I left the blinds open in my hotel room so the dawn would wake me up. All I could think when I saw the view was “beautiful”. I got dressed, wrote a note for A&L and went downstairs for coffee and breakfast.
I can’t lie, it’s very strange to walk into a room and not see another white person but everyone pretty much kept to themselves except for a few good mornings exchanged in the elevators.
I had only been downstairs for about 10 minutes before A&L made it down and got coffee. They hardly ate any breakfast and Andrew was chomping at the bit to get going and find a “real cup of coffee”, so I finished up and went upstairs to pack my few things since my bag didn’t arrive.
I took a few minutes at the window again, this time with Franco and just tried to absorb the fact that I was actually here. It still feels so surreal.
We managed to find a Mug n Bean, get the team some caffeine and we started driving to Tzaneen, where we would be staying with some of their friends names Alta, Gerrit and their son Boeta.
The country side was beautiful. Brown but with gnarled trees everywhere. Some parts were very lush and green and reminded me so much of California, where my family is from.
The driving is very aggressive. People will just move to the side of the road to let you pass. There are people walking everywhere and lots holding out their hands almost like hitch hiking. There is a van that drives around and stops to pick people up for just a little money but anyone can choose to make a couple bucks (rands) by giving people rides.
The towns seem laid out similar to the US where there is the poor neighborhood with houses that look more like shanties and lots of trash everywhere and neighbors that look more wealthy with brick/stone and glass windows. Everyone has a fence with barbed/electric wire running across the top and bars across the windows.
We managed to find our way after a few wrong turns. After a brief stop at a grocery store and a butcher for dinner supplies, we arrive at the house.
The house has a huge sliding metal green gate and it is a huge property. The house is made primarily of wood and runs on solar and battery power. They have 3 smaller cabins that they have started renting for Airbnb and it runs right next to a beautiful river. There is a really pretty wooden staircase that leads down to the water and a floating dock. They tell me that sometimes Hippos come up the river. Crazy.
Since Andrew was anxious to pick my brain with a problem on the R1200GS. I dropped my bags and went to work. The rear brake light was burned out and they had gone in and bought a new bulb so we started there by replacing that first, no go. I started working systematically and eliminating known good parts and we finally realized that the front brake lever was not hitting the brake switch fully. We decided to wait until Gerrit got home to solder a mm or two onto the where the lever hits the switch.
Alta, Gerrit and their son Boeta surprised us by coming home a day early, so Andrew made a great dinner for us and we had a dessert coffee made with amarula (?) it’s a fruit that grows native to South Africa and tastes very similar to Kahlua.
We got to watch the videos from their time in the Bush. It’s pretty much like camping but they get to see much better wild animals lol.
The next morning I slept in very late, till almost 10:30am and A&L got to experience first hand how not pleasant I am before coffee.
Then it was back to work going over the bikes to zip tie any loose parts and tighten all bolts
I have to admit that I was not as helpful as I should have been. I was too busy having fun with Boeta and filming him riding his KTM. He is such a nice kid and we laughed a lot.
It was also nice to walk around their property and see their animal Jessica. I forget the official name of the type of animal she is.
I finally had to break away and start helping.
It was nice to be around their family and the interaction made me miss my own.
We finished up for the day and went down to the dock so we could sit and watch Boeta and some neighbor girls swim. It was nice getting Andrew to relax and take some time to enjoy the stillness. He has a very restless soul and wants to be constantly getting things ready for us. I don’t think he realizes yet how much our casual conversations in the quiet times are soothing my soul.
After dinner, we all kind of went our own ways. I am reading in my cabin and reflecting on a beautiful few days.
My bag arrived this evening so tomorrow the real fun begins with actually riding the bikes. I’m nervous to say the least. Especially since it is Gerrit’s bike and it is pristine. I really don’t want to mess it up.
I just have to push the fear away and get out of my own head and just ride.
I’ve been able to talk about Franco more and tell stories. I showed his keepsake to Laura and she said she may know someone with a boat that could help me when I go to bury his ashes in the sea. I know she was just being helpful but it made me tear up. I was able to choke out that I wasn’t ready to let him go yet and when I was, I was planning on organizing with anyone who wanted to drive or ride down with me as a final send off.
The idea of letting him go is terrifying. Even though it’s not really him, just his ashes.
I joked with my coworkers that I would be back at work after the trip, unless I met the heir to the diamond industry and he whisked me away on his yacht.
Honestly, I don’t know if I will ever want to be in a real relationship again.
Unless a person comes into my life and completely knocks my world off orbit, I’m not going to bother.
I refuse to settle for anything less. I don’t know if there is a person out there for me again but I’m willing to live my life without waiting for them to arrive.
Tomorrow will be coming soon and I must be sure to wake early since I know Andrew will be foaming at the mouth to get going.