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18th Nov 12’ Near Cahama, Angola – Etosha, Mokuti, Namibia

November 20, 2012

Miles unknown

Bruce being the doer he is clears our rubbish whilst I crouch behind my designated bush to do the business, and then cover with sand. We debate whether to pay the chief some lodgings, Bruce is against it and I understand why but Adrian and I think that considering his pigs have just eaten the poo we buried and used his firewood then we should pay him something, so make a small contribution and bid our farewells to his family.

To re-join the road, we need to climb a steep bank of sand left behind by the heavy machinery used to construct the road. The bank consists of deep sand and rocks so I accelerate up mistakenly slow and stalled the engine half way up. I’m stuck and the more the rear wheel spins the deeper rut I make. Luckily, Adrian and Bruce help push whilst I rock the clutch to regain traction. There, I’m free.

The majority of Angolan roads have been perfect tarmac and so is this one until further up the road it runs out and turns in to heavily pot holed tarmac until that runs out and we’re riding in shallow sand. The sky is now black and it soon begins to rain but not heavily. My heavy bike slides from side to side as I struggle to keep it under control. The boys are used to travelling much faster than I and not carrying as much weight so in no time I’ve lost sight of them. They wait for me again and again further down the track. Adrian tells me to open the throttle over the corrugations and skirt over them. I appreciate his advice but tell them to go on ahead and will meet them as planned at the Epopa Falls campsite in Namibia. Tackling any off road section my moto has been “slowly” remembering my dad’s advice from long ago not to take any risks. Because of this I’m pleased to only report one bike drop and no accidents which I think is pretty good going for nearly 8000 miles of African terrain.

After fifty miles of leaving of a mixture of heavily corrugated compacted sand and mud, to my relief the mud turns to tarmac, but only for a short distance and approaching the border soon turns to mud with puddles that are deceivingly deep. Looking ahead, I plan what I think is the easiest route which unfortunately involves what I think is a shallow puddle. Clunk, I’m stuck again with my front and rear wheels stand motionless in two deep pot holes. The banks of the pot holes are that steep I cannot reverse or push my motorcycle out from them. I ask the help of a passing mini bus but they ignore me which for me, now indicates the separation between bklacks and whites that Bruce sympathetically warned me about. Thankfully, a passing cyclist parks his bike and tip toes across the mud to help. I’m free, but not wanting to get stuck again I shout “Obrigado” and continue.

Just before the border, I change my Angolan money to Namibian dollars. Whist doing so, Adrian and Bruce reappear from behind and we can’t figure out how I had over taken them especially considering there speed. Adrian, is caked in mud and I suspect a fall. All three of us crossed the border from Angola in to Namibia with no problems and with nothing to pay. Unaware the Namibians drive on their left as do us English, I enter Namibia riding on the right but soon corrected when a car appears head on flashing his headlights.

As soon as we enter Namibia, there is a KFC and we just have to eat to build up some strength for our long boring rides ahead.

From there, we say our good byes and talk of meeting in Victoria Falls, Botswana or Zambia in a few days’ time. The boys continue to Epopa Falls and I continue on to Etosha National Park so I can relax for a few days as I have now been on the road since Brazzaville, Rep. of Congo and certainly feeling the aches and pains from the bumpy ride here.

The lodge reception has a tall thatched roof made to look like many of the village shacks I ride passed earlier on in the day, but this one has fans gently rotating and chandeliers hanging from the thick beams. There are clean white sofas, coffee tables and books. I call my wife using Skype and express my emotions regarding this adventure, but find it difficult to explain that my experiences may have changed me mentally. To my delight, a bongo drum sounds but only few beats. The waitress is calling the awaiting people to dinner. I sit down and nosily stare at the neighbouring table. All the men are wearing clean trousers, shirts and polished shoes. Nearly all appear well fed. I sit there, thinking, why am I here? I don’t deserve to be hear after my experiences, in fact, none of us do. I’m served my set meal of pork, vegetables, mashed potatoes and gravy. I eat it clumsily and especially enjoy the vegetables as I haven’t eaten during the past few weeks. I stop half way through my meal and consider leaving. I’m just not used to this extravagant environment. I feel sick from guilt, and the rich food. What has this trip done to me I ask. I feel angry that the locals I have met along the way don’t farm their land as we westerners have been taught especially with it being so fertile. It’s my own fault, but I’ve been thrust in to the western world far too quickly. I eat my vegetables, I need them. I wrap the pork in a serviette and look for the porter or anybody needier of this than me. I don’t find anyone so ask the waitress to feed it to the animals and not to serve the remaning courses. I just don’t feel comfortable. I want to leave, I don’t like it here. I want my roadside motel or wild camp in the bush but its dark and riding through a game reserve in the dark is not permitted. Hang on, I’m being a hypocrite, I do really want to stay and enjoy these luxuries. I realise it’s the guilt!