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19-20 Mar 2005: Port Elizabeth, South Africa

Claiming to have the best climate and more sunshine than any other coastal resort in South Africa, Port Elizabeth is a popular holiday destination with beautiful coastline and long sandy beaches. The warmth of its people has earned the well deserved reputation as “The Friendly City”.

Commonly acknowledged as Africa’s water sport capital, this “Windy City” boasted 40 km of unspoilt, golden beaches, with a perfect combination of warm water and sunny skies. I arrived at Port Elizabeth in the late morning and stayed at Holiday Inn Garden Court, PE. The hotel overlooks the Indian Ocean and is just a stone throw from the magnificent Kings Beach.

The Boardwalk

 Port Elizabeth is a small but lively city. One of its central of attractions is The Boardwalk. This beach front complex is owned by the same company who built the Sun City in Jo’burg.

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 In the central of the Boardwalk, there is a man-made lake area with an oriental village. With plenty of time on hand, I had lunch (and my ice-cream desert!) and spent the afternoon exploring the complex. It was here I bought Linda Goodman’s astrology best-seller, Sun Signs.

 

 

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Armed with my walkman and camera, I went for a jog along the King’s Beach in the evening. The weather was so cool and windy that it quickly relaxed the tensed mind… 

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Half-Ironman South Africa Triathlon

On Sunday, I was curious to see a larger-than-usual crowd at the beach front. The local told me that Port Elizabeth is holding the Half-Ironman South Africa Triathlon today.  The race involved a 3.8 km swim, followed by a 180 km bike ride and ending with a 42.2 km run. The fastest participant takes more than 9 hours to complete the full race!

This is the first Ironman race I had ever seen on live. The beaches were filled with screams and cheers from the onlooker and tourists, as the athletes pushed themselves to the edge of human tolerance. At the end of the day, I had a good tan and simply enjoyed it by soaking myself among these high-spirited crowds.

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