Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Day 109 - Barrydale to Plettenberg Bay, South Africa

RobC:  Right after leaving our Barryville lodging we saw a cemetery and I just had to stop and have a look at the Afrikaans grave markers and the names of people, as well as the dates of birth and death. This is kind of a macabre hobby of mine, but sometimes it serves to learn historical facts, such as war, famine, epidemics, etc.

People from Haarlem will recognize the Cronjé surname.

Nice specimen of an Afrikaans tombstone

RobT:  We continued along R62 to Oudtshoorn stopping several times along the way looking for R62 stickers to put next to our Route 66 stickers we got from our friend Mark in Illinois, way back on day one of our epic journey.  The temperature reached a balmy 38 Celsius (106 F), so when it did drop to about 31 C under cloudy skies it felt nice and cool.

The first stop was Ronnie's Sex Shop, out in the middle of the "veldt" (country).  Ronnie had opened the pub in 1995 and painted "Ronnie's Shop" on the side of the white-washed building.  One night, his mates decided to play a joke on Ronnie and inserted "sex" in the name.  Not amused, but not knowing what to do, he left it as it was.  It has since become a famous watering hole for weary travelers.  No, the place has nothing to do with sex ... in case you were wondering.  Nevertheless, people do leave whatever article they can spare as a memento of their visit to this landmark.  Some of the articles being ladies undergarments.  We were asked to leave one of our spare tires, but instead, we put our sticker on the door.

Ronnie's Sex Shop along R62

Inside the world class biker's pub. Yes, those are panties and bras hanging from the ceiling and, no, we are not smiling.

Turning south toward the coast of the Indian Ocean, we rode over Robertson Pass at an elevation of 840 m (2500 feet).  Seemed a little anti-climactic after what we experienced in the Andes not too long ago.  Still, a nice ride to the coastal town of Mossel Bay.  N2 towards Plettenberg Bay is known as the Garden Route which reminded us a lot of the coastal resort towns back home.

Nice easy day of riding on very nice roads - 350 km (230 miles). Tomorrow we head a little further east up the coast before we turn inland, so stand by for more adventure stories and pictures of beautiful South Africa.


  1. RobC, you are being forced to ride around dusty Africa on your motorcycle while I lounge in front of a computer translating a medical journal article on renal insufficiency. Which one of us is having more fun?

    Are you encountering a lot of Afrikaans speakers, or are most people speaking English? (I realize that most are bilingual, but what mother tongue are you encountering most?)

  2. Nice pic dad, I like the krouse with a k. You should have left your dirty drawers!

  3. Hi Mig,

    I didn't even notice the Kroese graffiti until you mentioned it. This place is blast. South Africa must be like Australia - all sports, fun and recreation! And coffee shops and cafes on every corner. I am sure things will change as we go north.

    Greetings to Bethany and hugs for the kids,

  4. Hi Dick,

    I've been meaning to say some more things about the fascinating language situation here. It is easy to spot mother tongue Afrikaans speakers, as they speak English (of varying competency) with a Dutch accent. And that includes most people with whom we have spoken to date. The black people speak Afrikaans as a second or trade language. And people who speak with a true British accent may or may not know some Afrikaans, depending on whether they went to school in South Africa. Afrikaans is primary and compulsory in the schools and English is taught as a foreign language.

    That's the way I understand it. Fascinating linguistic situation - and totally foreign to US concepts.


  5. Have you tried any Dutch-Afrikaans conversations, or do you just switch right away to English? A South African Consul General from Chicago told me years ago that the negotiations between the ANC and the government were conducted in Afrikaans.

  6. Hi Dick,

    (I wonder if you receive a notification of my reply to your comment?)

    Usually, Afrikaans speakers lapse into English when they notice they are not dealing with fellow Afrikaans speakers. Nevertheless, I have had a couple of conversations where I spoke Dutch and they spoke Afrikaans (slowly).

    The interesting thing is that Afrikaans is also the lingua franca in Namibia, besides German, English and a number of indigenous languages.

    One German farmer in Namibia was rather frank about the language situation and called Afrikaans a Scheisse language and English a Mickey Mouse language.


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