Showing posts from December 13, 2009

The Good Folk of Lusaka

--> In Mbala just before leaving for Tanzania
I sat in traffic jam as time crawled by.  If you think Johannesburg is gridlocked with traffic jams, wait until you get to Lusaka.  I was very thirsty, hungry and was beginning to feel very hot.  Cities can be intimidating, even though I live in one of the biggest on the continent, I felt uneasy in Lusaka.  Where do I spend the night was the question that was beleaguering my mind?  I could sense eyes peering at me from the windows of the cars around me.  I could also sense the respect from the drivers, for every time I moved or tried to change lanes, even taxi drivers let me pass.  It was humbling to know that there was lots of goodness around me.  It was as though they were telling me: we know you are tired.  How enlivening!

Scorpion Always attract People in Mbala
I went around central Lusaka for a while. My purpose was either to locate a place to pitch my tent or find some cheap place to lodge.  What was immediately noticeable was that…

Appraising Scorpion ― My Love.

The Jewel on a Highway in Botswana
I fell in love, heel over head with Scorpion from the moment I laid eyes on her — she became the jewel of my heart. Yet being the scrupulous person I am, I still candidly weighed the odds of choosing her over a Kawasaka KLR 650 and a BMW GS 650. She had this appeal about her that made my heart pound. In considering anything that is going to be of a personal matter, reason and emotions must marry to provide maximum appreciation. Reason came from researching especially the stromtropper. Emotions came from the fact that every time I looked at her, she did something to me that other bikes did not — the essence of choice. I knew she was the perfect match and would carry my heart through eleven African countries. Well to spare you the details, we finally got engaged and married. I spent the rest of the time adorning her for the trip.

Come the departure day on the 4th December, she was simply ready to indulge in my fantasy. She seemed reluctant at fi…

The First Dirt Road Experience

Rachael and Team just before My departure for Lusaka
Grateful to Rachael and Team

I opened my eyes, and it was still dark outside my ‘home’.  I was awoken by a loud cock crow on its watch.  It was a beautiful sound.  He was somewhere out there claiming the right to his territory as cocks all do.  When you live in a city such as Johannesburg, these are some of the things you miss. But the one thing ‘Johanesburgers’ can take pride in are the many trees that Johannesburg is renowned for. One obvious advantage is the ‘perch’ the trees provide for birds of all description.  If the Dutch created Holland, then ‘Johanesburgers’ created the ‘forests’ of Johannesburg. They are visible on a clear day when you came to land at Oliver Tambo International Airport.  My neighbour Jennifer has had birds’ feed in two places on her compound for years. It’s an amazing and a beautiful sight to see small birds of all sizes and colour converge on her compound to feed: birds clothed in yellow, brown, red, orang…

The Warmth of the Human Heart

Sleeping Quarters
I rode from Gaborone (Botswana) to Kazungulu (Zambia) covering a distance of 1085km from a 4:00am to 2:30pm. This means that ideally I could have ridden on much further. Scorpion had won my heart without any reservations; she made me proud. As a machine, she has been flawless and consistent in her performance making my heart grow fonder each passing day I spent in her company. But I wish to speak of her on another occasion.
In my earlier post, I said that the process of crossing the border at Kazungula was a nightmare, firstly because of the numerous documents I had to complete; the many accompanying fees and taxes, which were always not clear but mandatory. At Tlakweng (Botswana) it was simple: 110 Pula for road tax. Neither did the large Zambian currency denomination make matters easier. Secondly, because of the number of officials and pseudo –officials I had to deal with — everyone vying for a piece of me. I had to go into several offices to do differen…