Sunday, April 24, 2011

TdA Stage 79. The Local Experience.

162km. Namibian Border to Witvlei.

Today was a good example of how much things have changed as we have moved south. We still see animals along the road. It is just that it is now on a game farm, rather than in the wild. Springbok, warthogs, wildabeast, and so on. We still stop to eat and rest. It is just that it is now for apple strudel and cappucino at a german bakery, rather than white toast and instant coffee.

About 20km from tonight's camp, we met raging storm. I was fortunate to be with my tough german friends (Jorg, Dennis and Horst), who helped me to survive and power through it. There was driving rain and a headwind so powerful that our pace slowed to the low teens. I've never been so close to using my granny ring on a flat road. Progress was slow and rather painful, but the experience was awesome. At first it was like 'oh shit, this is gonna hurt'. After a while, it became 'hey, this is epic, but I can totally do this'. And that felt so good!

Rather than putting up his tent, Bastiaan went for a local experience for the night and sought out accommodation with a local family. Imagine a pale white dude measuring over two metres in height approaching an elderly black woman of half his size and asking 'can I sleep with you tonight?'. Bas is most certainly the only person that I've ever met who could get away with such a request. She said yes!

He went back to her little one room house, carrying her young granddaughter on his back. The woman's husband was there, bed ridden with illness; something respiratory. I'm not sure that it was a better rest than he could have had sleeping tentless near the rest of us, but it was definitely a story that he can take home with him (and hopefully just a story!).


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