Tuesday, 27 April 2010


I am not inspired by Botswana. There is very little to report on, except that we are all bored out of our minds and that our legs are sore from the long distances we are now doing each day. To add to the morosity, we have had awful weather conditions ever since we entered Botswana. I can't remember seeing so much rain in my life. It has been pouring with rain days and nights. Thunderstorm after thunderstorm. Needless to mention that our tents are all soaking wet, that our clothes are soaking wet, that the trucks and lockers are full of mud and that everybody is pretty much pissed off with camping. Camping is not fun in such conditions, but it is even worst after long riding days when you are smelly, tired and would pay anything to access a hot shower.... Instead, you get to pitch your tent under the rain in a muddy field.... Sleeping inside this leaking and smelly piece of fabric is getting on every rider's nerves. By now, most tents have been put up and down so many times that they are not completely waterproof any more. Oh, and did I mention that it is freezing cold? Yes, 2 weeks ago we couldn't sleep because it was so hot, and now it is full scale winter here. This weather is not nice, believe me.

So we fight back in whatever way we can. To lift up the spirits, Gabriele decided to cook a risotto for the whole camp. Jos and I offered our help as assistants and we managed to produce a very good risotto for 80 people in the middle of the Botswana bush with basic cooking equipment. We also had some great locker 9 gatherings between rain showers and enjoyed some magnificent Swiss Italian salamis, home produced by the family of Tsiciano, Gabriele's brothers friend who joined us at Vic Falls for this section. I must add that the 36 months matured parmesan cheese he and Ricardo brought along with the salamis was the culinary highlight of this trip!

Today was stage 79 and a feared one as it was the longest of the tour, a mere 209 km. It went much better than we had all expected. If it had not been for the rain and some head wind towards the end of the stage, we would have clocked in record averages. By now, we are used to long distances. This was actually easy since there was no climbing. The legs are a bit stiff, but that is because we have done so many kilometers over the last 8 riding days (about 1200 km). If nothing else, we are definitely building powerful legs... The good news is that we are finally done with Botswana and have just entered Namibia this afternoon. We are now 2 riding days away from Windhoek where we will be given a 24 hour break to rest those tired legs. Before that, 2 more big stages to cover the 300 km that separate us from the capital.

                                                   Entering our 9th country, Namibia
                              Huge thunderstorms have been making our cycling (and camping) life
                              miserable over the past few days. This was the sky we faced today
                                     Finally we reach the Namibian border post after the longest
                                     day of the tour, 209 km

                                     Tony and Simon at a rare coke stop in Botswana in a typical
                                      one horse town where we managed to buy some cold drinks
                                      from a shebeen (illegal home bar). This drunk local kept on
                                      telling us he had also done Cairo to Cape and that he knew
                                      personaly John Cecil Rhodes...
                                                                        My helmet....
                                    The owner of the shebeen was also drunk like most of the
                                    customers sitting outside under a tree. He gave us the keys
                                    and let us help ourselves in his freezer
                                    The first sign mentioning South Africa! It took us 101 days to
                                     reach this one. We are still over 2000 km away, but it is a nice
                                     booster for moral anyway.
                                                                  The dinner queue
                                                The risotto was served by the maestro himself....
                                 This is even more rare than spotting a leopard.... Jos doing dishes...

                                          Gabriele starting to cook the rice for the risotto
                                    The riding info for the next five days... Plenty of kilometers...
                                    Grand Chef Gabriel in action tasting the bouillon for the risotto
                                  Today, James the TDA chef has been relagated to assistant.
                              Here he is preparing the mushrooms that will be used in the risotto
                        It is a miserable life at camp when it keeps on raining, and it is cold as well

                                                         Gert bathing in a cooking pot
                                 Sherita and James preparing food under difficult conditions.
                              The rain was so strong that it came through every possible corner
                                                            Gert cleaning pots for the kitchen.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Each time I read your blog comfortably seated at home I try to understand you. Some times it's difficult for me. But when you write about Botswana experience it's definitely very difficult. Well I'm going to take a hot bath with bubbles. Good night Gerald. I'm Joan