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Old 04-08-2009, 03:37 AM   #66
metaljockey OP
Dodgy SOB
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Joined: Jun 2005
Location: Eastern Cape, South Africa
Oddometer: 279

The next morning it is a quick wash and stock up on drinking water, before we head out.

And right away the dust brings these tstetse bastards swarming.

This time I get a handle on them though. It appears that their top speed is about 40km/h, go at 45km/h and you loose them. I get some enjoyment picturing them going apeshit in the dust and finding nothing.

We go through riverbed after riverbed, all leading into the Lugenda.

Flotation like this is just a thing of beauty.

We stop for some playtime.

Today our plans change. We did some calculations and figured out that there is no way we can make it, time wise, on our originally planned route. We wanted to stick to the Lugenda to where it flows into the Rovuma and then head to the coast.

We can still make it but there is no way weíll get back to Malawi in time. So we turn away from the river and start heading south. Again our GPSís have nothing to show, but where you see a string of villages all in a line, you know there must be a track. As soon as we head away from the river, we hit some exceptionally lekker roads. Just really good riding.

We donít get many opportunities to cool off, so we use them.

When we get to the control gate for Hunting area B we cause some consternation. The guards are not used to people wanting to get out. Sort of difficult to refuse though. By the way, like the sign says, if you want to hunt in this area, look for Kambako Safaris. From all reports they are pretty good.

The first village we find, we stop for the obligatory warm beer. And again we get swamped like you wonít believe. Iím starting to know what it feels like to be Paris Hilton.

I manage to sneak away to watch the circus from afar.

Our navigation turns out to be quite easy as there is only one road to follow and it finally deposits us in Montepuez. Civilisation, fuel station, restaurant, that kind of thing.

Coming from Pembaís side, maybe more like the end of civilization, because here the road to Lichinga turns rural.

This kind of rural.

Except for mud, this has to be the shittiest stuff to ride. Under that red sea of bull dust lies the cemented remains of the last wet seasonís tracks , criss crossing each other and you just have no idea whatís going on down there. Of course having a sprained ankle, it is inevitable that I go down on that side and get that foot caught under the bike. Instead of wriggling and screaming like a girl I just lie there blowing little dust puffs until a local pulls the bike off me. Rather take my chances in the bush.

We ride through a town I never knew existed, called Balama.

Iím leading so the police are just too slow off their behinds and I get through. All the others are pulled into the cop shop. The same shit again, who is your leader, what is your mission?
A couple of kmís out of town I pull up as I donít see my mates. I decide to wait. A severely drunk chap on a small bike pulls up, the police wants me back in town. When I try to start the bike the battery blows up. Same exact problem as in Angola. Lovely.

I show the guy my bike is caput, he offers to give me a lift. I politely say fuck off. I make myself comfortable against a tree.

Meanwhile back in Balama things arenít going too well, every bike has to be unpacked and searched. Searched to the level of throwing open bedding, matrasses, foodstuffs, tools etc. One cop eyes Nardusís hand pump with swivel head suspiciously, Nardus explains itís a pipe, you smoke it. The cop sucks the one end tentatively and looks satisfied with the answer. Finally, about an hour later, they are let off.

The lesson : if you are wanting to smuggle contraband through Balama, donít get a white man, dressed like a power ranger, standing on a 950 with two bellowing Akrapovics, to be your mule. He might look like he is trying to slip through unseen, but these cops are sharp. They will get him.

When they finally find me under the tree, I give them the good news about my bike. I learned some things in Angola though, so this time I have both a multimeter as well as a set of jumper cables.

We put some kiloís between ourselves and Balama before the sun sets.

The area is pretty populous and it takes some time to find a place to sleep.

Brian snaps trees with pure body weight.

We covered a lot of ground today and the bikes have been working pretty hard.

One last thought before we go to bed, if you see this stuff somewhere. Stay the hell away from it.

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