Today’s Blog is an Outside Broadcast !!! Looking back at the day it was almost an Inside-Jail-Broadcast. I am sitting on a street bench in the main road of the town we are sleeping in today, next to me on the bench are two Chinese Teenagers playing Donkey Kong on their new I-Phone (copies probably) and I am looking over the maintenance and running repairs happening to the Land Cruiser (getting an oil change and some other thinks) and to my dear Snowflake which has clocked over 50 000km, she is older than all the other bikes by about 15000km and what ever happens to her is due to follow soon, so I am using the spare parts from the parts we brought and then I re-stock when we return.

Snowflake developed an Oil leak on the one front fork shock. So after a wash at the high-pressure wash (needs to be clean Pie said as working on a shock is like surgery, what do I know, so we scrub before the opp.) The biggest problem I am told in this case is not finding the new seals packed in some little protective steel box somewhere in the bottom bowels of Bucky’s inner stomach, not finding the special tool we all know was packed but not ever seen again, no, the biggest problem is to un-screw the shock, for that you need to clamp it and……….something………something as it can cause the shock to collapse or something in that line. As you will see below, everything happens on the pavement.

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But a “Boer Maak ‘n Plan”, so with rope and using the rubber on the spare wheel as grip, and then add some brute force a clamp fitting the specs are made and the shock opened, the operation is currently still continuing and I am not allowed to get near the surgeons, (I will keep you informed if the shock lived.)

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This morning we left after a terrible breakfast, but there were some boiled eggs and watermelon I recognized. We bought a type of Nescafe from a grocery store when looking for the ever elusive Deodorant, so at least we could make our own coffee.

It had rained during the night, (which was also a terrible night as our hotel was opposite the railway station and it was noisy, trains hooting, shunting sounds, locomotives speeding only to screech to a halt before hanging on that horn as if his life depended on it.) Now that I think of it, the night followed a terrible dinner, the worst diner so far on this trip, you don’t eat that well after inspecting the menu and seeing a selection of Pork ears and an assortment of different trotters that will be roasted on an open fire you sort of lose your appetite. The Navigational Nightmare that was our day was unpacked which resulted in some loud and hard talking which saw restaurant dinners, Tony, Tex and The Dog running for cover. We are all used to giving instructions and taking orders from no-one, add in some GPS failure, pressure of not being able to read the signs or ask directions and then you mix in some ego’s and sprinkle this with a hand full of past unresolved issues and you end up with an explosive dish. I wonder how many containers will be packed once we reach Singapore and to which destinations those containers gets shipped???  I still hope we can fit this enormous dish into one container, time will tell.

So back to this morning, we had a long day and the plan was to hit the highway so that we could get into our next stop around lunch time. We remained positive and the full Rain Suites remained packed away. After another hide and dash for a toll lane and hope for the best we were all on the highway when the heavens opened and we got drenched. There are no safe places on the highway to stop and we pushed on until we found a “Service Area” and this is where I think it went wrong as I suspect the Fuel Garage’s owner did not like us taking over his fore-court and he then phoned the police (we later heard from the police they responded to a phone call complaining)  and complained that there were some “motorbikes racing on the highway. ” This is not true as we were trying our best to see through the mist, spray and rain, there was no speeding.

However, the police stationed three cars along the road and waited. When we left the service area the two American bikes left first, a minute later I left, and a few minutes later Peens and Rocky and the bakkie left, I could see the Tex and Pie ahead and then they rode past a police car and the minute they passed him I saw their lights come on and they pulled in behind me racing to catch up, I decided to speed-up and form a group with the two guys ahead of me,  once I got in behind them I watched in the mirrors and saw the police catch up, to my surprise they got next to me and then the siren started and I was thinking they would pass me and get to the front and pull us all over, but no, I was singled out and made them woes as I did not stop when asked to stop, but eventually I got the message and stopped, the other police car came reversing from the front and there I was in between the police cars, all alone in the pouring rain, speaking my best Chinese. The cops were to slow to flag Peens and Rocky down and they rode past looking the other way pretending not to know me. They shouted, I put on my lost puppy face, then man with long lens camera jumped out and started taking photos of me, the bike, side, frontal, you name it, it was like the Paparazzi. The other police then took out their cell phones and more photos were taken. I started to produce all my paperwork, but all of a sudden the paparazzi had an new victim as the Cruiser pulled up and the Reindeer Antlers stole the lime light.

Now Tony was producing paperwork and “man-with-long-lense” was now taking photos of all the document. The police were angry, I was left to standing the rain, Greg managed to take some photo, will post one later when I get off the street and into a hotel room.

They wanted to throw me off the highway, Tony explained that the other members of the group are ahead and he cant be on two roads at the same time, they then said they responded to a complaint and Tony started pleading to not throw me off, Greg then pulled out his police badge and I saw some softening, but the final decision had to be taken by their boss, tense minutes passed while the policeman phone the “Big Man”, ( me making some calls of myself to him.)  Well, eventually we got the all clear and we could continue on the highway, we had to stay in the slow lane and we could not go over the speed of 80km\p\hr which turned out to be the perfect speed for the amount of rain that was falling down on us.

Because of the rain I have no photos to show you of the road, but we are now in tropical area with Banana trees, Paw-paw trees growing wild in between the dense natural forests covering the mountains. It reminded me of the area between the Mid-Lands and Maritzburg-Area, lush and green, un populated and un-touched.

But the surgeons has now popped out to have their lunch, (Rocky arrived with the left-over chicken from last nights meal, with head still attached and Peens has found some sweet bread-rolls.) I am told that the operation is going very successfully and that all the replacement seals and oils was found, and that the very special tool to put the seals into the correct position was also discovered and things are going according to plan.

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The very special Tool we knew we had, somewhere deep inside the Bakkie.

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From where I am sitting I can now see the mechanic is busy disappearing into the Bakkie’s motor and the surgeons are surrounded by some spectators following their progress, making loud suggestions and sounds of encouragement.

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Peens and Rock has now been sent in search of a Wine Shop to see if they can get us a few bottles of drinkable wine before we cross over into Laos, which will be either tomorrow or Monday, depending on how tomorrow goes.

My Lap-Tops power is running out and I should probably safe this draft before the battery dies. I will add in some photos in -between the text later.

Back in my Hotel Room, what a shocker, gone are all the fancy hotels, gone are the window between the bed and the shower, it is back to “pap en ou klere” we are obviously now off the popular business hotel route. As I said, very tropical now, mozzi-nets infront of the windows, no air-con and the power went off for about 15 minutes during a thunder storm.

Greg has not yet e-mailed me some photos he took today, but I will send it later.

Here are two photos he did mail me a few days ago that I have not yet posted.

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The hotels we stayed in the past week (the 1st week were not as nice as I think their occupancy might be higher and there might be more demand for the hotels and they can ask a higher rate, but the past week we stayed at some fancy places for less than a guesthouse would cost in Jhb.

Gone are these days :

Hotel hotel 2