Ireland Here I Come!

I am finally on the road. Thanks to everyone who came to see me off from Steampunk on Saturday morning. From old school friends to neighbours to new friends and even the Alfa Club, it was great to see you all there. And a special thank you to the Steampunk himself, Michael.

It was pretty tough to say goodbye to everyone and everything I knew, to throw myself into a world of uncertainty, and hit the road. There have been points over the last week that thoughts of Steampunk, Il Postino, my fireplace, my parents, my dogs and my bed could almost make me cry, and think, what the hell have I done? who’s idea was this? (It was mine) I think if I’ve learned anything in the last week, it’s that perhaps I have lived too softly, and not drank deep enough of life’s simple pleasures…

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My first day took me to Johannesburg, the economic heart of Africa. At first it was terrifying to be in the chaotic traffic (1 hour for 3km) but I came to appreciate the shady avenues and the fact that anything I could possibly want, was right there. I stayed with old family friends who had a roaring fire place and a friendly dog. That helped. I also got to see an old and favourite teacher of mine, who I hadn’t seen since I was in the 10th grade (history class for the win).

On my way out of Johannesburg I stopped for fuel at an old Sasol garage, and there was, of all things, an Avro Shackleton on the roof. It’s Pelican 23 from the SAAF, from 1959. I have always been fond of these planes, when I was a child Pelican 17 lived at Midmar Dam, and I was fond of it, so I like to seek out these planes when I can. There are only 12 left in the world.

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From Johannesburg I went to Gaborone, the capital city of Botswana. I arrived at dusk after a long drive. After crossing the border I lost all cell connectivity and my GPS then turned on me, and led me into the middle of nowhere. In the dark I found my way back to Gaborone, and to a cafe with WiFi, where I looked up the true location of the backpackers. I arrived exhausted and in the dark to a welcoming owner who put me up in a tent for two days. There I met an american teacher, and a Chinese backpacker, who had been traveling in Africa for two years. She was a wealth of knowledge. The owner also had a Humvee and a Rolls Royce, which was interesting. After two nights being out of touch I headed back to Johannesburg to take care of my cell phone situation. After a few days with friends in JHB, I had sorted my cell situation, and was feeling a little more confident. So I hit the road again, this time heading straight for Zimbabwe.

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I decided not to drive the same road for a third time, and to head to Beitbridge, which I believe, was a form of temporary madness.

Next time: Beitbridge and the road to Bulawayo.

 

9 Comments

  1. equanimus says:

    So, how many visas do you have in hand?

  2. A few hitches at the start always bode well for a good journey. Bon voyage, Jethro.

  3. Helen Boosen says:

    Your pace appeals to me . . may the road rise up to meet you ! Bless the folks you meet , they are gems along the way ..

  4. Steve Snook says:

    Thanks for the update, Jethro! Very best wishes for a super trip. We are following your adventure, from Scotland, with great interest! Perhaps we’ll be in Dargle, Ireland to welcome you too!

    Best wishes,

    Steve Snook

    • Hello Steve. Thanks for your support. I do plan to do a little road trip in Scotland on the British leg of the trip.

      • Baz says:

        The very best of luck Jethro, really looking forward to following your adventures from Ireland. I hope you’ve been in touch with the Alfa/Lancia club in Ireland for the welcoming home party in Dargle Valley Northern Hemispere style!

  5. Kallie van der Merwe says:

    Good going Boet!

    Sorry about the Johannesburg traffic. That’s the bane of us city folks J

    I would suggest getting hold of some good road maps as you head north though, as back-up. Electronics seem to grow dim sometimes, up there.

    Godspeed on your journey!

    Oom Kallie

  6. Shiraz says:

    Hi Jethro.
    Very interesting reading your blog.
    I was supposed to have seen you off at Steampunk, as part of the Alfa Club. Unfortunately I had a severe bout of the flu. Best wishes for a safe trip.
    Remember, the journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.
    Godspeed.

    .

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