Facts and Figures
Oct 7th - Oct 25th 2009
South Africa Cont.
07/10/2009 - Ready to go into town to pick up our tickets for BA today, but things are going against us. I went out to start the car only to find that the battery is as flat as a pancake. I had put the headlights on yesterday while we were out in a thunderstorm and had forgotten to turn them off when we got back in bright sunshine!!! After searching the garage for a charger without success I called Roly to see if he had one at work … he didn't seem very happy but said he would bring one back if he could find one. That’s today gone to pot.
Roly managed to get a charger so we found an extension and plugged it in .. Nothing! Either the charger is not working or it’s the extension, Roly reckons the charger is good and it can’t be the cable as it was used yesterday. Checked the extension and found all the contacts burned out so I took the battery off and brought it in to plug in at the garage, still nothing, the charger is buggered too. Roly is off to Jo’burg tomorrow so he can’t arrange anything now, we will have to get a local mechanic to give us a jump tomorrow.
08/10/2009 - We managed to catch the mechanic from down the road and got the car jump started for a cost of R100. After running the car for a while we went into town to pick up the tickets. It’s good to finally have a date for leaving and the tickets in hand, now we just need to see the bike going in the container.
09-11/10/2009 - Lazy weekend watching the Presidents Cup (Golf) on TV with the occasional trip out for beer and food.
12/10/2009 - We were hoping to move the bike from Roly’s work today to the shipping agents warehouse but no call by lunchtime (Roly had said it wasn't a good idea for us to phone as there is a bit of office politics going on at the moment). As the bike isn't being moved today we went into the Tax Office in Cape Town to see if we have any more luck than previous attempts at getting the VAT back on goods we have bought since we got into South Africa. It turns out that we shouldn't have been refused our previous claims at the Swaziland and Botswana borders. We can still make a claim but not as easy, we now have to make the claim from South America by post, not holding out much hope of being successful.
13/10/2009 - Happy birthday Lorraine. Still no call to move the bike. Lazy day again, just waiting for things to start moving. Roly got back from Jo’burg today and went straight out again. We go out for dinner for Lorraine's birthday tonight and get back just after Roly who isn't very happy. Apparently someone has caused damage at his house in Langebaan and we are being accused of leaving the house at St Francis in a mess, we are not having any of that so we protest at the accusations, then Roly’s attitude changes and he starts to agree with us saying he knows from experience that we wouldn’t leave a mess or cause damage. Strange!!!!!
14/10/2009 - Another nothing day today, tidying up bits and pieces ready for the off. Received an email from Anne Marie and Miranda (Drakensberg Backpackers) wishing Lorraine happy b/day. They have finished up in Kamberg and have moved back to the U.S. Maybe we will get to meet up again. Roly’s mate Dan turns up and they both go out around 17:00 coming back a few hours later less sober than when they went out. Dan takes the dog for a walk and leaves the gate open when he gets back, which we thought was to let in the “dancing girls” that Roly said were coming around and which we had to vacate to our room for. 20 minutes later we here the car leaving the garage, maybe they have to pick the trade up themselves! Another 10 minutes and we hear shouting from outside, someone has brought the dog back after he escaped due to someone, NOT US, leaving the gate open. With the dog safely back in the house and no sign of them two, we can’t find the remote to close the gate, so I send Roly a text telling him the dog is in the house (in case he attacks the “visitors”) and that the gate is still open. Not long after, they return and the shouting starts, again with the accusations of damage and leaving a mess, and that we were abusing him and his house (excuse me but you insisted we stay knowing our departure dates). We were called all the names under the sun and told to get the *!*! out of his house. I thought there was going to be punches. 22:30 we are packing our stuff. 22:45 we are on the street waiting for a taxi. At least when I’ve had too much booze I just crash out!!!
15/10/2009 - 00:30 we eventually find a guest house that is open and has a room available, on the top floor. When your lucks not in, it’s not in, start humping all the gear up 3 flights and along corridors!
Up at the sparrows fart and start trying to find an alternative to get the bike shifted, it has to be at the warehouse today and I don't think we can rely on Roly. After a few phone calls to various contacts without success, Geoff Rusell from the BMW club comes through and puts us in touch with Steve Ressel who can shift the bike immediately and at a very reasonable rate.
12:00 we are picked up by Steve and on our way to pick the bike up. We gave Steve a bit of background as to what had happened to make us call him, just in case Roly was there and things turned nasty. Luckily enough he wasn't. We went straight into the warehouse to see how we could get the bike onto Steve’s trailer and I nearly had a heart attack, right where the bike was supposed to be was a big pile of nothing, I asked one of the guys in the warehouse if he knew where it was and he just shrugged his shoulders. Upstairs to the office and ready for a fight, but before I could ask I was told it was on a trailer in another shed .. Phew!!!!
The bike is moved onto Steve’s trailer easy enough and we are finished and done with Roly.
With the bike now at the shipping agents warehouse we just have to hurry up and wait again. Customs inspection tomorrow.
16/10/2009 - For some reason we weren’t up very early this morning, only just managed to make the morning!
Customs inspection is at 15:00 but we arrived at 14:30 cos’ we like waiting. As for the inspection, the guy looked in the crate, said “Yep it’s a motorbike, seal it up” and that was it. Watched the crate being loaded into the container and headed back to the guest house.
Dennis, a friend of ours from home had arranged accommodation for us with his sister, Brenda, and her husband Roy, who lives in CT and would be willing to put us up until our flight out.
17-25/10/2009 - Packed up and moving again. Roy wouldn't let us get a taxi to their place and came to pick us up.
18/10/2009 - Went out for a Braai to one of Roy and Brenda's friends. A good night was had.
19/10/2009 - Another quiet day, wandered into town for a look around.
20/10/2009 - Ship sailed today with the bike. The weather is starting to get HOT.
21/10/2009 - Call from the shipping agents, paperwork will be ready for collection on Friday.
22/10/2009 - Gave Roy a hand clearing up in the garden, then the fridge!!
23/10/2009 - Paperwork collection day and a visit to the Tax Man.
24/10/2009 - Packing up again, hoping we are not over our weight limit for the flight.
25/10/2009 - The day has finally come. Nigel, Roy’s son in law, is picking us up and taking us to the airport. The last week or so with Roy, Brenda and all the family has been great, thanks very much everyone for your hospitality. A quick 20 minute drive sees us at the airport for 08:00 and our 10:30 flight.
Time to say goodbye to Africa and move on to territories unknown and new experiences.
Africa has been a challenge for us, the language difficulties, the cultural differences, learning to ride on road surfaces other than tarmac!
If we had listened to what is reported about Africa on the news and the comments from all the “well informed” people who have never been here, we would never have come.
Luckily for us we didn't.
Africa is a diverse continent, different cultures and religions, stunning scenery, vast wide open spaces, deserts, wetlands and mountains. We have enjoyed every minute, even the times we thought we were going to quit the trip, Africa has shown us a strength we didn't know we had.
We have seen some great sights, travelled some good roads, and some not so good roads, but most of all, the best part of Africa has been the people. Their eagerness to help, their inquisitiveness.
The tour guide at Djenne who took us to his home and invited us to share his lunch, the coffee stall guy in Bamako who didn't charge us because we had to share a glass of coffee because he had run out of glasses, all the kids and adults who surrounded us each time we pulled up at a village asking questions, offering help with directions, without being asked, whether we needed it or not, and just being so pleased to see us. The two guys who chased us on their motorbike in Benin, just for a photo because they hadn't seen such a big bike and white people. And many other occasions, some mentioned in the site and some not, that we have experienced.
Our only regret, we didn't ride all the way.
With the information to hand at the time the safest option was to ship. Missing Nigeria, Cameroon, Congo, DRC and Angola is a regret. Maybe another day!
Africa isn't what you see on the TV, there are troubles and there are trouble makers, but for the most part, outside of the governments, the people are just getting on with their lives as best they can.
You have to do it to experience it.