecting to see. but we've arrived at durban, the country's 3rd largest city, and it's very urban and kind of a tourist trap for the people of jo'burg. we're actually here in durban to attend church tomorrow morning for easter sunday, and the really cool little backpacker hostel we're staying in tonight is only a couple of blocks away from the church in a very nice neighborhood.
tomorrow we're off to somewhere around st. lucia, and from there probably to swaziland. life's good, and south africa is a cool place y'all.