Hole in the wall

Coffee Bay Travel Blog

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Traditional house

This morning we ate a hearty breakfast in preparation for our walk to the 'Hole-in-the-wall.'  Our hostel tries to employ as many local people as possible in different capacities (rural unemployment in this area is running at 60%) and has trained up local students to act as guides.  Our guide today was Tom, a 21 year old student from one of the nearby villages.  He proved to be a very good guide, with a good sense of humour and excellent English.  The walk took about 3hrs; we admired the breathtaking coastal scenery as we weaved up and down hills and past local villages.  We sat for a while at the end, and bought some shell necklaces from some lovely children - quite shy and not at all pushy - a distinct change from Cambodia.

The kids following us

Tonight, we signed up for dinner at the local headman's hut.  The headman of a village is second in rank to the chief.  We all set off at dusk, and walked to the top of a nearby hill.  When we arrived, as is tradition, the women sat on the floor on mats, and the guys behind on seats.  We were treated to a dancing performance by the local young women, and the local brew was passed from person to person in small buckets (a bit chewy, but tasted better than it looked).  It was certainly an authentic atmosphere - a chicken roamed, babies slept in blanket slings, and candles were lit and stuck on the walls.  After the dancing, we ate some traditional Xhosa food, first of all samp (beans) and then ground millet with vegetables - a little bland, but otherwise ok.

The village girls dancing for us
  As we ate, we were invited to ask questions about the Xhosa culture.  This proved to be a little embarrassing, as some of the people in our group really didn't have a clue, asking very silly questions, culminating in "What happens if a woman has a degree and a man does not, will she be the main breadwinner?"  Deary me. 

 After that, the villagers got their turn, and a man asked Diane to marry him (with a dowry of ten cows), and what would the procedure be?  All her notions of modern womanhood went straight out of the window, and she replied " You will have to negotiate with my father."  He enquired how he would do this; Diane informed him he would have to get on a plane to England, and that seemed to put him off somewhat.  Emma was no use whatsoever throughout all of this, and nearly had a severe rupture caused by laughing.

To finish the evening, there was more dancing and this time we all joined in. It was good fun dancing with the children, but quite tiring.  After all the jollyment, we walked back to the hostel by the light of the moon (and the torch evry now and again).  It was good to be in a place where we felt safe to walk around at night - ironic that it was in a place with very few white people.

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Traditional house
Traditional house
The kids following us
The kids following us
The village girls dancing for us
The village girls dancing for us
Tom, Jess, Sarah and us at the end…
Tom, Jess, Sarah and us at the en…
Hole in the wall
Hole in the wall
Emma having a go!
Emma having a go!
The coast
The coast
Tom - our guide
Tom - our guide
Coffee Bay
photo by: sarahbergs