Apr 13, 2012

Halo (Never throw food away)

So the blog is a few days behind will catch up today and tomorrow. Having the long forgotten rest day.

Woke up at camp cane with slugs attacking my tent. (next few camps still found pieces of slug squashed onto the tent that i missed that morning). Crazy, must love the funky orange colour. Realised the random and perfectly hidden camp spot was in fact in the middle of a 'distillery', good thing no one needed some raw sugar cane booze. Day started off pretty well with the 40/50km to the Old Farmhouse campsite flashing by. Oh did i mention i had one handaz for breakfast and didn't feel mich like the two green mangos so left them there. Figured would have a nice late breakfast after a hot shower. Shower! Some things you only truly appreciate once it's gone, not much of a person for warm showers but was seriously looking forward to being clean and just taking a day off.

Got to the campsite, after a steep climb, wow. Spectacular site, if you are ever in the area stop there (about 55km from Iringa). Great chalets, perfect grass, and i could smell food. Time to get ready for that shower.

Unfortunately as it turned out they closed the kitchen for easter, so i could still camp out but no food. No good. So turned around after one more longing look at the ablusion block and decided to just cruize till i feel like stopping. But first that nasty climb, no ways i'm heading down that thing just to climb the same hill on the tar again. So took a bearing and headed to the age old advice, head west young man.

Looped around an abandoned farmhouse and some newborn lambs (less abandoned). Realised i'm climbing again and headed off towards where i could see cars moving. Had some interesting bundu moments through thick grass and scrub, luckily i'm quite heavy so the tank made it through and presumably there are no holes/ditches or i just missed all of them.

Made it to the tarmac and started searching for a village for some food. First one no luck. Second one same. By now getting to point where i'm scouting for things smaller and slower than me. Finally a village where i found some old handaz. After a day, similar to pows they transmorgrify into chinese fighting handaz.
Still much better than nothing and bought the entire stock,4. On a sunday it seems as if africa dies. Nothing open at smaller places and few people to be seen. Or maybe because it was easter. Through the next bigger village was't that hungry yet and pushed on, which as it turned out was not the brightest move yet.

One very steep downhill later (first time i could let go, no ditches or holes to watch out for with the panniers, well no mayor ones). At around 80km/h my bike starts to build up a very peculiar speed wobble, very not kosher with a lot of weight behind you. So nervously hit the brakes and sat up. ( figured it could have been the start of the crack in the panniers later so weight shifts around, in any case had some scary moments where i thought the bike might buck me off). The same thing started to happen when i ride without holding on to the handlebar, had some moments trying to figure out a workaround. Best one is to weave the bike which looks and feels stupid, but helps to relieve some of the pressure build up on your hands and some other tender spots.

Hit Sao hill, a massive forest area with swamps on the lower ground. Was quite glad that i'm on tarmac especially when the next storm hit, would have been very interesting riding/pushing through those swamps if i tried back roads. Riding was mostly sharp rolling hills the whole day.

So instead of the normal village every 5km there was nothing but forest and swamp. So once again i was hungry. At least enough water, although the taste left much to be desired. After about 40km some monkeys looked tempting, wonder how the bike can climb a tree. Desperately longing for those green mangos.

Luckily pulled into Njoyoro (James Corner) soon after. Realised i'm runnning low on funds so had to exchange, and banks closed. Makambako might be option but if i dont find something there the next few days are in the mountains so have to try now.
Found a truck driver willing to exchange, figured $10 would see me to Mbamba where i could make new plan (it did, although barely). Not bad though works out to R40 day including two nights accommodation.
The driver however didn't want my 2006 $ series said the money is bad (some zim aftershock or is usa cancelling some of their notes). After unsuccesfully trying to negotiate around it had to settle for 1:1400 for the 2009 $5 and 1:1000 for the 2006 one (official rate somewhere close to 1:1500). Quite funny in hindsight.

The next 60km to Makambako was something else. Really hope that the ION camera videos and photos turn out ok, at times a snorkel, flippers and wetsuit would have been much more appropriate that my lycra and waterproof suit. Although not quite as bad as someone pouring a bucket over you, more similar to a bucket through a sieve. In any case it was pouring. Realised once more that goretex is much better at keeping water in that out. Waterproof clothes work in a similar fashion. At least is wasn't too cold, but the road/river i was swimming up got seriously interesting with approaching trucks/traffic drenching me. Just keep swimming...

After about 3hours of this torrential downpour it slacked off just as i arrived in Makambako. Another classic roadrace with some locals, everyone must beat the mzungu, even if it is only for 100m before i go past them again. Pole pole.
This one rasta started racing me, with a passenger on his panniers, had a good laugh, but then he started making some serious speed on the slight downhill 45+ which was very impressive. (try and imagine someone pedalling at a mad rpm on a singlespeed with his passenger cheering bith of us on , or maybe shouting for his partner to slow down? ). After i passed them one of my dowls fell off so stopped to repair. They caught up to me and gave me some fruit, realised that might have been the reason for the first race ;). The people here keep on to seriously amaze me. If i eat at a local place, it soon fills up and everyone would listen to me and a translator (journey why how from where eish pole asana etc). Then when leaving almost without fail the more fluent english speaker would stop me (and being from sa my first thoughts are oh no he's going to ask me for money). Very rare (has happened once), mostly they want a contact nr or email just to keep in touch, and some of them have been making a lot of effort.

So the touring has been fun and the people amazing so far. At Makambako felt sorry for myself and searched for a dry spot, found quite good hotel for R50 although this put serious dent in my budget would worry about it later.

Had quite an entertaining moment trying to explain to them that the tv is very loud and i'm tired, could they please turn it down? After a while someone finally understood and came to help turn on my tv in the room. Must learn more swahili;)


  1. Young man i am getting fit...in the genes. Going cycling this morning again and managed 2 sessions this week with the office being open.
    Thought i taught you never throw food away....
    Oom Carel cannot wait to get hold of your video clips, sounds scary amazing stunning and more than beautiful. Hope you have a blessed day.

    1. Ek gaan nou my beste Ingels probeer ter will van oorlewing en die anner wat nie my huis tong verstaan nie.

      It seems like one hell of a journey, would be wonder full if I could have made it as well. At least it would be the only way to turn me into a Rasta. You are doing an excellent job with the fundraising, and when times are tough, just think of all the smiling faces. I wish I could turn into a student once more, just to enjoy life to the fullest.

      Keep well, and remember we are watching you....

  2. haha - the joys. You are somewhere in Mozam now, without any signal, not to say internet. I enjoy reading your blogs. makes me smile for a while. What seems big or sometimes tedious here suddenly becomes a blue spec in the universe. Looking forward to hearing something about pows and walky-talkies in Mozam.