Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Deciders - Party Time in Port Elizabeth

Port Elizabeth in South Africa’s Eastern Cape was the venue for England’s last group game, and our next match, against Slovenia.  We opted for a 13-hour overnight bus ride with Translux to get us down there.  The bus was very reasonably priced and comfortable.  The icing on the cake was the entertainment we were treated to.  We must have had a top-notch entertainment director as the line up was truly something – first up was “Phil Collins: The Final Farewell Tour” on DVD.  That was followed by a Patti Labelle PBS special with all the funky 70s soul and disco classics.  The night’s programming was concluded with the action-packed “Mercenary for Justice” featuring none other than pony-tailed puncher Steven Seagal. What a night! 

In PE we met up with a few of the characters from Rustenburg, including the long-distance cyclists.  Daniel, one of Lee’s friends from England was also over for World Cup with his friend Robbie so we met up with them too.  The game was great and England got the win they needed to advance to the knockout stages (as did the US in their game) so it was party time again.  We celebrated into the small hours again as the World Cup party train rolled on.

Before leaving the Eastern Cape we took a break from all the football fever to take in some of the natural beauty of the area. Along with Daniel and Robbie, we visited the Sardinia Bay Nature Reserve, an incredible bit of coastline about 15 minutes outside of Port Elizabeth.  There are a number of hiking paths along the coastline collectively known as the Sacramento Trail.  The weather was beautiful and we hiked along the lower path, which takes you along rocky grasslands and beaches, for about an hour and a half before turning around and hiking back along a higher trail that offered spectacular views of the Indian Ocean.  We even spotted a pod of whales making their way along the coast.

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