Day 18: "...definitely recommend S. Africa, though!"
Galway Travel Blog› entry 19 of 60 › view all entries
Seeing as how Miranda (my Seattle friend that I befriended back in Edinburgh) got an all-day bus tour to the Cliffs of Moher and other places, I was left to my own devices. I started reading Long Way Roundon the sofa, and seeing as how I'm a fan of motorcycles and travel, I was deeply engrossed. I didn't know Ewan McGregor and his friend Charley Rooney were such big bike nuts!
I got off my lazy ass and decided to see the city for a bit, and admired the weather-beated boats docked near the city center. Some were really old and rickety, other were crisp white new sailing boats (nice dingey). Decided it was gonna be faster and better if I took a run around the city, so I took a quick deuce, put on my running gear and set out, sea-bound. The weather was ever-so-overcast and breezy. Perfect.
Headed out to the Quay, and then alongside the Southern coast heading West. Lots of white swans in the docks. Big ones, too! It's a little strange seeing these beautiful pristine white birds floating in some nasty-ass docks. Farther along, I saw a few kids splashing around in the ocean. Crazy boys, I thought. The water must be freezing. Good thing their balls hadn't dropped yet, otherwise they'd be in for a big surprise.
I went out to a private lighthouse in the distance, then along the coast till I got to the aquarium, the wind against my face the whole time. The added force didn't even dent my high spirits. The smell of the ocean in wisps around me brang back age-old memories of me in my young years in the beaches of Chile, California, and Brazil. Seagulls. Sand. Ahhh.
After admiring the crashing waves in the bayfor a while, I turned back, the wind on my back the whole way. Effortless. Cruising. The smells of the salty sea, I realized, were very foreign but beautiful to a landlocked dude such as myself. I'll have plenty of beach days to go, so by the time I head out of Croatia I'll be a veteran (and hopefully a wee bit tanner).
After I got back I had some minestrone soup (thanks Mr Sainesbury) and read some more until Miranda returned from her all-day tour. She told me about her big day's stops, then met up in the kitchen where she was eating with a 25-year-old Scot named Billy and a 27-year-old Canadian who we'll just call "Alex", since his name escapes me. The latter had come back from spending some time in San Sebastian, Spain, where he spent $40 a day on a full all-you-can eat, drink, and surf spot run by a couple of Australian dudes. Sounds really fun, I might just have to check it out later, time permitting.
Billy was the severely sun-burnt Scotsman with yellow shades, and he told us stories about his travels to South Africa (amongst many other locations). He went to visit his sister and work on his thesis, but the nazi-like authorities placed him under house arrest for 6 weeks under suspicions he was a spy. He hitchhiked around after that, but then got mugged by a couple of dudes, one of whom brandished a metal pipe and gave him a severe blow to the head. They then rolled down the hill as they struggled, until the guy pulled a knife on Billy. Uh oh. He got stabbed in the leg, shoulder, neck, hand, and head. I have absolutely no idea how he survived, and he seemed so matter-of-factly telling us this story. We were all laughing with him as to how improbable and crazy this whole scenario was! He pulled out his wallet and passport and threw it across the road, at which point the guy took off with it and left. Billy clawed his way back up to the highway, where some drunk kids picked him up and dropped him like a sack in front of the hospital for fear that the authorities would stop and ask questions and find out they were DUI. Crazy story. He conceded: he should write a book. All through the story, he'd interject occasionally, "...but I'd definitely still recommend South Africa to anybody!"
It was raining hard so we all donned our rain coats and headed to the western (and more bohemian) quarter of town across the bridge. We saw the same band about to play as last night (what a coincidence!) even though Miranda and I had completely forgotten the venue name. It was then unanimously agreed upon 10 minutes later: the original songs were shit compared to the acoustic alternative folk stuff they played last night.