If you are planning a road trip down to Grahamstown this season – you need to see this list. Our reporter, Shannon Frost, has compiled the top 10 things you can’t do in this city…and it might surprise you.
Your imagination is the key when planning your long days in Grahamstown. After time you begin to bump into everybody you know, notice all the streets are connected, and there are limited tourist attractions to keep you amused. Yes – this sleepy hollow suffers from the classic small town syndrome.
Here are our top 10 things you will never be able to do in Grahamstown.
1. Feel beach sand between your toes
Do not worry about mom yelling at you for walking sand into the house because in reality, the nearest beach is just over 60km away. Sun kissed skin, salty hair and an ocean view will have to wait until you and your friends can save up enough money for petrol and take time away from your studies. The ocean is always there when you need that G’town escape and the best part is – you will never be short of friends to road trip there with you.
2. You will never find green paint the day before St Paddies
Grahamstown is home to Rhodes University, which is home to roughly 7000 students, which inevitably leads to binge drinking and bad decisions at one point or another. Celebrating Saint Patrick’s Day is one of the many “traditions” that Rhodents carry on year after year with the intention of partying hard, no matter what day of the week it is. Green paint, Guinness, and lots of money being spent ensures a good time at The Rat and Parrot on this Irish holiday.
3. You will never eat a Big Mac
Overwhelming sighs can be heard and hearts break everywhere when the fast foodies of Grahamstown discover that this town is without the beloved fast food outlet -McDonalds. There is just something about a Quarter Pounder with cheese that simply hits the spot better than any Steers or Spur burger can. Maybe it is the ritual of journeying into the yellow walls after a night out or maybe it is the relatively cheap, artificial flavours that keep consumers flocking to their stores. Whatever the case, the absence of McDonalds leaves many unhappy, grumpy and just a little bit healthier.
4. You will never ride an escalator
When you were a kid; hopping onto an escalator was one of the most enthralling adventures of your day. Well the toddlers of G’town have to learn how to walk up stairs early on in life, since there are no moving staircases in any of our buildings. Whilst the big city slickers are gliding together in one smooth motion, the people of Grahamstown are forced to do it the old-fashioned way.
5. You will never watch your loved ones board a plane
Grahamstown is seriously lacking in the air travel department. With the nearest airport situated in Port Elizabeth, the bill for the Bluden shuttle service has become a semester expense. Grahamstown residents have to get accustomed to the two-hour travel time that comes with living in this remote part of South Africa. And if leaving your mother, brother, friend or lover for any amount of time is not hard enough; the experience is worsened with the stress that comes with leaving on time to arrive on time to catch a plane that might be delayed.
6. You will never build a snowman
Building a snowman takes a lot of carrots, time, practice and…snow. The Grahamstown winters do get bitterly cold but only the residents of the gorgeous Hogsback Mountains get to make snow angels in this part of the world. An influx of students travel there with their beanies and boots to try capture and experience this frosty white magical period between June and August.
7. You will never wander the aisles of Woolies food
But is this not a blessing in disguise? After buying that textbook for economics, a six-pack for pre-drinks, and that coffee at Under The Arch – who really has money for the lavish luxuries of the expensive speciality teas and mini frosted doughnuts from Woolworths. With the nearest Woolies food market being a 50min drive to Port Alfred, the Grahamstown locals would definitely disagree
8. You will never eat popcorn inside a cinema
Your Saturday night plans have to start getting creative since the closing of Cinema Zone. Locals can no longer share their butter popcorn or red slush puppies in front of a warm theatre screen and now have to wait weeks in agony for that new Di Caprio movie to be released on DVD
9. You will never Instagram your frozen yogurt
Without Wakaberry, Smooch or Bella & Boo, the hipsters of Grahamstown are deprived of using the popular froyo hashtag. Unfortunately, your Instagram feed will never consist of you and your best friend swirling cherry frozen yoghurt or eating chocolate toppings with a candy blue coloured spoon in Grahamstown.
There may be hope for this one though, as Embizweni recently uncovered that a Wakaberry may be on its way! Read about it here.
- You will never be able to find parking
Students miss lectures because of it, resident’s waste petrol because of it and pedestrians feel superior because of it. Walking is the best mode of transport in this town if you want to get somewhere on time. The lack of parking spaces on the streets will leave you angry, competitive and late which is why you have to master the art of bumming lifts from your friends.
So pack your bags, enjoy your drive, and welcome to Grahamstown.
Special thanks to Daniela Barletta.