So we flew on the 28th of May and landed in Cape Town the following day, after a change in Istanbul.
The flight was uneventful. On the first leg of the trip, I saw a movie. Flying with Turkish Airlines, among the usual American blockbusters, they had some more unusual movies.
I watched a Mexican movie. Unlike big blockbusters, with their stereotype characters, this movie had no baddies, no one got murdered, raped, tortured, saved the world, no gun in sight and nothing got blown up! Just 5 men, 5 strangers, all coming together to paint a yellow line on the road between two towns. 5 strangers with their own stories, griefs and secrets. It is slow, surprising and uplifting as well as a very sad event. Sad because life is unfair and stuff can happen to people who do not deserve it. Go and see it. And after, I hope you will take from it that sometimes it is worth stepping away from duty for a few moments of joy and happiness. Go and jump naked into that lake!
It is called The Thin Yellow Line. Go see it! Mexican movies, like Mexican music, can be surprisingly good. As for music, I maintain that Mexican group Mana is on the same level than the Rolling Stones. With better guitar!
So, our friend Johan came to collect us at the airport in his massive Land Rover. Soon, we arrived at the house and as he returned to work we made ourselves at home. In another words, we just crashed out and rested.
Johan, Jo Ann and the kids arrived soon enough. They had a South Africa treat for us. And no, it was not the fabulous South African wine, it was Braai! The local version of a BBQ !
We discovered Springbok meat! Oh My God! The best meat I ever ate in my life! I am a convert! It was amazing. We also tried the local delicacy Beorewors ( local beef sausage). It was quite a feast! It was great to catch up with them and discover the local life style, much more laid back than in London. Last time we saw them, Lexi was few months old and they were about to leave the UK. 18 months later, another baby girl has arrived. Remarkably well behave toddler and baby!
The next day, Johan worked from home so he could drive us to the shipping company headquarters. We found the bikes on a pallet each, wrapped in bubble wrap and plastic.
We had to reconnect the batteries, fit again the top box, fix the chains that had been left way too tight by the mechanic who changed the chains and sprockets… there was a lot of faff around but after a couple of hours, we were ready to go.
Less than 2 miles from the shippers, I ran out of fuel on the motorway. Not the best place to breakdown! Luckily, I managed to stop on the emergency lane, and more lucky yet, Alistair noticed.
Obviously, the shippers in the UK drained my fuel a bit too much! The bikes are supposed to be on reserve, not empty of fuel! Thanks to the fuel bottle in the CRF rack, Alistair go a bit of his fuel in the container and generously shared it with me. It was just enough to make it to a petrol station.
With no other problems, we rode the 20 kms back to Johan’s house.
We then repacked everything.
In the evening, Johan got another local feast on the go: Potjie ( pronounced “poee-kee”). While it simmered for few hours, I offered my bike to Johan for a little spin, while we seeped beer with Alistair and Jo Ann! We have such a hard life!
After another great evening in great company, it was time for bed.
Thursday 31st May – Paternoster – 180 kms
The next day, we woke up to a lot of rain! Typical. They are supposed to have drought down here, yet, when we turn up, it rains! Would you believe the only time we crossed Death Valley in the US…. yes, you can guess, it rained too!
Anyway, we waited a bit and by late morning, we made our goodbye and left. It stopped raining, but instead, we had much worse. A horrendous wind, with gusts so strong, I felt my head would be detached from my body and my helmet was inserting itself into my jaw!
Our initial plan was to ride to a coastal town called Lambert’s Bay, about 250 kms away. An easy ride under normal circumstances. After 180 kms however, we ended up cold and exhausted in the small resort of Paternoster, where every other house is a hotel or guest house! All painted white! This being winter, it was rather dead. We found a place open and took a rather amazing room with sea view!
After a light breakfast and skipping lunch, we found the local shop where we bought some amazing local fish and chips, for an early dinner!
So, tomorrow, I am hoping the wind will calm down and that we can make some progress, riding north toward Namibia.