Up early today shopping for a phone. The big name models are too much but a local carrier branded Android phone is affordable. (See part two for why I am talking phones)
The phone stolen was 4 years old but still ran better than this new one. Reminds me of Windows 98, ha-ha. I already sent an erase command to my stolen iphone via Apple so spend the day setting up the new one, washing and walk back to mall for Thai food at dinner. Today is miserable weather and actually a good day to be indoors with heater on.
Leaving Port Elizabeth stopped at traffic lights two shifty guys size me up from the footpath then come towards me. One is unraveling a blanket and one is reaching for something in his pocket. As they get closer I just gas it and run the red light.
At subsequent traffic lights with shifty characters roaming between the cars I hang way back as long as I can. My eyes darting in all directions for where to position myself but nothing else goes down.
PE as the locals call it is rather unlawful. How do authorities let policing slip to this point? But perhaps this is planned, if the authorities are all black then maybe crimes against white is permitted. Well it’s a shame is all I can say as this is such a beautiful country otherwise.
200km of highway with cross wind on a small naked bike ahead of me this morning. I just hunker down and get on with it. By the time I moved inland both the weather and I had calmed down and I could return to enjoying the scenery.
Farms, quiet country roads, small towns. I’m enjoying the ride again as I cross from the Eastern to Western Cape.Turned off the tar to cut about 40km off my route. Very easy bike to ride on dirt.
Nice Aussie style cafe at De Rust where I get a toasted ham, cheese and tomato sandwich and flat white to feel right at home and able to relax for a spell.
And then the fantastic roads and spectacular visuals of the Swartberg national park. You ride between the soaring stone walls of the canyon.
It goes on like this for ages, well surveyed road which is an awesome ride. Out the other side its more great scenery.
Next I tackle the Swartberg pass. This is gravel but easy. I think anyone could ride it and you should, it is spectacular.
You start in canyons then work your way up a spectacular climb.I am having fun and start spinning up the Metzeler out of the corners but then tell myself to settle as it is long way down.
Then the other side is grand.
On the descent I dropped my little Sony QX10 camera I use while riding. It bounced along and the cover and battery fell out then it miraculously stopped on a rock on edge of road. Even more incredible I put it back together and despite rolling with the lens extended it still worked! So relieved. It landed on one of those stones in the photo above which prompted me to enjoy this view awhile.
I stay in a lovely BnB tonight in Oudtshoorn, again like whole apartment with private entrance which seems common here. I start to walk to shops but a shady character turns towards me yelling something so I return to the BnB for the bike.
I feel like pasta and stop at first pub that says pizza/pasta. Ride the bike up footpath right outside window, no ground clearance probs and plenty suspension travel on the G310. I watch three shifty dudes coming and going and pretending take selfies with my bike. Yeah right I am not that gullible here anymore. I move it into the courtyard of the pub. Shortly after this they return with a big bar but are out of luck. They then cross the road yelling out shit and swing the bar at a passing rider who narrowly missed being clubbed then start smashing stuff.
It’s not my intention to sound negative. Most everywhere in the world has issues however I am not going to lie either, it’s edgy here. Even this pretty country town only few streets seem safe, I turned down some and men were sizing me up and stepping out onto road so I rolled left through red lights not stopping and returned back to the main road the only place I see other white people. It is unlawful on a level I have not encountered before. Even Philippines which has some issues has countered that with many layers of security and law enforcement where as here there is no security of law enforcement presence on the streets whatsoever leaving the black South African men free to do anything.
My dinner was kind of ruined but anyway the bike is safe and once I feel the coast is clear I ride back with yet another bottle of fine South African wine in my messenger bag. Already put on lots of weight here but what the hell.