Island Vibe Jeffrey’s Bay

This bar uses the same playlist every night. It’s all top 40, but it helps get the party going. If I was staying here longer than a few days I would surely go insane. The staff in the bar seem to cope by getting drunker and drunker as the night goes on–just try getting a drink after midnight. Island Vibe Backpackers stays true to their name.

T-bone steak, a salad, and red wine for dinner tonight, cooked up over the braai. For those that don’t know, in South Africa everyone is all about the ‘braai’. It’s just another word for barbecue, although it’s usually done in an oil drum that’s been sliced in half like a hot-dog bun and mounted to legs, forming a homemade looking barbecue. Even the betting shop I was in today had one in the back.

‘California Love’ is pumping out of the speakers now, and it’s meshing well with my Works for Jerks Benny Gold tank top, snapback, and general California attitude. Regrettably, the big party took place last night for nearly all of us. I’m sitting in a deep couch around a table with a bunch of other travelers–drinking red wine and chatting about how hung over we were this morning. Even when every day is a weekend, the intensity still gets turned up over a weekend.

Jeffrey’s bay is a secret sort of paradise. For most of my friends, when I told them I was going to Africa they thought it was some barren wasteland. “Are you bringing your own food?” someone chortled when I announced my travel plans. But even for me, I wasn’t prepared for how developed and beautiful it looks here. I might as well be in Santa Monica. There’s about three billabong shops within one kilometer of each other on the main road.

This is Africa
‘dece breakfast, better view.

J-Bay is known amongst even the backpackers for being the place to get cool clothes on the cheap in Sub-Saharan Africa. It’s chock full of Billabong, RVCA, Quiksilver, and many other factory outlet shops. I knew about this months before I got here after saying “Sick vest! where did you buy it?” to some Polish girl in Zanzibar. But if you want to ball out, you can go across the street from the Billabong Factory Outlet and check out the Billabong Concept Store–complete with faux thatched roofing. After being in the ‘Wild Coast’ of South Africa, the difference now that I am on the ‘Garden Route’ is marked.

The wind is picking up outside, a strong westerly wind promises to deliver some waves. It’s been eight days now without waves here, and the surfers are beginning to lose their minds. Last night I shared this huge wooden hammock with two other people for what seemed like hours. I mention it now, because it’s the only thing I have a photo of from yesterday–and probably more interesting to write about than just going out to the bars and dancing with Dutch girls.

For a total hang-over day I still managed to do some cool shit. I had the ‘breakfast with a view’ shown pictured above, but I was still hungry and hung-over. So I drove to Nina’s Real Food with Big Bird and had a second breakfast. Turns out my travel companion grew up in J-Bay, so like five other people came up and talked to him while we ate, and I got to listen in on some small-town gossiping. He told me the secrets of the random people that came to talk to us. No matter where you are in the world, everyone loves to gossip. It’s cool to be in a foreign place with someone that grew up there.


After that we hung out with one his Dad’s old friend–Garry, who lives in this cool house overlooking the ocean. He was one of the original surf legends of J-Bay and part of the original Dogtown crew in Durban. The house was beautifully decorated with nearly 100 framed Rock ‘N’ Roll albums and pictures of Garry in his surfer days.

We sat and drank tea with him and his wife, both very cool people. “Seany! Seany! How are you!!” she says to Big Bird–clearly my 34 year-old friend has known them since he was in diapers. “Oh! Lakker!” she says at one point. I love hanging out with South Africans, they have the most lakker slang.

Off to have a beer or five at Hollywood Bets with Garry and Sean. This was a totally new experience for me–to be able to gamble legally. Pretty much, this place is a small bookies that also sells beer. It’s three-quarters full of people drinking beer and smoking cigarettes. There’s televisions adorning all the wall space showing horse races. You get up and place your bets before the race start at the counter.

Clearly, I’m the youngest guy there. In fact, it’s pretty much all guys. I was apart of a special world, the world of old South African men. We get introduced to a bunch of old dudes drinking beer and betting on the horses. Several hours are spent here, while other tourists lay and sun on the beach. I don’t really care that I’m not getting a tan–you can do that anywhere. But I don’t know many people that get to hang out with a bunch of old men and bet on horses.

“Dude, you have to bet on Silicon Valley!” says Big Bird. I had lost a few bets at this point and didn’t want to gamble anymore, but since I live in Silicon Valley I know that I just have to throw down some rand on that–10 to 1 odds aren’t bad either. “50 Rands on Silicon Valley to place” I say to the girl working behind the counter. Big Bird also threw down 10.

We watched the horses leave the gate, and Silicon Valley was definitely not placing. But I bit my nails a bit anyways and watched, and then near the end he rocketed forward, and our boy Silicon Valley placed 2nd! Sweet!! I claimed my 100 rand in winnings and then drove back to the hostel.

As far as hangover days go, it was pretty not bad.


You may also like

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *