Today we had the BEST experience of the trip. I was walking in front when Trevor said “Ria – stop: Bear”. And there she was, 25m away between the trees. staring us down while her 2 cubs ran to the 2 closest trees, each scrambling up a different tree. Mom then went to the first tree and the cub climbed down. Both of them ran to the second tree and the first cub scrambled up to join its sibling. Mama Bear got up on her hind legs and stood next to the tree looking at us. It was the first time I saw an adult bear standing and it was spectacular. We were so in the moment that grabbing phones for photos didnt cross our minds.
I thought to explain to you how we determine whether something is reasonably priced or not. I multiply the dollar price by 15 (to get it into Rands) and then divide it by 2. If that price would have been reasonable in SA then we are happy to pay that. So essentially we find that you pay double what you would pay in SA. Take a hamburger in a restaurant. At $12 I would say 12*15 is R180. Half that – would I think R90 is reasonable in SA? Yes. So $12 is reasonable here. Would it have been $18 (sometimes it is) it will be comparable to a R135 SA hamburger…a bit pricey.
Then I can tell you about price variations which will surprise you. The lowest I have paid for 2min noodles (or Ramen noodles as it is known here) is 18c, the highest $1.39. And (when we still had coffee on the trail) one rip-off hikers hostel charged 50c (that is R7.50) for ONE sachet of sugar! Another hikers hostel charged 25c for TEN of those sachets!
Now the Waysides I promised to explain to you tonight: There is a road called Skyline Drive snaking through the Shenandoah Valley and Waysides are placed along the road. Here is one view of the road:
I was told we were going to come across loads of them but the trail crossed close by only 2 (and 1 was closed for renovations).
A Wayside looks like a campstore and sells curios (like Shenandoah Valley and Dont Make A Good Bear Goes Bad t-shirts), snacks and have a take away counter (called the Deli at the General Dealer from week or two ago) selling basics like toasted sarmies, hamburgers, coffee and the famous Blackberry milkshake. I have heard so much about the milkshakes that I had to have one, even if it was 10am and cost $5. Well it was a milkshake, and it was purple. I have now tasted it and wouldnt need another.
Finally, as we are talking about money, I will tell you how different Trevor and I work with cash (and frustrate the living daylights out of each other). We use the wallet which is easiest accessible, sometimes his, sometimes mine. When I have to pay for example $2.09 for a cooldrink I will always give 10c in coins if I have it. Trevor will NEVER pay with coins. He will pay with notes and get 91c change. Later he will buy another one and again pay with notes and get 91c change. And next time again! So we have wallets full of coins we carry up and down the mountains. Now you all felt he should get more cheese, and that a little detour to get a cold drink is okay, but you are NOT going to side with him on this one are you????