We only pedaled into camp on Caborra Bassa lakeshore well after dark – mostly because the kilometers in Mozambique are longer. Longer kilometers are exhausting and could be why the Portuguese colonists packed up and went home to Portugal. Officiousness at the borders didn’t help either. It took the cyclists over an hour to clear both borders and the cars a lot longer.
Big brother was at the Zim border in force to see us off with half the loiterers from the President’s Office a.k.a. the dreaded CIO. I talked to some of them while we waited and asked them if they knew my other friend in the President’s Office whose name was Ed. CIO agents are not recruited for their senses of humor. Zimbabwe must be one of the most policed States in the world and I was sad happy to ride across the dry river bed into Mozambique.
According to Mark’s Garmin, he and I rode 162 kilometers today whereas the others only rode 152. Mark’s Garmin is from Australia and is obviously more trustworthy. We rode one third on dirt and two thirds on perfect tar up to and along Caborra Bassa, across stunning vistas and through pristine Mopane woodland. Well at least one of the trees was a Mopane, another was a Mukwa tree, plus loads of Baobabs. There were no Jacarandas and no Flamboyants. I know my trees. There were also no potholes or fuel queues. Neither have caught on in Mozambique.
The people in Mozambique are happy and we felt the love all day, even Dave who spoke to them in Spanish and or Italian. Thankfully I am fluent in Portuguese, provided the conversation doesn’t stray off beer, peri peri chicken or Christiano Ronaldo. I told Mark that Tottenham Hotspur should buy Ronaldo. He told me to piss off.
Nik Bellwald rode out of camp with us this morning and for the first 30 km, because they make them tough in Switzerland. We have renamed him Crash. He rode another 30 km after the lunch break. It will take Crash a few more half days in the saddle to fully recover.
Our two Dutch riders, Jaap and Hans, are having the best adventure of their lives. They’re excited like my grandkids were in Disneyland Paris. After close on 12 hours in saddle, they didn’t get grumpy even when it became it apparent that I had no clue as to where our end destination was. It was dark, my Garmin batteries had long died, I had no idea of even the name of the fish farm we are staying at and still Jaap and Hans were grinning like Cheshire cats. Luckily we’d bought Mozambique SIM cards. Unluckily none of us have a clue what our new numbers are so we couldn’t phone anyone any way. But getting lost added to the adventure Hans and Jaap told me.
All the riders did good today, even Carol Joy who has borrowed my flu. She is hoping for a throat transplant on our rest day in Tete. Mark Johnson was spurred on greatly by the motivational messages on his handlebars, given to him by daughter Holly. They were very well read by the end of the day.
Thanks to Gerry McCallum and staff for a delicious bream dinner. Dick of the Day nominations after dinner were cancelled, because we were all too knackered but also because there were too many nominees, not least of me for getting us lost. Gideon should really be a tandem.
It’s 4.00 a.m. as I write this blog under a tree that could be a fig but is definitely not a Jacaranda or a Flamboyant, and I’ve got goose bumps by the news from home that a Marlene Bornman painting on display at the Wild Geese art exhibition was sold for US$1200 with all proceeds, going to the Old Legs Tour. Thank you, thank you, thank you Marlene.,
If you would also like to contribute go then please go to https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/oldlegstour.
In Zimbabwe, transfer to Bulawayo Help Network via their CABS Platinum Account number 1124733450 or their Ecocash merchant number 139149. Monies donated help pensioners country wide.
Still no internet so still no Swahili.
My kit bag is now officially a disaster zone. The stuff in there gets lost on purpose in the hope of escaping.
The next blog will come to from Tete on the banks of the Zambezi River, a bum numbing 166 kilometers away. Until then, survive, enjoy and pedal if you can – Eric Chicken Legs de Jong.