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.