Monday, 5 May 2014

DIFFERENT STROKES …… 24th March, 2014

It's a beautiful coast - once you get there and if the sun shines

So here we are in a very isolated spot in the old Transkei, called  “The Wild Coast”.  Normally, keen hikers and fishermen find their way here to explore the beautiful coastline and forest but my husband chose this place for our holiday by studying Google Earth.  The hotel looked beautiful on the Internet – an old thatched place, a stone’s throw from the sandy beach and a very reasonable price for full-board for 4 days, I agreed without demur. My husband needs to wind down and I even said (with faked enthusiasm) that I would go fishing with him.  The place certainly lives up to its name because today and for the last two days it has been pouring with rain, more than 90 mm. to be exact, unheard of for this time of year and the sea is rough.  Climate change is to be blamed and as a result we are confined to barracks. The drive from the highway should have created doubts: a ground road, perilously snaking its way over high hills, then plunging into lush green valleys, dizzying hairpin bends and cattle, goats and pigs roaming free.  The blurb said  “68 kilometres which should take an hour and a half. Relax and enjoy the scenery.” Perhaps on a nice day. We hit a thunderstorm which blackened the sky at a critical point and we had no idea which way to turn.  Service-delivery protests had been organised by the local community (the ANC are disrupting all over the country because of the imminent general election) and signs were down.  A scary two hours later we managed to reach our destination, which by the way, was not on the map of our Garmin upon which, in this technological age, we foolishly depend.  As we speak, the phone lines are down and there is no cell phone or Internet connection. So it’s very peaceful. My husband would normally be restless, but as he went down with a bad throat and chest (which he gets every time we go on holiday), he is resting and doing a lot of reading: particularly good is “I am Pilgrim” by Terry Hayes. . I am delighted to be anywhere that I don’t have to worry about meals and where someone makes my bed and cleans the room.  I asked my best friend what she had enjoyed most about her 3-day boat cruise. Almost the same as me:  the 3 meals a day plus snacks, the clean towels and the bed-making.  Off to play Scrabble with myself…. Perhaps we can fish tomorrow.


  1. Enjoy your holiday. My husband took me fishing once and I was the one who caught the big fish.

  2. So I am confused, are you enjoying your holiday or not? I hope your weather improves.

    BTW there is a way to get better confidence when using your GPS receiver. Instead of navigating to something that may or may not be on the map, if you can find what your looking for on Google Earth (not Google maps) you can get the latitude and longitude reading of where your mouse is pointing.

    For example perusing about Cape Town on Google Earth I found a rather interesting parking lot next to an communication antenna called Signal Hill. This appears to be some high elevation observation vista. So I placed my mouse in the parking lot and got the coordinates 33 55.064 S 18 24.171 E. On your Garmin there should be an option under "Where To" for inserting coordinates. On mine it goes like this

    Where to


    S 33 55 064 E018 24 171


    By God it is showing a spot near Cape Town on the maps. I have North American maps, so I can't see any detail.

    I hit Go and...well it seems to be having trouble finding a highway between Pennsylvania and South Africa. It says there is not enough memory available. Hmmm.

    So I chose off road navigation, and damned if it didn't plot a purple line from Pittsburgh to Cape Town and put a checkered flag in South Africa. Destination is 8075 miles.

    Anyhow putting in coordinates that you can reach by your car works just as well as putting in any other search criteria...providing you are very sure of what it is that you are looking at in Google Earth. It should calculate out the roads in proper order. Mine didn't work going to South Africa because of the substantial pond in-between.

    Make sure you put in that leading zero in the longitude minutes and make sure you place S for southern hemisphere and E for east of Greenwich. I have found this to usually be a lot more accurate than addresses if you are certain of the geographical location. on Google Earth. Address data bases frequently have a lot of errors.

    It may be different on your Garmin, mine is about 7 or 8 years old. Still works great.

    1. I'll take note of all your tips re the Garmin. We just never thought we would need the co-ords and the machine in our Merc comes ex factory - seems to have a few bits missing. We were too stressed being lost to think about entering numbers in that thunderstorm. Actually, I enjoyed (almost) every moment of my holiday - I always make the most of anything different and am grateful for most things that come my way. I had imagined a slightly more romantic break, but with M coughing every 10 minutes for 8 days, didn't happen quite the way I planned. Things are picking up now though...we are back home.