Wednesday, November 21, 2007


For those of you that have been to Africa or are out here now will know exactly what those three letters stand for-This Is Africa!! And for my first 24 hours in Tanzania it sure was a moment of T.I.A.

They are about all my clothes as well!!

Firstly Malawi was slow, laid back and easy, I swam in Lake Malawi, stayed high in the mountains with views afar and also grazed my knee on the beech playing volleyball which became infected! It was a pleasant 10 days, oh besides my speedo spline drive stripping and fuel pump blowing things went well. I was in the middle of now where of course and the stead came to a stop, hmm not out of fuel, not today, not here, not now I thought, infected knee, sweltering temperatures and I had to put my mechanic's cap on under the relief of a baobab trees shade. The locals started to gather and one asked if I needed a professional, maybe, I thought but if he can make a motorcycle mechanic appear out here he is in the wrong business, he should be in magic!! First thing I checked was the fuel pump and what do you know it was stuffed, as this is a known problem with Africa Twins I have been carrying a spare fuel pump from London and the look on the crowds face when I pulled from my pannier a new item was priceless, I think they thought I knew magic!! 15 minutes later I was on my way.

Then Tanzania-I was stamped out of Malawi and came to no mans land between the two border posts, I had the equivalent of 8 Aussie dollars left of Malawian Kwacha made up of 5 notes, I thought I would change now with the touts as they always give a little better rate. I figured out they needed to give me around 8000 Tanzanian schillings to be a good rate, I pulled over and they came running from all direction never anywhere had I seen them so eager, in the space of a few seconds I was surrounded with locals waving money wanting to change with me, it was crazy, I told them all to back off and relax, slow down a bit. They did not listen, one man said he would give me 10 000 for my cash, huh I thought whats the catch, great I thought as he handed me the single 10 000 shilling note, I handed him my 5 notes, then the yelling intensified, between all the men and my attention was drawn to my rear of a man pulling at my arm, he was saying he gave me to much, to bloody right he did I thought that's his fault, then back to my front the man wanted his money back, as he gave mine back to me, with this mob I thought it was a good idea to cooperate, at this instant everyone seem to back off and leave except a few, whats going on I thought?? then it occurred to me, i checked my cash I was one note short, mongrels-they had scammed me and I fell for it, taking my money then only giving half it back, immediately I figured it was 4 Aussie worth but I had had enough and when your patience wears thin on this continent you tend to let loose, the culprits had already mingled through the traffic of people so the ones left behind heard my spiel, they were all in on it anyway, I proceeded to say "well you know what it does not matter I am rich anyway, I don't care(of course I did not about the money just the fact) and you are all poor and your hungry and to top it off your all ugly!" If you have been in Africa you would understand, I started the bike and left in a roar. 14 months in Africa and scammed now!!
Then the lady at customs tried to make my wait as long as possible, the more rude she became the more pleasant I became, eventually I was in Tanzania with a bad feeling already.
African playground.
Common sight on the road.
And this just tops it all off, I made it to a town called Mbeya and my chain is playing up so this was far enough and it was a long exhausting day, with a bad vibe about the place I thought to get a hotel for the night and besides it was only 4 dollars and safe I was told. I had all my stuff down the end of the room away front he window and when I went to bed I thought to keep the window open slightly for the pleasant breeze, I eventually fell to sleep after a wrestles beginning tangled in the mozzi net. I woke with a noise that sounded very close, I rolled over and saw a stick with a hook on the end of it been pulled back through my window, what the hell is this?? Dazed I heard movement write there and then a door open from outside and a persons footsteps running away with somebody yelling, is this what I think it is, I sprung up donned some clothes and raced outside, they had him down boxed in a corner, it was hard to see as it was pitch black but by now there were about a dozen people standing about and a few of them were clubbing a man over the head with huge pieces of wood-i was asleep a few minutes ago!! He had been trying to steal something from my room, then something bizarre happened and how I don't know, this lifeless groaning figure who had just been beaten manged to jump up, dodge everyone, climb a small wall onto a roof and escape! I raced back to my room and went through everything, seemed to be all there, so I thought.

The long tool I saw coming through my window!
Morning came and I was glad to get outta this hell hole, outside my room they found a few weapons this guy had in a small bag that he must have dropped. It was at my next camp I discovered my mobile phone was gone, he did get something, I could not believe it, twice in just over 12 hours I had been robbed, get me outta Tanzania-I'd just arrived.

Friday, November 02, 2007

White beaches and wheel bearings

It was a teary farewell to Amy at the Johanessburg International Airport and as I walked out to my bike I suddenly felt alone and for what was ahead of me seemed daunting, as I pulled my helmet on I said to the trusty steed you look after me and I will look after you! I hit the starter and it roared into life with its deep thump with a little rev to clear its throat the local workers standing nearby gave there approval of the sound, I rode over to them and stated "I am riding to Australia via Russia", the look of dibelief is what I received and one man then said "I hope you are strong" I rode away thinking I sure bloody hope so!

Day 1 and the clouds rolled in!

As I headed west as I imagined Amy heading west over head also but the difference been Amy was above the storm clouds that I was riding under, I got soaked, day one of the next leg-what a start. Eventually I left the comforts of South Africa and crossed the border into Mozamique where it was evident I was back in Africa, hooray, but Mozambique has been a nice transition for what is to come.

When leaving London over 13 months ago I wondered when the first stories or adventure would present itself, does it just happen, do you see it coming, do you have to look for it, well it does come along in many shapes and forms from flat tyres in strange places to guns and corupt police, and this time leaving South Africa I wondered the same thing. Well it did not take long for something that was not ideal to occur, I have been carrying two spare tyres waiting for my current fitted ones to wear down to the canvas, one morning I set of on a sandy road and after traveling about 12 k's I looked around to see if my tyres where still there and the front was gone, I quickly turned around and raced back to hopefully find it on the side of the road, with thoughts of somebody already finding it and long gone, you have to reember this is Africa and there are alot of people walking along the roadside. I could not see it anywhere, it was not the fact that it was a huge amount of money but more the point that I needed this tyre to replace my already balled one and there been no such tyres in Mozambique. Eventually I came across two men that I remembered seeing walking the same direction I had been going earlier, one spoke broken english, I asked if when I went passed did I have two tyres or one on the back, they deffinatley said two, which was good and bad, good becuase now it was within a range of six k's but bad because it ment I had just come passed it getting to this point and did not see it. So I told my new friend to jump on the back and he can help question every local we passed to find the white mans missing tyre. We rode slowly scanning the bushes, still no luck and even asking more people walking the track, still nothing, I was annoyed with myself as I did not strap it on properly. But then we rounded a corner and there it was in the bushes on the right, a wave of releif washed over me as my helper started to thank god himself! So yes things just do happen when you least expect it.

The sand was deep and my tires balled
Mozambique has bueatiful white beaches and crystal clear waters, I rode up the coast staying in a few nice places on the way, stayed in Tofo with Dan and Danni, friends from South Africa and chilled out by the beach, from there I beached hoped to the north of Mozambique bush camping along the way.

Ilha de Mozambique
The road took me to Nacala in the north and after covering 3500 k's since leaving SA it was time to don the new tyres, which bought about the discovery of a destroyed wheel bearing, well the steed has done over 130 000 k's, 50 000 this trip, not to bad at all. With a grim out look that I may be stuck here in paradise for a few more days waiting for a part to be sent in I thought to try my luck in town and of course you would not beleive it, I found a bearing of the right size, not a Honda bearing for an Africa Twin of course but it will do the job. This continent of Africa never ceases to amaze.

Not the Hilton but cheaper thats forsure!

Salesman selling their goods to the bus passengers.

So from here it is a little more north then west to Malawi, the time line is looking good as not to hit Russia to early next year, due to the cold plus after a little research things may be looking up on the problem with entering China with your own vehicle, I have found some people recently acheiveng the impossible with the help of a chinese fixer, thats still awhile away of course.