Crossing Southern Africa

Crossing Southern Africa

Monday, April 27, 2009

FROM THE LION'S HEAD





Dear friend:

We got it. Finally, we are in Cape Town. We are about to have dinner and drink a bottle of Constantia wine. From Lion´s Head Mountain, I see far away two oceans and the lights of the city. I feel good but I heard the wind whispering “It is time to go home”. And I know the wind says the truth. It is time to be at home with my people. It is time to speak Spanish again. Someone has asked me why I write these mails in so terrible English, especially when a lot of my friends are Spanish. The reason is simple: I was living this adventure in English and in English I was trying to get by with people. My English is terrible, but is Ok to understand jokes. I felt that I have to tell my trip in the same language I was riding it.

But arrive here was not easy. How we say in Spain: “till the end of the tail, everything is bull” (hasta el toro, todo es rabo). When I was so self confident and thinking the adventure is over, I got sick. Maybe too much relax, maybe something I ate, maybe the hard rain and the cold wind, or maybe all together at the same time, but the fact is that I felt like dying on the bike. Riding was a torture. During the last three days, I have spent more time seated on the toilet and sweating in bed than never before. You can trust me, is not good at all being sick alone in a hotel room 20.000 km away from home and asking you in the dark if it could be malaria, food poisoning, a simple cold or the fucking ebola virus.

The first night in South Africa was a nightmare. In a place I don´t want to remember the name, when I was about to fell down of fever under a heavy rain, I stopped in a dirty petrol station. When I was about to ask for the nearest hotel, a guy asked me where I came from. “From Spain”, I murmured. “Oh, I am Portuguese, we are brothers, you are going to pay nothing. I´ ve been here for 30 years. All of this is mine, No te problema”. I looked at the fat guy and his 9 fingers, I looked around the stinky shop he runs, I looked at the crappy rooms he was kindly offering me, I looked at the suspicious workers who were staring at me with big and ugly smiles, and then I looked at the clouds pouring cats and dogs and I heard the bad wind beating the road. God sometimes uses hard jokes. That night my landlord kindly explained everything about the illegal market of diamonds he runs (no te problema), I had whisky with two other Portugese brothers, and from my bed I heard till the 4 am the loud noise of the crowded pub he also runs. And, of course, in the “no te problema” place someone picked few things from my bike.

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