|Flight assisted arrival at Cape Point|
It has been a fascinating journey traversing questions like 'What is poverty?', 'What is aid?', 'What is development?', 'Is equality realistic?', 'How bad can a road get?', 'Should I really eat that?', 'Is it too hot for cycling yet?', 'What the fuck is that animal making noise outside my tent?'.
So I return home to Ireland on Thursday not really knowing what I'm doing next. As I cycled down to the Cape of Good Hope I did ask myself 'Why didn't I continue all the way?' but with the similarity of cultures making it less and less interesting, the rain season approaching and the possibility of being ransomed in Nigeria, I thought best to retreat and re-plan.
After spending 2 weeks in Abidjan as nursing assistant to cycling buddy Tim who got malaria (not something you want to get unless you need to loose weight in a hurry) I headed for the Ghana border. The Ivorian people were so cool and relaxed it was sad to leave, not to mention the super kind Marianist brothers. Took the picturesque route along the coast via Coconut Village and cycled along the beach front at low tide to cross the border as the local road was too sandy to cycle on. Funny experience crossing a border on the beach. Ollie and Cindy had been shot at by the border police a few days earlier (I found out later!) but I must have cycled past on tea break!
In Ghana spent some memorable times on the beautiful beaches of Axim, Busua, Kokobite and finally onto Accra where we hit the town in Osu to meet a ship load of drunken British sailors. Headed north to Lake Volta, the largest reservoir in the world and then onto the amazing Wli falls. Found some chilled Ghanian people up north as opposed to the tourist mungers along the coast and also bumped into some Kente weavers.
Flight to Johannesburg involved a night stop over in Addis Abba, Ethopia and how surprisingly different it was ... Ethiopian food, music, culture very distinct so have to go back there!
First thing I noticed in Johannesburg was the barricaded houses with window bars, gates, electric fences etc. The city was nicer than reported but for the first time in Africa there were areas I should not enter. A very segregated society with inequality fueled problems, traditionally along racial lines but more recently along social classes (I think!) A very strange mix of 1st/2nd /3rd worlds with shanty towns around the corner from marble mansions.
Took the 28 hour train from Joburg to Capetown, a long time in a seat!, but was cool to see the savanah like scenery in the centre and then the vineyard adorned Drakenstein mountains as you approached Capetown ... maybe the nicest city in the world to live in ... stunning scenery all around but quite a Non-African white culture which was a little disappointing for me as I had fallen in love with random street stall culture.
Robben Island, wine tour, safari tour and then hanging out in Zebra Hostel as well as getting robbed in a township pub!
Greetings to Yves who is currently cycling through Nigeria, Cycling Cindy who is at the border (http://cyclingcindy.wordpress.com/), Ping and Noel who are also in South Africa (http://pingandnoelsblog.blogspot.com/) and to Tim who is on his way to Turkey.
Trip Total 10,979km, 541 hours cycling time, 53,025m climbing
Thanks for all the blog comments.
Ode to Bike Touring :)
|Fecker who pickpocket my phone with all my precious photos in Mzoli's Bar, Gugulethu|