sábado, 18 de mayo de 2013

Day 4 - It tastes better in Africa

It was tough to leave the g spot. It was friggin' cold this morning! Who would have said we're actually in Africa? But we had to go, no matter what. The world is out there waiting for us and we can't let it down.

We leave the hippies behind not without first swearing eternal friendship, stating that we absolutely will come back and getting the address of one of Harold's buddies in East London that will put us up for free (as well as giving us some free pot). The usual routine, really.

In any case, we go back to the road that brought us here and it receives us with the warmest "good morning" greeting nature can offer: a magnificent and sunny day, in the surroundings, the walls of a gorge that plays with the river that cuts it in half. We ascend, driving along the river, negotiating waterfalls and bends while the distance between the rock walls was never more than 10 meters. It is in these moments in life when ones soul widens and you almost pee your pants of the excitement of how amazing it is to be driving off-road because there is no paved road in the whole wide world that would take you through a place like this. It is worth all the effort it took to learn how to ride this bike.

When we get all the way up, the river has given us as a present the prairies where it is born, almost making us believe we are in the Alps, if only for a second. Not long after, the dirt road dies under the tarmac. The asphalt comes back burying our feelings of victory and utter amazement. But that is just fine, because we know it is time to run, get all those miles over with, because half of Africa lies ahead waiting for us to discover her.

And thus, we take this perfectly straight road, hoping we can give our rides a bit of that speed they've been craving for. And did they not go for it! It is amazing how much power these beasts have, even when you go faster. Mom. stop reading here. I said stop! You're cheating! Oh well, up to you. When I was riding at 170 I decided it might be a good idea to get scares and go back to the 120 the road was set to.

Hours went by with the bikes just swallowing kilometers without listening to the complaints both their off road shoes and their frozen riders made. The former, because on asphalt they just melt way less slow than you would expect, and the latter because at only 800 m of altitude the cold stung in the chest like a poisoned dagger. I think we're going to have to go to Lesotho in a different season.

After a while we get into a secondary road, parallel to the highway (which most likely is the old highway) thinking we would go back to the main road as soon as we could. But then all of a sudden 5 bikes show up in the opposite direction and another 3 in front of us. And what does it mean all these bikes on the same road? It means it's a fun road to ride! So we skip the highway and just follow those three bikes riding in front of us.

All of sudden, I feel like I was back in the beginning of everything. Those first outings on the bike with the Varadai Order, Kini, Masca, Cover, Chiqui and everybody else. The routes near Robledo de Chavela, the great feeling of belonging. It is simply astonishing how motorbikes push people together, how they build a community around them.

We ride across  mountain passes in this motorbike caravan, enjoying gorges, driving down to the river and then all the way up again, wrapped up by a tunnel of trees that enfolds us all along. And then our anonymous friends disappear on a fork of the road, leaving us to our route next to a (yet another) natural park.

If you ride a bike you know it is time to go home (or look for shelter) when you shadow is big enough so you can see it riding next to you on the road. It's like an extension of yourself that wakes you up from a dream in the smoothest possible way. Hey! Hi! You know it's time, right? Lets go, lets look for a place to stay.

This way we arrived at Grahamstown, where B'n'Bs are even more expensive than we've seen so far. It is a small colonial style city, with houses that resemble old Saint Louis pictures. Completely filled with churches and cathedrals in the most diverse European architectural styles, it looks like someone made a bet to see who could build the church which attracted more worshipers. The outcome is pleasing to the eye but not very useful, I think.

So we finally find a place that's affordable and we go search for a place to eat. And we also managed to get an Amarula bottle.

Veredict? It is not the same. In Africa (and not because we're here), it tastes better.

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