Tuesday, 23 December 2014
I learned a lot of interesting facts as well as seeing animals up close, such as hippos weigh up to two tonnes, are territorial and live until they are 40ish, they kill up to 250 people year! which is more than rhinos and crocodiles. They can also stay underwater for up to seven minutes, white rhino eats grass only, black eats leaves, they both have poor eyesight of two metres, one horn, 16 month gestation period. The best fact was definitely that a group of zebras is called a 'dazzle'. They have weak backs, so you cant ride them. Osterich can run at upto 70kmh, and their egg is about 24 chicken eggs. They can be used for meat, bones and fertiliser. I saw a snake, lions, and some giraffes (that eats eucalyptus, live for 28 years ish, sleep for 20 minutes at a time, 60cm tongue. giraffe can kill lions with a kick and run at 60kmh, can live with out water for two weeks.) We saw some elephants, who were interestingly watching the truck in front of us that had broken down, being pulled out by a tractor. Elephant fact - females are the matriarchs. I was sat next to a hilarious pompous farmer from Hereford and his wife Hilary who was incapable of using her iPad, they made the journey even more fun. After being driven back to Cape Town, I headed to the nearby V&A waterfront and explored and got some dinner.
I began day seven with a tour of the famous District 6, walked the castle and then ate an incredible lunch at an award-winning V&A restaurant. I had a game kebab, consisting of lumps of meat from a wilderbeast, an impala, ku and ostrich. So tasty but a bit too filling for my next activity...a rocky boat trip to Robben Island! A storm was just coming over as we boarded the boat and its safe to say the crossing was a bit choppy (both of the couple in front of me lost their lunch). The weather brightened soon after we docked and they ferried us to a cafe to spend our money on hot drinks. The rest of the tour of the prison was however much better, led by an actual former inmate! It was interesting and we got to see Mandela's cell and learn all about the history of the island. After another busy day exploring, I checked in to my fancy Avios-paid-for hotel for a well-earned rest. The Hotel on St George was very reasonable for the fiver I paid for it and a great way to end the trip.
My final day started with the hotels free breakfast, then I took a local bus to Table Mountain via Camps Bay (as I didnt realise where to get off!) I passed a hilarious dustbin truck called 'waste man' and then got in the queue for the lift. I queued with a lovely old Scottish couple who told me about the cruise they were on, sounded incredible apart from the choppy seas throughout! Table Monutain was stunning and I wandered around and had lunch at the top, admiring the views below. I headed back down and took the bus to Camps Bay again and spend the last few hours of my trip relaxing on the white sand beach and reminiscing instead of worrying about whether I would make my flight. I did (just) and watched movies 'Planes fire and rescue' and 'How to train your Dragon 2'
The on-site chef and her daughter served up cheap breakfasts daily, and with a full day of activities planned I thought I had better fuel up, so had cereal and pancakes for breakfast. I teamed up with Rowan and Nadine and we took a taxi to the falls, passing a warthog family en-route. We explored the Zimbabwe side of falls, which was really stunning (and the better side in low season) and went to live it up a little at the Victoria Falls hotel, which is luxurious and historic and has a lovely garden with views of the bridge over to Zambia. I had a Malawi mocktail with views of the Livingstone bridge. We explored around the town and were misled by an interesting sign stating 'African taxidermy'. By now it was lunch, so we headed to recommended eatery 'Mama Africa', where we enjoyed a spicy stew with pap and spinach. We headed back to relax with the other guests and I had a swim in the pool.
The next day I decided to take a walk and see what I could find on my own. On the way through town I saw a rather amusing stand off between a warthog and five dogs, the hog holding its ground impressively. I wandered up Zambezi road on my own to the Big Tree, passing a hippo pool and various signs suggesting I shouldn't be walking the path alone (beware crocodiles, lions etc!) The big Tree was pretty big. I got a taxi to the Zambia border and as I had bought a double entry visa to Zimbabwe, decided to cross to experience the other side. I wandered down into the canyon to see the boiling pot close up and had a quick swim in the fall going down to it, then walked over the Rainbow Bridge and walked right out to the falls edge, an amazing experience that you can only do in low season. Instead of paying an extortionate price to experience Devils Pool, my guide took me to a cheeky private pool right over the falls instead...well worth it and a lot cheaper! As I wandered back to the Zimbabwe side, I stopped for a massive burger at the bungee area on the Livingstone Bridge and took stock of what an amazing day I had had.
That evening, most of the hostel that I had been hanging around with all decided to go on a Zambezi river cruise, this was easily one of the highlights of the trip, good food and drink and we got to see a wild elephant swimming across the river, stunning sunset, hippos, elephants and buffalo. I ate soup, local fish, potatoes, veg, pudding and custard.
My final day ended lazily, I walked into town for cash and said goodbye to everyone, then headed to my flight to Jo'burg, then on to Cape Town. I managed to get an earlier flight as we made good time. I reached my Cape Town hostel at dinner time to find my game drive had been confirmed, so I headed out and found a nice Thai restaurant nearby, then headed for an early night!
I'll leave you with a review I posted on TripAdvisor about the hostel:
This hostel was one of my favourite that I have stayed in ANYWHERE, Friendly and informative staff who call you by name and are willing to do anything for you from organise trips to tell you about what you can do to maximise your time and arrange transfers..we even got a lift into town for a quick shop when we first got there!
the resort is quirky with a beautiful garden and pool, a giant chess board with hand-carved pieces and a friendly staff who cook for you around a fire. There is a masseuse on site and activities can be arranged
cheap and a 15 minute walk from town, it is a really lovely hostel and I would recommend to anyone. Self catering facilities also available for budget travellers!
Rosie the 'guard dog' and the local inhabitants 'Godzilla' and the baby chickens make it feel like a home away from home!
The hostel I was staying in 'Brown Sugar' was named after the drug with that nickname, as it was based in a former Heroin gangsters mansion. The setting was beautiful, and although it was a little way outside of the centre, the hostel was stunning, with brilliant views from its terrace and outdoor pool. I decided to head into town and pickup a hop on hop off bus tour with Soweto included. We passed the Carlton tower - Africa's tallest building and drove to the Soweto stadium - host of the 2010 world cup and of course more recently, Nelson Mandela's memorial. The tour guide explained 'Africa time' to us which was a new concept, essentially an excuse to get him and others out of ever being late, as my trip progressed I would experience 'African time' on more than one occasion.
As we continued our tour I passed a 'Boomtown' sign and almost forgot where I was, we passed a very colourful funeral in Soweto and a shanty town man with recycling piled as high as a bus near the poorest area of the township, which he was collecting to give to the government and make a little money for himself and his family. We passed the huge nuclear towers, now colourfully decorated as only a place in Africa can be. Some mentalist was about to throw himself off between the middle of them in the name of an adrenaline rush, and we got there just in time for me to film him doing it.
We stopped at a memorial to Hector Peterson, a boy killed during the struggle against apartheid, who came to symbolise the inhumanity and the black peoples struggle. We continued through Soweto and stopped at Desmond Tutu's house and of course Nelson Mandela's. After exploring, I was hungry so I hopped off at Gold City and stumbled upon a mighty buffet where I overindulged somewhat and then walked over to the nearby Apartheid museum, a fascinating insight into the historic racial struggle this country has endured. After spending a few hours reading and looking, a storm came over so i hopped back on the bus and watched an epic lightning storm as I made my way back to the hostel for dinner. I sat and chatted with people in the bar and the owners made us an amazing traditional dinner (steak, veg and traditional 'pap') - turns out their diet is almost perfect for me!
The next morning I headed back to the airport for the next leg of my trip...Victoria Falls!
Sunday, 17 August 2014
Thursday began by laying the colourful parachute out to block space for our arriving friends and pottering about until they arrived, although not many of last years crew survived, we still ended up with a large camp of friends. I got to meet up with Siobhan, who I used to work with and her friend, and we watched Ed Solo in the Hidden Woods and explored the maze.
The Wailers kicked us off on a sunny and weed-filled Lions Den set, we headed in our big group to see our favourites Molotov Jukebox at Town Centre, then to Stevie's set at the new nearby Wild West area, which was so fun and we partied for two hours avoiding the rain. We headed over to the Job Centre, run by Ashton, where Laurie worked and raved to Squire of Gothos, then bimbled about at camp and me Ellen Heels and Jasu watched Shaggy at Lions Den, he played all of the classics, but was still shit as expected.
Saturday involved Electric swing circus, Dunkelbunt, a lot of Lions den, then I headed off with Davina and Jimmmy and Neil to see Altern8. Here I bumped in to an old uni friend, it was lovely seeing Jack and has been too long. At Jimmy and Davinas tent I heard the story that their campmate had his entire tent knicked?!
I met back up with the Brighton crew and absolutely had it to Koan Sound with Jonah especially. Tipper followed and we stayed the rest of the night at Arcadia for an awesome set from Aphrodite. The only downer of the festival was that when we came back to camp in the afternoon, someone had put a chair through my beloved tent and left it sticking out of it with two big holes! Luckily my friends always carry gaffer tape, although I was awoken in the night by a storm, so had to go out and re-do it mid-storm which caused chaos with my poncho, oh well! I will miss that tent, over ten years of holidays and festivals, it did me proud.
Sunday had less we wanted to see so we explored and watched Laid Blak at the Hidden Woods. Me, Ellen, Jasu, Laurie, Anna and Kyle watched Cat Empire play at Town Centre, then to Bodyshop for Spongebob Squarewave to close the festival, where Jonah got offered weed that was confiscated by the security guard who was offering it, purely because he was black! We then headed to after party at the Job Centre where Nina revealed an embarassing story and we met up with everyone in the woods before retiring to Maddys tent (as mine was a gonner).
Monday was spent tatting a new tent, double mattress and pump (im sold after sleeping on Stevies all weekend), me and Dave lugged stuff to the car using a tent as a drag bag, found Mikey who had lost everything (including his tent), ate our spoils with Stevie and Natty and slep until a security guard rudely awakened us and told us to leave. We had a lovely Harvester when we got back to Brighton.
Another terrific weekend at Boomtow, full of old and new crew. Free ticket was great and I think it is getting too big and loosing its uniqueness now so maybe that will be it for me and Boomtown, we shall see next year! SO fun though.
We got off of the bus, on to a minibus, on to a ferry and finally arrived. We met Amy off of the boat and headed to a nice hostel she found in Ban TAi. Ate Thai lunch and we hired scooters. Hilary freaked out a bit so me and Amy shared her on the back instead and DAve was given one having been asked no questions about the fact he had never driven anything before in his life and we whizzed about to along the coast to Haadrin and then went to get Simon. After stopping off at a pharmacy for ritallin(?!), we decided to go to the full moon party, which was actually quite fun and not as busy as usual, many fun antics and Amy burned her bum climbing off the psytrance stage on a lit cigarette and dunked her bum in the sea to help. Hilary and Simon went back out as we retired for the night, so we were fresh for Amy's bday the next day
Tuesday, 1 July 2014
After setting off at an ungodly hour and picking up two liftshare.com randoms named Danica and Josh, we set off for Glastonbury. We were in and parked by 9am and I rushed to put my tent up, met Nigora briefly and walked briskly to my work training at the cinema, pretty much the opposite side of the festival to my staff campsite, Paines Ground. I made it with 9 minutes to spare and helped myself to biscuits and squash. On my way to training I bumped in to my first random encounter, Owen from my uni course. The training went on for nearly 3 hours and considering I was running on less than two hours sleep and a 3.5 hour car drive I managed to stay awake and alert for all of it. As soon as I was done I arranged to meet Hilary at the Pyramid stage and lay in the sun while she came to find me. After her pouncing on me and us saying our hellos we wandered back to her site in the travellers field and I said hi to Ellen, Anna, Kyle and the rest. We grabbed a load of her stuff and headed to mine so I could finish unpacking and we could eat. Here I met some of our campsite crew, friends of Nigs' who all seemed nice. Went to block 9 with Ellen and Annas brother Milo and his missus. We headed to Rum shack in the common with the twins, Jonah, Jack, Becky and then the stone circle.
josh dragon kigu, 2 bears fail, met Nigs etc
went out with camp mates, bandstand, secret metronomy gig williams green, carnival collective smallworld, duncan disorderly
sold first lot of nos
On Friday I got up in the sunshine and headed to meet Hilary, where we enjoyed Blondie at the Other Stage. Considering how old she is they were really good, and in their 40th year as a band that is saying something! We met people for De La Soul at the Pyramid stage and then bimbled around and went to the Glade stage for a bit. There was a pretty epic storm at this point and we sheltered in the Boomtown pods near Arcadia until it passed, welly weather was here. My first shift was at 9pm, so I headed over there, and after getting a little lost, I found our muster tent and helped myself to a selection of nutella, jam, peanut butter and honey toast and charged my phone for a bit. We started an hour late, due to, as predicted, dis-organisation of managers and headed to Arcadia, where we caught the opening show. At this point we realised we were 'response stewards' and me and a girl called Ivena from my camp got moved to between the horrific sounds of Skrillex on the Other Stage and the equally horrific danc area of Silver Hayes. The girl kicked up a fuss so her boyfriend George came down instead and we worked the shift together, it was busy but fun. Highlights from my first EVER night shift include a couple of cheeky kisses, hugs, a feather and thank you from some half naked high bloke and we also met the lovely Maria, who came up to us saying she had some of a random girls water, but thinks there was something in it. She was coming up on MDMA for the first ever time, infact it was her first ever drug, we looked after her a bit and chatted and then she disappeared off in to the dance area. We were stood down at about 3.45am and I was happy to be off early so I headed back to the tent and then went to see the sunrise at Stone Circle with some friends.
Saturday was mainly sunny, with a couple of showers, luckily as I had my second shift from 1-8pm. We started late as usual and just wandered around The Common while they found us somewhere that needed us. We came across a tent that was teaching Latin dancing, so we joined in and a senior steward introduced herself to us. We headed back to Unfairground and began patrolling around Shangri La in the sun for the day. I chatted to Thea and took pictures and we were relieved early at 7pm, ready for Metallica at 9pm. I met up with Ellen, Holly and Millie and we raved away to Jack Black in the mud at the Pyramid. We headed to watch the Pixies and sit Millie down, where I bumped into Alice and Callum and I headed off to watch a bit of Metallica. I met them again and we headed to what was my favourite night of the festival. We held hands and thanks to Ellen we tore through the crowd to the front of the John Peel stage for MGMT. We rocked out to them and then went to see Fatboy Slim at Wow and then headed to Arcadia for Disclosure which involved more Holly and Ellen pushing and us dragging a fucked guy out of the crowd, with Ellen getting punched in the face in the process. We headed to Stone Circle to finish off the best night of this years Glasto, ive never really met Holly before, but I had so much fun with these two, big love!
The sun returned properly for Sunday and I headed down to see the Subways at Other Stage and then popped over to see a hilarious set by Casette boy and DJ Rubbish at Glade. I met up with Hilary, Amy and Mark to pick up Hilary's massive wanker phone from a dude who took a picture of himself as the screensaver, jokes. He wasnt interested in Hilary trying to give him bubbles or a pound coin though, its almost as if bubbles arent currency... we met almost everyone (Ellen, Holly, Millie, the twins, Laura, Rob and his mate, Kyle and more) for Dolly Parton, which was great and possibly the most packed ive ever seen the Pyramid stage (we were by the tree far back and it was still rammed). She got someone from Bon Jovi on, probably mimed and sang 'I will always love you' so it was fun. We are split off and me and Josh got some samosas (my first and only expenditure of the festival) and bumped in to Laurie and Ruby and watched Gentlemans Dub Club at Gully stage. We met back up with Hilary, Mark and co and we saw Bob Marley's band 'The Wailers' at West Holt, then I headed to work. After an easy shift that started an hour late and finished three hours early with a guy who was sweet but really dumb and Patrick playing games and eating free croissants and drinking lots of free drinks we headed to Arcadia and caught the end of Virus takeover, meeting all of our work/campsite mates. We headed to Shangri La and I actually used my staff queue jump. I headed into the Salon Carousel briefly before meeting them at the bar and then we headed to Hell, which by coincidence had an amazing lineup where we saw the Correspondents and then Reeps one! I went to the Stone circle but bumped into Toby and we headed to meet Nina, who turned out to be with Josh, Rose, Jonah, Laura and Becca and me and her and Jonah headed to the Stone Circle for one last sunrise to meet Hilary, Holly, Mark, Kyle, Jasmin and everyone else. The work mates came and met us and then me Becca and Patrick retired.
Monday began with Hilary coming to meet me and we took her stuff to Marks broken bell tent, then I packed up and went to the car to save worrying about it later. Miles and I walked around tatting in fields and I found a great selection of stuff. Then me, Nigs and Miles (after a lot of faffing) met Danica, crammed in the car and left site at 7pmish.
What a weekend! I spent £5, made lots, got a free ticket, had easy work, lots of fun times and music....take me back!
Monday, 26 May 2014
Chiaki Takahshi, the wanted fugitive for the double murder of some kids somewhere in Japan a couple of years ago has finally been aprehended and returned to her country, but not before she tooookkk errr jerrrrrrbs.
But yes, Chiakis visa has expired, so we all went to Gypsy Disco to commiserate. It turned out to be a stonker, possibly my favourite to date, which considering I preferred the blind tiger ones is really saying something. There were so many boobs, the decor and atmosphere was really special and Dunken Disorderly and Billy Rowan were fine entertainment indeed!. Nina and Esme had dressed up as nearly naked golden cherubs, Tora and Sally had actually come out and much merriment was had until they kicked us all out at 5ish.
The next morning I packed my bag and waited for my lift to Small world. Its weird having to rely on other people for lifts and this is the first time I have really missed having a car, but i blagged a lift there and back with the legend that is Esme's boyfriend Rob and we were off!
Day 1 involved a lovely drive seeing lambs, a double rainbow and lots of rural plsces that other Rob wanted to stop in, then operating my tent after giving it a year off last festival season while I occupied others peoples tents instead. Once we were set off we went exploring (not hard or laborious considering its only about two fields big!) and met up with lots of lovely people from the previous year. We watched some bands, had some catchups and me and Rob commentsted on a fire show, sports style, much to the hilarity of most people within earshot. I saw gypsie and princess perform fire at the Castle Stage (my home last year, it has evolved with a better bar and quiet area), bimbled around tents and chilled with everyone. I also bumped in to Aleko briefly and got decorated in glitter by Ruby. That night I was cold for large parts and it took until the morning to realise I had never actually been in there on my own before...and had no ground sheet as Rob pointed out.
Day two was spent enjoying the glorious sunshine and eating all manner of free food I could get my hands on, which included a free staff meal (vege wrap), van cooked cous cous vegetable epic meal, vege sandwich and cheesey chips among others. Nina and Esme stole peoples roasts by pretending to work for Home Grown cafe and clesring plates so we could eat the delicious leftovers. A truly cunning trick. One of the days highlights was Chaz absolutely on one in the van and also dressed as a tranny, pom poms and all..shortly followed by Rob and Josh, sporting fetching outfits from Esme's junk sale find earlier in the day and Beccas last clean festie outfit. The evening was spent in Chaz's van, drinking hot chocolate and bimbling about once more. I went to bed, nervous about being so cold again, bumped in to Esme, Nina and Rob around the castle stage campfire and borrowed their spare sleeping bag, which did the trick and I was much warmer all night.
Day three involved lots more free food, hula hoops, another van cooked meal (mashed potatoes with fried vegetables), crisps, spaghetti hoops, bacon, chocolate etc) and as I woke to sunshine, but with the forecast predicting rain, I packed my tent down and headed to Hilary at Larrys Lounge and then Chazs van where we chilled and ate, then went up to the Small World stage. We found Jonah (and the twins found some amazing nicknaks to take home) and i stole some of Nina and Jonahs chips and we headed home. The first festival of the season was over, a roaring success and my first ever sober one. I had such a great time again and am now well up for summer! Bring on not paying for any of it :)