A tortoise, a fire and a rip-off merchant

We met a tortoise the next day. We stopped and fished it out of the road. I was ecstatic. I’d never met a tortoise. I considered it a good omen. Then it shat all over my leg.

The road was just through more bush. Nothing else there except for a road, and dust. Rocks, rocks and more rocks. The sky was yellow and heavy. It felt like another planet.

We were going about 50kph over a bridge, when suddenly a white car hurtled straight at us on our side of the road. There was 50cm left on our side. Adam steered out of the way between the car and the bridge railing. We swerved into deep gravel, skidded and came off. The white car raced off at high speed on the wrong side of the road.

Adam scraped his leg, I bruised my foot and the oil filter was dinted, but we were fine. We were quickly surrounded by well-wishers, handing us painkillers and business cards, and trying to take us to hospital.

We rode on. The roads got un-road-like. The gravel got deeper, the sky got yellower and the tarmac was a pleasant intermission. Trucks overtook us. We were still miles from Mt Neermut.

We pulled into a café for a rest. There were two bikes parked up, looking bizarrely familiar. I realized that was because they looked startlingly like ours…

There were two British bikers in the café, riding back to the UK on their fully loaded BMWs!! Despite the general knackeredness, we managed to spend the entire evening talking rubbish, and decided to stay the night on the café-owners roof as they had been doing. They were very well-prepared and Touratech-ed up, and made us feel a lot better after our meeting with Monsieur Enfield.

Two truckers came into the café to chat with the owner, and the Brit had an arm-wrestle with a funny little pot-bellied man who looked exactly like Danny DeVito. He played Eurovision songs on his mobile at us.

The café owner brought us hideous tiny sprat fish, which we fished the bones out of and proclaimed delicious. He brought mattresses out onto the roof under a tarpaulin.

We went to bed. The wind kicked up and blew in our faces. The rain poured in on us. The tarpaulin flapped loudly. The mosquitoes were unperturbed by the weather and continued their feasting unabated.

At 2am Danny DeVito loaded up a JCB outside the café. At 5am the muezzin started.

We woke to find the café owner demanding 50 pounds for dinner and lodging. I may have got a little upset. Some might say I was furious. We didn’t pay it, but it wasn’t a pleasant way to leave.

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