Because I’m FREEEEEE……


How’s that to start er’ off? Thought that would get your attention….. :)

August 31st…….
Okay, picture this for me if you will– I am writing this very entry at a picnic table at our hostal, "Island Vibe," overlooking the magnificant Indian ocean– the surfers are taking their "afternoon session"– you can hear nothing but the powers of the waves crashing as the sun shines down– its the first day of Spring here in S. Africa and I can feel nothing but content….. Oh, and a slight numbness all over as Ray and I have… ahem…taken up catchin’ a few waves of our own. I don’t know if you can quite call it surfing just yet, mind you– but when you are in the surf capital of, well- just about the WORLD Jeffery’s Bay (or J-Bay) you have to take the plunge and try your luck at these…. gulp… very menacing waves.
Home of the Supertubes- which are more of less those barrel waves you see at surfing competitions- or rather that you saw at the end of one of my fave movies "Blue Crush"– J’Bay is one of the most laidback completely fantastic places I have ever been SO VERY crazy lucky to step foot on.
Lets just say we were suppose to leave last night– Thursday– but now have decided to stay through Sunday. It could be just pure determination to catch that perfect wave- or the fact that life here just oozes happiness out of every corner… But a decision to "stay put" and soak this town in couldn’t have been easier. Just today we were surfing, well, in the "beginners section" that is– and we looked to our left to find about a dozen or so dolphins RIDING the waves with us– METERS away… it was surreal. Later we looked across to find a WHALE jumping up far in front of us…. Hows that for a little "Free Willy-tastic’ Becksters’ style?" Who sees that? (well except for me up close in personal with Beckey riding on top) but SERIOUSLY… in the wild? Some never in their lives…It was completely overwhelming. Oh– hold on– Ray just ran for his camera as it looks like another whale is out there now, too– Again, postcard pefection this place is– and it really doesn’t hurt that all the factory Billabong, Quicksilver, Roxi and Ripcurl factories are here– Just P.S. :)
The people that have already come and gone through this hostal have been hysterical– nights are never anything less then pure entertainment. I even met a S. African the other night that worked a summer at Gertans Greenhouse– um, how’s that for 7 degrees of seperation? What a small world! But this hostal if full of surprises… and for $10.00 a night and $1.50 a beer, you simply cannot go wrong.

Thursday–September 6th.~ Almost a week has gone by since the last entry… but, "living life" took over "writing" about it– and I truly think J-bay had this wonderful so laid back kind of magical power over us…. You found yourself in this crazy kind of trance. You thought only of that moment– and nothing beyond. Which also may be why we ended up staying there until Tuesday– werps– almost an ENTIRE week… But hey, when you find paradise- why search any further?!? So our journey up the coast eneded at J-bay- we have turned around towards Cape Town and here I sit on the beautiful Nothshore-esque’ grounds of the hostal called Dijembe lodge in Storms River… land of the Bloukrans bridge, the highest and longest single span bridge in Africa- as well as the 216 meter bungy jump, also BIGGEST in the WORLD… but then, I digress– that a little "cliff hanger" I’ll save for later in this blog. Heh heh heh….
Lets get back to the adventures in J-Bay first…. :)

Friday we ended up (as most nights followed) at "The Bar" at the Island Vibe hostal– it was a great place to meet some incredible people along with share in all our experiences that day. And then we met our "don’t steal my spotlight" match Lucie and Ben– a couple from Leeds, England and absolutely hysterical. WE were having a hard time keeping up…. WHAAA!? A friendship was instantly in tact after only a few laughs and we have all been inseperable ever since that moment. The weekend was made up of surfing-living-laughing and making so many new friends, including some of our faves– "Fat Boy" and "Doobie." Don’t worry just yet, they were actually dogs that lived at Is. Vibe. And they stole our hearts…. AND our room space as we couldn’t help but let Fat Boy steal a lil’ floor during the night. Those dogs would literally walk us to the beach and look after our belongings as we "attempted" surfing. It was brilliant!

Sunday night Lucie and Ben had us over for dinner at their fancy smancy guesthouse– right in the middle cooking his spaghetti bolognese, Ben realized Ray was a chef and oh HOW you should have seen the look of distress on his face– hysterical…. Later he admitted he was gutted as here he was cooking spaghetti and "dog meat" to a master chef– but we assured him, and as you all know- that for Ray a meal prepared by somehone else is always equally as brilliant because HE doens’t have to make it… That night to my surprise Neverending Story was playing in the bar and I couldn’t help but watch it through to the end– Brother Bear I thought of you!

Monday Ray and I surfed in the morning (and I got my first war wound as the board came up and bit me in the chin- blood and all!) and then we joined Ben and Lucie on a… SAFARI! Okay, it wasn’t a real live true "see the big 5" (Buffalo, Rhino, Leopard, Elephant and Zebra) Safari– but it was on a 5000 acre game reserve where we hopped onto a 4×4 Jeep and made our way through the park. (with a guide, of course) It was absolutely amazing…. although it is a reserve, all the animals are completely wild– so stunning to see the Zebras race across the plains…. the Giraffs peaking out of tree tops…. the hippo sunning itself in the pond…. and the Rhino? Who gets to see a RHINO?MEEEEEEEEEEE! Unfortunately, I am sorry to say there were no wombats Sarah… :)
Then after a short "tea break" we went out to catch our glimps of the Lions. There were 5 in all and were kept in a separate part of the reserve– As the sun was setting the driver raced through the fields searching for a needle in a haystack…. But then, just our luck we came upon ALL of them– the dominant male with the full mane and all. It was both spectacular and crazy frightening as they were literally feet away form the jeep. No sudden movements and even I had to keep quiet (shocking, I know). But to watch them pace along in front of us was something I will never forget. And as a cat lover I know when they are about to pounce…ZOINKS I could have sworn they were getting agitated enough to do so!

After the rush of seeing the lions we went to a beautiful lodge in the middle of the safari (gated, of course) with thatched roofs, bamboo walls and an all you can eat buffet in the middle. HA! Needless to say we were pleasently surprised with how lovely everything was– we were so glad we were able to experience this as a safari was one thing we weren’t sure we would be able to afford. But how can you come to S. Africa and not see some big ol’ fierce animals?

Tuesday we sadly left J-bay, but not before saying goodbye to all our new friends and memories…. Luke- Adam- Camilla- Cejer- the staff- Tom- "J" (because we couldn’t pronounce his german name)- rowdy bartenders Mike and Daneshe- our doggies…. just to name a few….
We abandoned our Baz Bus and drove with Ben and Lucie towards Storms River. And thats where I sit now. Tucked into the forest Dijembe lodge is so peaceful and gorgeous. The bunkbeds are oversized and comfy– and stack clear to the ceiling almost "Swiss family Robinson style"… Now, only if we could stop Ray Ray from keeping the others awake with his snoring! Poor Ray, he has tried everything. We basically have had to cram ourselves together on one bunkbed so I can be there to "shove em" a little everytime he starts to saw logs. But regardless all the hostals we have stayed at in S. Africa have RUINED us for everyother country we visit. They are all equally as amazing… clean- unique- and so full of character. I have tried to take as many picts as possible– its simply too much!
And the price hasn’t been too bad either– like I had said before, for a dorm its on average 70 Rand per person… with 7 Rand to the dollar, that 10 bukaroos each. For a double room en suite (with bathroom) its about 250 or so. Only about 30 bucks… which really has allowed us to make the most of the ca-gillions of activities S. Africa has to offer.

…………Which brings me to the 580 Rand BIGGEST BUNGY JUMP IN THE WORRRRRRRRLD. Which WE BOTH jumped at about 12:30pm Wednesday the 5th of September. Daring, aren’t we?
I still cannot tell you where exactly I found the courage to place my toes at the end of a bridge and jump 216 meters with a 4 second freefall into a canyon with only a rope around my ankles. (okay, so there was more gear invovled then just a rope, I just needed a bit of FLARE on that one…)
But with "HI MOM" written in marker across my raised arms I took the leap… and oh what a leap it was. I was speechless– couldn’t even muster a scream…. I can honestly say that I have never been so terrified in MY LIFE. But then, I have never been so completely exhilirated for what I had "lept" for after. And it was hard to forget is as that "HI MOM" on my arms didn’t wash off for the next couple of days…. :)
Ray was a complete champ– I have never seen anything like it… With "HI PHILL" on his arms(just to rub it in) he jumped in style– pure elegance. Not a drop of sweat off of him. Thats my ballz to the wallz man…. pure legend. Talk about making it look easy! :)

Make sure to check out the picts– and we even got a DVD of my jump but its on its 2 month trip home via some good ol’ snail mail…. But I am sure my brover’ can figure out a link to get it up on the site when it finally makes its journey home. Its absolutely hysterical!
That afternoon we went to Tsitsikama National Park to have a celebratory lunch with Ben and Lucie to relive our daring feat! (Lucie did it too… with "HELP ME" written on her arms) overlooking the "green screen view" as I like to call it. Basically a view that so surreal you could only be cut and paste into it.

Thursday we left Storms River and drove with B and L towards Plattenburg Bay– a more "hoity toity" area with big Duluth sized hills and a killer view of the ocean with the mountains sharing the background with the big beautiful sky. We stayed at a hostal called Albergo and started our evening there out by the campfire where we met James and Jordon. James was from England and had been travelling for 14 months… (envious) and Jordon was from Scotland on holiday…. We instantly became friends and shared the rest of that night and the next day in Platt. Talking of our travels and drinking from the "honesty bar" around the campfire was too much fun… We all went down Friday afternoon to take in the stellar view that L and B had at their Hotel and Spa right off the ocean. We pretended to be all "richie’ and famous"– if only for a few hours as the infiniti pool laid in front of our cushion-tastic pool chairs. Thanks again for letting us crash your scene you 2– Legends you are! How lucky we were able to meet that crazy full blown wackaloo couple.
Friday night Ray prepared curry for 6 of us from the hostal– Me, Jordon, James, Anat (from Jerusalem) and another English gal– one of my most favorite memories by far as we sat around a picnic table by the fire sharing in Rays nummy dish…. which went from just feeding 4 to 6….

Saturday morning we said our goodbyes to everyone once again and left on our Baz Bus towards Cape Town.
And this is where I sit now– its Sunday, the 9th of September and its literally unfathomable how quickly our 14 day trek on the Garden Route went. We will absolutely be back in S. Africa someday as yet again, we have only JUST scratched the surface.
Ray and I are sitting at a cafe at the Waterfront right now doing our best to catch up a bit on life before Asia hits on Tuesday.
We are also are desperately seeking out a place that fixes cameras (werps, mine is playing up…. & I am going CRAZY without a camera– and Ray isn’t so "taken" with me trying to take creative picts with his– tehe) and gear up towards our 3 hour+ internet session to blog and upload picts this afternoon… Boo hoo mama! :)
…But just looking up from my writing helps as the Waterfront is bustling with people and utterly gorgeous as shops and restuarants lace the wharf. Table Mountain is in full view as the clouds part ever so slowly. Tomorrow we are going to try to rent a car for the day to see Cape Point that or take the ferry to Robbens Is. to view Mandelas cell. So much do do– too little time left! ARRRGH!
So I will leave you now with hopefully an entire section of updated pictures (so cross your fingers they work my Jen– you are too funny to be so addicted– LOVE IT) and a big ol THANKS ALOOOOOOOOOOTto all of you that have continued to follow our journey. (and read my long DRAWN out blogs) Your comments and email updates help us feel just THAT much closer…. :)

******I just want to share in Theresa’s absolute hectic excitement as her wedding is just 5 days away! I hear the "Laminated Wyatts" have arrived safely from Cali in time to cause a li’ more trouble… WOO WEE! (Thanks again Al! And thanks for taking care of em’ Stace!) I will do everything in my power to get in touch with you on that SPECIAL day girl– you better believe I will. We will be thinking of you every moment!

…. and Mum and Dad– Happy Anniversary to you– How proud I am to have parents that I am able to look up to each and every day…. I love you!

Oh, and of course I cannot forget– Happy "Earliest Turkey DAY EVER" to my family who are celebrating it today– as my gram and gramps will be staying in Florida over November this year. Freeze a turkey leg for us! Wish we could be there… you all make us smile so hard.

****Take care– and we promise we won’t jump off anymore bridges! Mmmm…. but planes, now– that may be something to consider. And this time, "HI DAD" across my forehead. :)

Your surfing-bungy crazed full blown wackalooo’s,
Ray and Alyssa

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