Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Final Week in Africa

Angela writes:

Upon returning to our “home” campsite at Jungle Junction (JJ’s) in Nairobi, Kenya we were welcomed back with open arms from our “old” riding friends Claudio (http://transafricabiketrip.blogspot.com/) and David (http://africabybike596.blogspot.com/), the South Africans who we had met up with in Dar and again in Arusha.  We did miss having Dom around but were comforted by seeing his motorcycle that hadn’t left yet.  It was nice to return to a familiar place and see some familiar faces.  Jungle Junction is really a motorcycle utopia where 50 or more overland travelers come and go every week, exchanging route tips, motorcycle details and visa information.  There are so many interesting conversations to join in on and so many different people to meet, from all over the world, who have amazing stories and adventures to share.  Chris Handschuh, who runs JJ’s, is always friendly, hospitable and a wealth of information.  He’s part mechanic, part philosopher, and part comedian, with the heart of an adventurer, he consistently has enough time and energy for all his needy guests. This week Chris helped us organize the crating of our motorcycles so that they can start their long journey back to Canada.  From Nairobi they are going to get trucked to Mombasa, Kenya on the Indian Ocean then they will be loaded into a container, onto a ship, where they will sail to Toronto. 


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As I mentioned above, Jungle Junction is meeting place for overland travelers from all over the world.  It is here that we had the fortunate coincidence of meeting up with Margaret (www.ridingtoextremes.com/index.htm), an accomplished Iron Butt Rally Rider who’s also featured on the Horizon Unlimited Achievable Dream DVD series.  I met Margaret once before at a BC Horizons meeting back in 2008, three months after I started riding a motorcycle. She had just completed the “48 Plus” riding her motorcycle to all 48 lower US States, plus Canada and Hyder, Alaska in under 10 days! I was so inspired to meet such a determined and successful female rider when I was just starting out and I think it is amazing to have run into her again at the end of this motorcycle adventure and to again be inspired. She is picking up her motorcycle at the airport today and will soon begin her solo journey to South Africa. It is such a small world, and it just keeps getting smaller. 



For Daryll’s 40th birthday Margaret joined us for steak lunch at a local Mediterranean restaurant.  I was going to have the 20 or so odd staff members sing Daryll Happy Birthday during dessert like they did for another birthday boy (4 years old), but by then we were absolutely stuffed. As we finished off our drinks, we started to hear the sky rumbling with thunder.  We suspected that we would have at least another hour before it started raining so we started our 15 minute walk back to Jungle Junction.  Well we were wrong, and half way through our walk the sky opened up on us big time!  The dirt track we were following turned into slippery mud, and cars drove by us splashing us with huge puddles.  We were drenched.  At the top of one steep hill we decided to take cover with some locals in a car wash and it also gave me the opportunity to check on the laptop I was carrying under my jacket. While in the car wash it started hailing – I guess this is pretty normal weather for being almost at the equator.  Then the carwash guy says that he wants to recycle the water in his car wash apparatus which means that the shower jets started squirting water and the big blue spiny brushes started going round and round.  It was kind of like being in a carwash nightmare without the protection of a car around us, but we laughed, moved off to the side and waited for a brake in the rain.  When we finally got back to Jungle Junction we realized that the yard was starting to flood and our tent was slowly getting filled with water.  We hurriedly moved clothes, gear, sleeping bags and mats inside and rented the last room in the hostel.  It was a good thing that our flight to Paris was booked for Tuesday, 2 days later, as this is how long it’s taken for our tent to dry out – a VERY good thing since our tent is now inside our bike crate sailing to Canada for the next two months! 

Tonight we are on our way to Paris, France via Dubai where we’ve already booked our luxury (well for us 2 star is luxury!) hotel rooms.  C’est la vie!

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