Thursday, 29 September 2011

Cheetah vs BMW


          Riding the back roads of Namibia I woke a cheetah from its spot in the shade. I was going about 60MPH when he took off in front of me. Incredibly fast, it stayed ahead of the bike before taking to the fields. If it wanted to give chase and have me for lunch I would have had a problem, or learned really quickly just how well I can handle the bike on gravel roads.

          Not long after chasing the cheetah, the back of the bike was kicking about more than usual.  I soon discovered my next problem for the day. A flat tire  .. ugh .. in 95 degrees of sun! Shade would only come with sunset, so I found my John Deer hat and got to work. An hour later I was HOT, tired, and wishing I had a bigger bicycle pump. I was much in need of a cold beer, but proud that I could still fix a flat when stuck in the desert with vultures circling wanting me for lunch.
         I took a game drive yesterday to get better aquainted with my souroundings after the cheetah dash.  Unfortunatey my small pocket camera only works well enough if the animals come to me. So most pictures are of poor quality. Sorry.

         Namibia is still very much a German colony and I feel the real Africa is back in the Congo. It is relaxing; there is no shortage of apple pie, meat and potatoes, but I will head towards  Zambia and Malawi in the next few days. I'll leave the tourists, lodges, and game parks for mace,( starch / protein called food .. ugh) warm beer, bucket showers, and "hotels " that double as brothels.

        About 50,000 Himba people live in nomadic villiages up  in northern Namibia and Angola. They are much like the Herero people with the obvious exception of the hair and skin colored with ochre. Women cover themselves with a mixture of ochre, butter, herbs, and a fragrance that leave their skin a burnt orange. It's also used in their hair. The mixture is put on daily so they never wash themselves, or have a need for sun screen or deodorant. Most choose to stick to tradition and do not attend school, or particapate in western ways. I found a Herero man to translate.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Windhoek, Namibia

       The BMW Safari is over! Never really found out what happened, but it was somewhere unknown for the past two weeks. My guess is it missed its connection at an airport somewhere. I broke the front steering bearing, so I will hang out in Windhoek, Namibia until parts come next week.
       I met a great woman who has a dog that we take on hikes most days. This is  helping me stay in shape and learn some local culture.
       Now that I am further south, I have stopped taking malaria pills. The pills caused some very odd dreams, very vivid,, and sometimes bringing back memories I long forgot about 30 years ago.  Some places it's impossible not to be covered in bites.
       I will probably stay in Namibia for the next few weeks before heading east.

Kids will wave you down looking for a ride. I never give rides, usually
they are just walking to their village a few miles away.

The Chinese are here in BIG way building roads through the jungle.
It will create a big change in the next five years.

In the Congo, bootleg gas is smuggled in from Nigeria cheap and sold at
roadside stops like this.

Thursday, 8 September 2011


What makes my journey so amazing, are the great people I continue to meet.
While working out details to move on from the Congo, I stayed at the same hotel as the non- resident Congolese football (soccer) team.  The Muslim players insisted we all celebrate the end of Ramada with a lot of eating, some dancing, and even some beer... The season is over for them and most now have new contracts for:  Dubai, the UK, Germany, Viet Nam, etc. The Nigerian player and I used our time to learn as much French as we could from the guys in the time we had.

Congo football team (soccer) taking me to the airport.

Everyday, I took a short walk for coffee and an omelet.  There, I visited with Momma.. . Her one burner camp stove heated my water for coffee, while she prepared the eggs and chatted. It's such a simple way to live, sitting on a plank having breakfast with the neighbours. Shop owners like this provide the meeting place for the neighbours who come and visit.

"Bonjour momma"
Friendly greeting everyday for a coffee and a omelet in a beget

I flew to Namibia, shipping my bike by air. Sadly I now have no idea where the bike is ... I feel pretty sure it left the Congo, but think it may not have made it past Angola.

My travels thru French Africa are over for now, So I may see a movie while
looking for the bike !
 It's a cash economy, so don't even ask about insurance! After paying for insurance in West Africa and finding out several countries later that it was bogus, wisdom said no more of that.
On the safari!!  And looking for a BMW GS800. needs cleaning, welding, tires, brakes, rim's, service, fuel and some minor body work.