Day 274: Cool Run-Ins

01.10.09: So… into the tenth month on the road and I finally, finally reach South Africa, what had, in my original estimation, been the half-way point for this adventure. That was before the Cape Verde Fiasco, the Gaff in Gabon and the Crisis in Congo. Now I’ll just have to settle with seeing Mandy again sometime next year – you’ve no idea how much that I would like to wake up in the morning with her beside me. To say it’s been too long, is an understatement. Africa, sorry, you’ve been a bitch. A real bitch. But now I’ve made it to South Africa I’m feeling good, no injuries, no countries that I couldn’t get into (one way or another) and best of all, I still haven’t had a day off ill. My main task here is to get a new passport, as although mine has…

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Day 273: A Gold Star And A Jellybaby

30.09.09: It was a comfortable night on Tashia's couch, interrupted only by the once-an-hour shrill of my mobile phone waking me to change the video tapes that I was uploading onto my laptop. I would be going to DHL later to send the tapes to Australia and I didn't want to let them go (especially after what happened to me in Congo) without making sure I had a back up. In the morning, Tashia left me to my own devices. Soon I had all of my tapes uploaded and I was ready to go. The bus for South Africa left in the evening, so there was no rush. Tashia came back around lunchtime – her kid had fallen ill and had been admitted to hospital. Nothing too serious, but it looked like he had a bout of food poisoning and the doctors wanted to keep him…

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Day 272: There Is Such Thing As Normal

29.09.09: Arrrrrrgh! ANOTHER get-up-at-5am-bus-leaves-at-11am day. I tell you, good information is priceless. Cliff and I wound up hanging about for hours before we actually left, but when we did hit the road, it was the sum of bliss. When I crossed the border into Namibia yesterday, I didn’t just cross into another country, I crossed into another world. The developed world. And God I’ve missed it. A word of clean toilets, hand-dryers, fast-food (I haven’t seen a KFC since Spain), sealed roads, traffic lights, road rules, roadworthy vehicles; roads bereft of hawkers, beggars, goats, chickens, those f***ing police checkpoints and of the ubiquitous mounds of litter and crap that mark the entry point to human settlements. I guess in hindsight I will look back over my four-month slog through West and Central Africa with affection. But not today. I’m just glad to be out. Namibia was…

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Day 271: Exit, Stage Left

28.09.09: Got up at 6am. Bus left at 9. If you think there’s a pattern emerging here, THEN THERE IS AND I’M GETTING A LITTLE BIT SICK OF IT. The journey was uneventful, but was tinged with tension – my visa expires today. I HAVE to leave Angola today or I might well find myself back in jail... The border closes at 6pm. Stupidly, the bus is scheduled to get in at 5pm. Why it didn’t leave a couple of hours earlier (seriously, what difference would it make?) is quite beyond my programming. So every time we stopped, I found myself jiggling my legs, chewing the inside of my mouth and repeatedly looking at my watch. After a few hours, I had a thought. What if the border closes 6pm Namibia Time? Namibia is an hour ahead of Angola. That would mean that the border would…

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