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BL # 14

OK, let’s start just write up.  If I don’t start now, it will take weeks to do (and it did).

Those of you following/reading/enduring my ramblings on Facespace will by now be aware of Erwin and my epic scoot trip over the Dec holiday.

We started off buying 2 scooters for the trip – Erwin got a licence first and then shortly following that a (black with red decals) Yamaha BWS 100, with his first ever experience on a, scooter starting the bike after he had paid for it already. I myself, struggled to find a BWS also, so I got a blue Yamaha Nitro 100 – essentially the same engine and gearing, but more european styled vs the Jap styling of the BWS – both with around 7hp – woah nelly!

I started plotting a route inland up to Port Alfred, where we would meet up with friends of ours for new years.  If you were to follow the main routes, it would add up to just over 800km one way – so roughly 1600km return; but we were not planning on following the main routes, we are adventurous, we are daring, we are not afraid to follow the roads less travelled and we are keen to do what few have tried before us, plus we are semi scared of going on the National roads with 101cc scooters that can’t do 100km/h…uhum not scared, that’s not the right word, we aren’t scared, we are considerate towards other road users. yes, that’s it. So, the route we mapped added up to around 2000km round trip excluding in-town run abouts.

Erwin pulled through to my place late afternoon on the 26th Dec, on a flippen hot summer day, to find me with my scooter pulled right into my lounge, so that I could pack it under the aircon.  I finished packing my bike, we filled them with fuel and 2 stroke oil and we put the bikes in the garage ready for an early departure.  We got some pizza take out and went home to discuss the maps/routes that we will be venturing on.  Within 5 minutes we changed the whole route as the coast seemed a better option riding up, loads of people out and about with the added benefit of the cool ocean air to keep us from drying out like old biltong in the summer heat.

Initial trip route - OK, I deleted the original - but this is the rough outline - the original went past Grahamstown etc.

The morning of the 27th, we had alarms set for 5 am and abruptly got up, strapped remaining things to the bikes, had left over pizza and by 6:01am with the holiday smell of sunscreen fresh in our nostrils, we were parked outside all ready to go and without fail the two scooters rung to life with the deligtful ‘rin-tin-tin-tin’ sound that only a two stroke can deliver.  We decided to skip the Hugenot toll road and tunnel and to head over the Nuwekloof pass which was an excellent idea untill we hit the worst mist that I’ve seen in a while with visibility no more than 10 meters.  The mist so thick that we got soaked from head to toe, visors all fogged up, the pass actually becoming tricky with the tight bends and slippy road markings, but we pushed on to a beautiful sunrise on the other side.  Right next to the Worcester mall my bike started screaming at the top of it’s lungs, suddenly sounding like a 250 2-stroke MX bike, and, like it’s owner it seems my bike is allergic to Worcester and like a lizard sheds it’s tail to fool predators, or its owner that loses his arms when entering Worcester, my scooter decided to shed its exhaust to ward off two tone Honda Ballades, leaving us with a massive headache as the this year for the first time 27th is a public holiday and by that account all shops are closed.

Scooters all packed up and ready to go.

time to go!

Luckily all of Worcester did not get the notice of a public holiday and after a cup of McD’s coffee and a whole helluva lot of phoning around, we starting just riding around trying to spot a place that could help.  We pulled into Midas (one of the places that went unnotified of the new government constituted public holiday) and one of the sales guys there directed me to an exhaust place that was open. We headed off to go and find Millennium Silencers, where Freddy and Freddy had a look and sorted out my exhaust in an hour with some of the finest welding this side of Richard’s bay.  We lost 4 hours to this mishap, but bless you Worcester and your lack of respecting public holidays for getting us up to speed again.  We quickly sped off away from Worcester, before my bike decided to shed a wheel or lights.

Freddie and Freddie fixing my scooter

We had a fairly uneventful ride to Robertson and then on past Bonnievale through the stunningly beautiful Trudouw’s pass, but ran into fairly heavy rain outside Swellendam. We packed rain jackets and emergency ponchos, but funny thing, we never even considered stopping, rain is just water (and in the words of Derek Zoolamder: “water is the essence of wetness”) so we got a little wet. We headed out to Buffeljagsrivier for a roosterkoek lunch and to refuel our machines.  Our plan was to head towards the coast from here and then head up to Stillbay – a plan quickly forgot as we hit the turnoff only to find that the roads leading to the coast are all dirt roads – not something we liked the idea of as tiny wheels and dongas, tiny wheels and stutterbumps and tiny wheels and loose gravel by our calculations does not like one another.  So we turned back to head off to Suurbraak and around the back way to Heidelberg. Around half way to Heidelberg, on a stunning ride, suddenly we hit a dirt road again – wet, muddy, clay, and in our way.  So we decided to just go for it.  Erwin kept a pretty tight following distance and got completely covered in tyre spray from all the puddles, but we made it to Heidelberg in one piece.  From here we had no choice but to go for the N2 dash all the way to Still bay – long, tiring, boring and just as you think you are over it, you get the turnoff – great! except that from the turnoff the damn town is another 30km’s! aaaargh!

Via Suurbraak on a slippery wet dirt road

Heidelberg quick stop to make sure all the bikes' bits are still on

Our lodgings in Stillbay was pretty basic – a maids room in the back that a woman had put us up in – a bunkbed and the use of the bathroom in the house.  But I can tell you as tired as we were from that first leg, I would’ve slept in a field under the scooter.

We met up with Barry and Friede-Marie and later Conrad joined us for a brief night out to Puffies (yes you read right), where someone actually recognized us from seeing us on the road close to Worcester earlier the day, before turning in and passing out.

Early mornings was the name of the game and the 28th followed suit.  The destination for the evening: Knysna.  Pretty smooth sailing – all N2 dash with a quick stop and a chill sesh under some trees next to the lagoon in Wilderness.

We went out in Knysna for a early-ish dinner and then to a place called Zanzibar and saw CrashCarBurn playing there.  The crowd was way younger than us, but for all intent and purposes that did not stop us dancing a bit.  We were however under legal obligation to not even look at the girls without parental consent; you had to be 18 to get in the club, but 18 looks a lot younger these days…  We were staying at Highfields Backpackers in a 6 bed dorm room with 4 other guys and 2 German girls, one of which decided she’s bringing a boy back to the room in the early hours of the morning for some fun – can you say AWKWARD!

We packed our stuff, (by now not nearly as neat or organised as we started off) and pointed our bikes in Jeffrey’s direction, but my scoot felt slouchy, so we pulled into the Yamaha workshop to get an opinion – Willie (the motorcycle guru) there was on top form and super friendly and within an hour had sorted out the weights on my centrifugal clutch as they were starting to wear down from riding only at top speed over long distances.

Accelleration sorted, we headed for J-Bay.  Around 30km outside Plett, you jump off the N2 and head onto the Nature’s valley road – wow!  Stunning scenery, great twisty mountain passes and even some shade under the massive trees.  We head over to the Bloukrans Pass side, which were according to a massive sign, closed for traffic due to rock falls or something of that nature.  We, along with 4 cars decided that that will not stop us from an adventure and so we tresspassed a little.  The result was the most beautiful road I have ever ridden a bike on; overgrown with trees and rockslides covering most of the road surface in some places, it felt like driving through the streets in ‘I am legend’ or like a fantastically-eerily quiet land forgotten by civilization.  Absolutely priceless!  With the scoots we had no problems getting all the way through, dodging tree branches, rocks etc. and out the other end and so we kept on the R102 most of the way up to JBay.

Nature's Valley

Heading into Bloukrans

The overgrown Bloukrans pass - typical section...

JBay in summer is known for a surfer lifestyle, boardshorts, bikinis, slops, loads of people.  The place has a buzz to it, a typical holiday town vibe that unfortunately reflects in their driving style, and fortunately in the sun bronzed legs all round.  Erwin has been a couple of times and so he led the way to Island Vibe backpackers where we were lucky enough to get our own dorm – schweet!

We had a couple of beers and a pretty good in-house dinner (spaghetti Bolognaise – no idea how to spell it) and turned in fairly early. By now our bodies were starting to show signs of weariness from spending between 5 and 7 hours a day on the scoots. My denim shorts – normally supremely comfy – now from sitting on the seam on the hard little seat, felt like I was sitting on a picket fence… not so much fun, no.  Shorts 1: Coccyx 0.  (Just in case you thought I was talking dirty… “The coccyx commonly referred to as the tailbone, is the final segment of the vertebral column in tailless primates.” – in afrikaans known as your steakie, so there).

The 30th was the final stretch of the first half of the journey (see, I’m a ‘glass half full’ kind of guy) with another roughly 230km to go, a lot of which will be N2 and not the nice clean cut N2 Capetonians are used to, this includes a single lane, bumpy, pot holey, rural looking N2 section.  Anyways, we made quick work of the road to P.E. and then after we filled our bikes headed for Nanaga ‘padstal’ for some roosterkoek and a quick break.  If you haven’t yet been, it is worth it to hop in your car right now, no matter where you stay, and make the drive down there for a fresh roosterkoek with salted farm butter, soft cheddar and apricot jam.  Mouth watering on the keyboard as I type this – oh my!

Heading back to the N2 after refuelling in PE

Between PE and PO

Roosterkoek!

Lunch on the Nanaga lawn

We stopped off at some friends in Bushman’s river and got treated to a beer by Francois and Elsabe at a smallish pub with a stunning view overlooking the river.  The drive there (IN A CAR – oh yes, now you’re talking) was pretty schweet and the AC made it especially enjoyable, plus the added bonus – no wind noise for a bit.

Port Alfred quickly drew near and as we passed the sign that says ‘Welcome to Port Alfred’, I did a big air punch and yelled just a little inside my helmet, possibly a girlish sounding happy shriek sound, so I was amped that the helmet kept it all (well, most of it) inside and to itself, except for a bit that reached a cow or two that was standing within earshot and that was the story of the first time I’ve seen a cow look worried and intimidated. True story 😉

We found Nikky’s place and was welcomed by a whole crew of relaxed looking holiday-goers.  I have never been so ecstatically happy to get off a motorcycle albeit a scooter, as this emotion for me normally is for when I hop on; but the bum was sore and the road was long.  Quick meet and greet, semi unpacked, boardshorts engaged, beer in hand the feeling settled in – we have arrived! In one piece.  Alive.  With 100cc scooters. 1000+ km’s. BOOM!  The rest of the day was spent frolicking in the water, laying around, chatting, going for a boat ride with Nix’s dad and transitioning from scoot mode to holiday mode.

Port Alfred - at last!

Golden moment

Sunset boat cruise - From left to right: Bronwyn, Lindsay, Nikky, Fiona, Erwin, yours truly and Jonathan.

The 31st was just beautiful – waking up without an alarm, cheerful pleasant people up and at-em downstairs, the day started off with a breakyand coffee around the table and then moved on to whole lot of relaxing, swimming, watching ‘New Girl’ and trying our luck on the Pumpa Bike.  It starting feeling like a ‘real’ holiday and this is just what the doctor odered after a piercing 2011.

Mid day we headed to the mall and did some shopping with the girls, well, Erwin bought suntan lotion, I bought sweets and we bought some other less important things for new years also.  The girls focussed more on food (Jonathan planned a ‘potjie’ for new year’s eve), and was patiently waiting outside the shop by the time we had explored every isle in the shop.  And by patiently I mean a little annoyed, but still smiling.

Back home we had some refreshments and decided it was time to get the Pumpa Bike going – if you don’t know what it is, google that thing – it is not as easy as those people make it look!  Erwin imho was the winner of the day, making it all the way over the canal to another jetty and most of the way back. the rest of us was just not feeling the rhythm or the ride…

We would have a bit of a dressy new year’s do at the house and then possibly go out to a nearby club after 12.  Dressy poses a problem when packing has to conform to what you can fit into a scooter fitting luggage setup.  So I wore a button shirt and my shorts and brushed my teeth really really well.  The girls were up to the challenge and was looking lovely.  So we had new years, good food, a little bit of shuffeling, loads of laughter, a little ad-lib karaoke and good company.  We hit the club, and was happy that no one at the club hit us… as there, it was frankly on the cards.

Linz hopping on the Pumpa-bike

Friends...uhum

Shuffling a bit

New year's eve

The first was mostly spent lazing around, random banter, watching TV, swimming and chilling in the sun – excellent.  What a place, what a kick ass group of people!

On the morning of the second we set out, sadly leaving the Nix residence (which have now become home in a very short space of time) around 7am heading for our first stop on the return journey – Eersterivier to visit the Kemps.  This as far as riding goes is quite a hectic stretch as we have to go all the way past PE, past Jeffreys and then all the way to Eersterivier (as mentioned somewhere earlier in the post, around 25km from Kareedouw).

Heading back towards home, the first thing you notice is that a 50km stretch feels like it continues on and on for 75km… not a good start.  The first stop for the day was nice and early for a pie (not your average garage pie – this is prime pie – packed to the brim with big beautiful chuncks of meat and a juicy -not at all soggy – filling, covered in a golden brown soft and slightly mallible but flaky pastry, and some or other fancy juice at Nanaga farm stall, before tackling the horrible N2 again.

Going on my petrol guage and based on the assumption still, that Erwin and my tanks are identical in size and that our bikes are fairly similar ito consumption, we turned off the N2, to rather head through Uitenhage to keep the ride interesting and to escape the post new years traffic madness on the N2.

Luckily these little Yamaha motors are very reliable, as the road is bad, and kind of follows a dodgy route past a couple of informal settlements where we don’t really know the area well enough.  After quite a bit of riding on  this little road, we hit a massive hill climbing straight ahead for what seemed to be the better part of a kilometer. Around halfway up the hill, I overtook Erwin had a quick glance in the mirror to see him pulling over.  Doubling back I pulled up next to him, “hy’s leeg ou” (‘it’s empty man’) is all he said and hopped off to start pushing – he was right, which was weird – as my scooter is normally a little more thirsty than his and mine is still running.  I decided to be a sport and switched mine off and starting pushing my bike with him – comeradery is good in a situation like this – it keeps spirits up and moods light…plus, it would be very boring sitting at the top of that hill waiting for him for the next 45 minutes.

We took the distance between telephone posts as marks and pushed 1.5 lengths at a time – not that we are lazy – just because it was a helluva hill, a scorcher of a day and we were pushing bikes, with all of our baggage still on it.

….eventually, we made it to the top of the hill (later referred to by a local as ‘the dominator’ or ‘eliminator’ – who knows!?) and hopped our scooters, delighted to be able to free all the way to Uitenhage – wich is as you guessed it only around 2 or 3km downhill from us.  We pulled into the first Engen filling station and filled both bikes.  Erwin finished first and his scooter sounded to life with the ‘rin-tin-tin’; I closed up my tank, paid the attendant and hopped on, pusing the starter motor the little engine swung eagerly – seemingly excited by a fresh batch of unleaded fuel – just to be let down by a lot of swinging and no actual starting.  My motor was dead.

We tried a couple of things, ran up and down the road trying to run start an automatic 😦   A couple of attempts/ideas came about – everything from following a guy on a miraculously-still-running scooter to Dispatch (a neighbouring town) to go and look for help at a bike shop of a friend of a friend to stripping the bike ourselves with our limited arrangement of tools checking anything and everything. Establishing we still had spark, a local also blew into the carb, to see if he had miracle breath or something else.  Over this daunting period of around 5 hours that we sat there, we saw loads of random Uitenhage sightings – loads of wheelspin, extremely helpful people with a little to very little mechanical know-how,  a good looking girl in a summer dress on a motocross pit bike with a pink motocross helmet, goggles and pink motocross boots that pulled into the shop next to us, and some other random things that will take up too much time to mention.

When a bike breaks down in Uitenhage on a public holiday and you've tried everything else... nap.

So I phoned one of my friend’s dad (oom Leon – whom we would be visiting in Eersterivier that evening), and he said that CK (his one daughter and our friend) have since moved to Uitenhage and would be heading back home later that day.  She was rad and organised a couple of her freinds to come rescue us with a bakkie, and to take us to their place until she was there.  The world is a very very small place, and so we ended up staying one street from where my mom grew up, very close to her high school, right next to her old church – even ran into my old Business Economics teacher Mrs Duvenhage right next door to CK’s friend’s place.  As I said, the world is a very small place, and almost too small for comfort.  Had a lekker braai and a kuier with CK and her bf – Thomas, whom took us in and made sure we were set until we could figure out what to do with the return trip.

We were exploring all possibilities of fixing, possibly shipping, renting a bakkie etc when Stiaan dropped me a message to ask how the trip is going.  I replied with a :”it’s not going currently” to which he offered to come fetch us.  To put this into persepective – Uitenhage from Stellies is a 7 – 8 hour drive – that’s a lot.  Would have taken us 3 days with the scoots.  We toyed with the idea and decided that that would be it – a friend in need is a friend indeed and one who offers to drive that far needs to be rewarded.

Stiaan would head up the next morning after a couple of meetings with a trailer to load the bikes on.

Massive dissapointment fell over both myself and Erwin that our trip has come to such an unforseen end – so abruptly.  So we decided to stretch it for at least another day with Stiaan included.

We woke up the 3rd with very little purpose in Uitenhage – and wandered down to the mall – I say mall, but it is more a couple of shops on the same premises and had a Wimpy burger breakfast with Wimpy coffee – always a winner.  A couple of silver Polo’s had me borderline heart attack and had me diving for cover – (you suck non-number remembering brain) – all cars here have EC plates – sheet! anyways…

We bought meat, liquor and sweets and strolled back to CK’s place, chilling there till the time Stiaan was outside to collect.  Stiaan dropped in fairly late, so we strapped the bikes, and headed for Eersterivier, Erwin and Stiaan inside and myself on the back with my helmet on so that I could listen to music.

Bikes loaded and strapped up

Leaving Uitenhage

We pulled in way after dark with the Kemps and company on the balcony, massive fire blazing, and got welcomed with a hug, a handshake and a drink to follow suit.  I had a laugh when Stiaan told me that he physically had a glass of red wine in hand before he had met anyone – that’s the beauty of hospitality.  This turned into a late night (or early morning) of sitting and chatting around the table, something that we used to do back in the day at Eersterivier over Dec holidays – topics are always interesting; stars, Egypt, God, angels, love, giants, planes, secret weapons, antigravity – you name it, we discuss it.  Eventually though, the four or five people left at the table calls it a night when one or more is asleep at the table and turns in.

Early morning at the yellow house - Eersterivier.

All that was left was heading home on the 4th.  I hit the first stretch on the back of the bakkie – listening to songs, and playing on my phone and we swopped spots after a Wimpy stop in Riversdale.  Erwin on the back, with the smell of suntan lotion in the air and Stiaan behind the wheel, scooters trailing behind, we set off for home.

Bucketlist # 14: Travel an extensive amount of km’s, exploring SA on a small engined bike with a friend or friends. Check.

…even if we did not make it back on the bikes, we had an epic adventure and still love the scoots.

*Sidenote – my scooter is still in the hospital – Piston and rings cooked.

**and some of the photos are ‘borrowed’ from either Erwin or one of the girls.

 

Edit – My scooter is fixed and going better than ever.  New piston, rings, sparkplug cap and clutch weight rollers.  Here’s a photo showng how ‘gaar’ the piston was.

A Good example of how a piston should not look.

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BL # 14 Build up

Hey peoples of the interwebs, you might have just accidentally stumbled onto my blog, or you might be a friend that got forced to read what I rant and rave about…

Anyways, I am a little less active on my blog these days – have had rediculous couple of weeks behind me – work related mostly unfortunately. The company that employs me, that I work for, that gives me moneys to do exciting things at times and severely mind numbing things at other times have had a bit of an internal shift and thus I am now the NBD designer – New Business development.  Sounds rad doesn’t it?!  It does?! Why yes – it sounds great.  But it does come with butt loads of work and I’ve been clocking in from between 5 and 6am most days.  I’m a morning person, so where as most people would dread this, this early I sparkle like a new age vampire – without the bad acting and metro hair do.

The point of this post though, I had a mind grenade the other day considering what to do for a Dec holiday.  I was so looking forward to heading overseas again, and just having a great trip traveling, seeing the world, backpack and camera in hand.  For these kind of adventures though, I have learnt that there is only a handful of people that you can ask or call on to join in, if you don’t want to go travelling alone.  And now you are putting up your hand saying: ‘I will come with!’ But you probably won’t.  Be realistic.  Most people are tyre kickers – they go and view a car just to kick the tyres, looking for any excuse not to buy it. In fact, go there hesitant, with very little intention to buy.

Anyways, I have a couple of friends, that when I come up with a mad plan, will be right there with me, busy with the draft and even if they can’t join for some or other reason will be with me every step of the way, cheering, sharing and enjoying.

When I was living in London,  I stayed with a couple of friends, one  of which was always amped for anything and everything, be it trying to hit up every skatepark we can find, or eat pizza and fries for breakfast every day for a week.  We became good friends, moving around, exploring London, partying it up crazy style, working weird hours, loving british comedy and drinking cheap beer partly because we could not afford better beer, and partly because you don’t get engine cleaner masked as a beverage in cans back home.

Sheesh, missing the point so bad here… OK, so I started formulating a plan for December, and came to the conclusion that I have not yet explored South Africa enough and that it is about time to take to the B-roads and have an adventure. With a small engined motorbike. With a friend or friends. Over new years.

I love that I mentioned this in conversations and I get 4 different replies (or type of replies):

1. The ‘WOW I love the idea and wish I could do it, (with some variations that ends in) “but alas” ‘ reply.

2. The ‘I AM doing it –  there like bear’ reply.

3. The I aknowledge that you have an idea and even though I am doing what I do every year and going where I go every year – I know better, and will tell you what to do and not to do or that you should rather be doing something completely different with your time reply.

4.1. You are crazy – and I like that.

4.2 You are crazy – and will die at least once a day every day, until you die to death or get home or run out of petrol, or end in a town like that U-turn movie.

I suppose all replies are valid and I am just as opinionated as the next guy so even 3 has some place for existence on the earth; same place they were last year, and will be for the next few…unluckies.

Reply number 2 was Erwin, always keen for adventure.  He commited without having ever ridden a motorcycle of any kind, no licence and no motorcycle.  Brave well spirited man.  Also above mentioned co engine cleaner drinking friend – just to tie up that massively loose hanging end of a side track.

OK, so that brings us to number 14 on my Bucket List – Travel an extensive amount of km’s, exploring SA on a small engined bike with a friend or friends.

Erwin and myself started chatting the thing through and after numerous desitinations we decided to let go of the Mdumbi in Transkei (3000-3500km return trip) idea and rather head somewhere we know we can get to and from in the limited amount of time a Dec holiday when employed allows you.  We then settled on somewhere far uo the East coast (Port Alfred to link up with some friends, or J-bay – just a tad closer on the return journey) – but that’s still to be decided. We will do our best to avoid highways (at least long stints on them).

Erwin got a slot for writing his motorcycle learner’s permit/licence and so that was set in stone.  If he passed the trip was a GO, if not, we would have to make other plans.  Slots for writing learner’s licences sometimes are only available from around 3 -4 months and so the fact that he got a spot was already rad!  He bought the book that you need for the test and came over to my place so that we could go over the stuff and check out controls on a real life motorbike and not the dodgy drawings in the book.  Around 15 minutes into the monkey puzzles it was apparent that I should not be anywhere near a road, not in car, on motorbike or on foot – in fact not even on Heely’s!  Trains and other forms of public transport should be OK.  Luckily I passed it years and years ago and so I can ride without worrying about what is legal – in regards to riding abreast in a one way, in two different lanes, in the right direction…

Erwin went and wrote the test, passed and the trip is officially underway in the planning stages.

We started planning with cheap-ish chinese bikes and scooters in mind – reliability a little, but more so re-sale value,  has changed all that, to either Japanese or Taiwanese bikes or scooters.  Erwin got a good bite first and bought a black Yamaha BWS 100cc scoot – well looked after and for a good price – incidentally from a guy that stays around 1km from me.

I am still looking for a scooter to do the trip with and so in the meantime we have gone for an 80km setup ride – where Erwin got to terms with his scoot – winding it up to over 100km/h and cornering like a true racer.  I was on the Husaberg – not really great riding partners the two bikes, but we had a good ride and good fun in hectic cross winds.

Erwin on collection of his scooter (pardon the Blackberry quality ohoto)

This is the route we will most probably be doing.

http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msa=0&msid=215396340923428767017.0004b316fb22f0c61e821

Around a 2000km return journey on 2 scooters - Epic FTW!

Let us know what you guys are thinking, and if we should be doing regular updates on the trip.

Anyways, that’s it for now.

I will keep adding as we go along.

Cheers

F

New update:  Here’s what I will be riding – A Yamaha Nitro 101cc 2007 model.

My favourite buddy

My brother’s little boy is now around the 20 months old…(guesstimating – severely bad with dates).

He is my favourite little person ever.

I don’t see him all that often, but when I do I just love playing with him.  He is fond of his sand pit and shovel and spent a lot of time moving heaps of sand – mostly from the pit to the lawn.  I know what you are thinking, and yes I am thinking the same thing; soon he will be building dirt jumps!  So proud!

Here’s a photo of Daneil – little bit distracted with my photo taking.

Everyday - shoveling

What am I up to…

Hey guys,

My bucket list is still going strong, I am just doing a couple of background things, that you wont see for now, but hopefully they all accumulate and add up to something fairly noteworthy.

I am doing smallish things on the side that gets ticked off as I do them, but they are not really ‘full postworthy’ – shotgun! and phrase claimed!

I wrote off my car a couple of months ago on the way to Namrock 2011 – taking care of two donkeys in the process – well; they were the process and the end of my car.  So I think it was just fair that the process also ended their lives.  And please don’t jump on your animal anti-cruelty league horsey now (or donkey, or fairy little pixie horse); it was 6am (dark, winter morning) on the N7, 12km from the Vioolsdrif Namibian border and the donkeys ran from the police and right in front of my car.  This sounds immensely unrealistic I know, but true story – the police were chasing the donkeys (I think they were evading road tax or something), trying to move them out of the road, in stead; they chased them across the road like dumbasses (and the donkeys were also stupid asses) when I proceeded to hit them doing roughly 80km/h.  Catinka and myself were in the car; we got out unharmed only to be frustrated by incompetent policing.

You can see the extent of the damage - the bonnet was folded onto the window from the impact - and that kept the donkeys from being lap donkeys.

The Blue Typhoon being towed to Springbok

So as a testimony of awesome friendship and love – our friends following 2 hours behind us squeezed us into their (already full) cars along with all of our belongings and we continued onto Namrock.

Namrock was a lot more intimate this year than last as the group was considerably smaller – a combination of factors kept the numbers fairly low, but this did not stop a lot of awesome things happening.

After Ford met Donkeys I was car less for a couple of weeks and in that time I was commuting on good deeds – driving my dad’s club cab or my brother’s 4.2l monster Land Cruiser…  Nothing shows you how much 10c difference in the fuel price makes, than when you only get 6km/l off 110km/h to start off with… I can tell you that much!

Once my insurance company paid out – not nearly enough to buy another typhoon, I had to make a plan, and being a severely pedantic person when doing car shopping, I drove anything and everything, even if it does not make sense for my lifestyle or if I could not afford it by a longshot (cue Alfa enthusiasts – Silver 3.2l GT and cue Audi guys – Blue 4.2l V8 RS4 with all the extras).  I made the logical choice – buy something 4×4 (must be mondo-capable otherwise I might as well not), small-ish (or at least semi-fuel efficient), deffo secondhand – if it can it WILL go off road and I don’t want to be the first guy to scratch my car; I must feel manly and look good-ish in it (no fiat panda then thank you very much) and it must pass the AA test with flying colours and I want to feel good driving away in it.  I had the other ticklist on the side obviously – you know the standard one – leather seats, aircon, power steering, tow bar, CD/mp3/USB player, good interior, rust free, good condition gearknob, elec windows, not scratched instrument panel cover, manly colour (no red/light blue/green/beige/purple on a 4×4 please), decent looking steering wheel, good tyres, good looking rims/mags, no accidents etc etc etc….as I said..pedantic.

I found a couple of vehicles that made the shortlist and settled on a Blue 1800 Pajero IO 5 door – henceforth known as ThirtyThirty (like Bravestar’s robo horse buddy).  It is fairly light on fuel – considering it is a 4×4, super capable on crazy terrain, not fast…at all, comfy for longer journeys (good thing as they take a it longer than the late 100Kw Blue Typhoon) and passed the AA technical with flying colours.

So now I try my luck on any terrain that looks difficult.

ThirtyThirty

Helderberg 4x4 trail

Dewald is visiting from DRC and he is a massive car enthusiast,  so we went to the Franschoek Motor Museum.  Most of the cars have not changed since I went there previously, except the Alfa exhibit made way for a Ferrari exhibit. We went for great cream cuppacinos in Franschoek after the museum.  I was super snap happy with the fish eye lens and took some awesome photos. Here’s a couple:

Driving there in Dewald's rocket ship.

a Rare McLaren race car - what a beaut!

Chevron racer in Gunston Colours

Ferrari Exhibit pano

We have been having braais on Bothmaskop with summer on the way.  Beautiful scenic views, amazing sunsets, good conversation and lekker food…excellent!

Enough wood to keep the fire going deep into the night

Magic

Good conversation, great wine and fire.

The view towards Helshoogte Pass

Wacky Wine was fairly eventful this year, but if you were not there, unfortunately you might never know. Blush by the kl’s.

Great day, good people, tasty food and wines.  Big headaches.

Stiaan and myself on the way to Wacky Wine

Marika, Debbi and Chris

On the way to Bon Courage (that's not a glass of wine...)

Chris at Bon Courage

Quick inset:

I almost forgot – I played a mixed Netball tournament on Saturday.  I know what you are thinking…and yes; I do look the bit in a skirt!  No seriously, I did ‘nt rock a skirt, but I had to actually buy another pair of PT shorts (previously I have been seen in a pair – 2 sizes too small at my birthday a year ago – some people are still undergoing therapy – scarred for life) so I could not wear those.

My options was trailrunning shoes with soft soles on Tartan court or old school Adidas sneakers… yes, you guessed it, I’m pretty sure those sneaks were designed for basketballers back in the day, so in my mind at least it was a great choice.

I played in 3 of the four games, WD, then WA, and the Center – the best one, my favorite!  Sheesh, what a fun game – I would totally play it all time if there was a club in Paarl.

I don’t have photos so all I can tell you is it was awesome.  Our team was nicknamed the Tappits – and most of us sported tattoos that looked like they were drawn on by a half blind drunk person and yelled obscenities about spinning and doughnuts in the car park (albeit a bumpy field).

Rad sunny day, excercise, lots of laughing and banter, and even the tiniest battle scar in the world to show for it.

 

So, no big ticks on the bucketlist at this moment, but keep your eyes peeled!

BL # 13

This past weekend was one of those unplanned adventures that turned out pretty excellent.

Stefan via Skype invited me to go go surfing in Muizenberg with him, Kirsten, Rayno, Michelle and a few other of their friends.  I have up to recently said that I want to join the guys on a surftrip – and to actually go in; but that never happened mainly due to reasons such as me not liking cold water (we stay in the Western Cape), my love hate relationship with sharks, and well mostly a combination of the two.

I was out on Friday night riding the Stellenbosch skatepark with my jump bike, trying a couple of rad things, coming short a whole lot of times, so my body took quite a beating, whereafter Stiaan and myself took a stroll around town, a beer, a pizza and eventually I got home and to bed around 1am-ish.

Saturday morning my alarm woke me a crisp 6:30am to start looking for my old second skin, pack, jump through the shower, grab some breakfast and then head through to town to meet up with the peeps at Kirsten’s flat 8:30 to hit Muizenberg 9:00am.  Alarmingly I could not kill my alarm as my arms stopped working after all the intense skatepark action the previous night.  I felt bruised and fragile – pretty much the feeling a couch potato would have if he was to get up and out of nowhere  run a half marathon – yes; that stiff and sore.

Anyways, got up, had 2 Compral pain tablets to enable moving of limbs and to gain muscle control, ate leftover Pizza, found my second skin surprisingly quick considering I have not used it in years, packed everything and hopped through the shower with tunes blaring from my living room and hopped in my car with some time to spare.

Ayways, whilst waiting for Stefan and Kirsten, I learnt that Rayno has a spare wetsuit that could possibly fit me and so I gave him a call.  Sweet, he would bring it along, one less thing to worry about.

We pitched up at a very grey, misty Muizenberg, but at least the ocean was calm and the surfing crowd not too big.  Ray and the others were already suiting up and waiting for us.

Putting on a wetsuit for the first time is quicte intimidating seeing as you have one available hand, a rubber tight fitting suit and a fear of beeing naked in public… well, maybe that’s just me.  The most random bit is probably when you get zipped up and your backfat/skin (whatever) doubles up and levels out at the top.

I looked like Ken (of Barbie fame) – smooth all overs… kind of awkward…at least I felt comfy and not too out of place.

Running down to the board rental spot, the guy that works there asks me what he can get me and has me standing in front of the surfbaord racks… serious…its like asking a kid in a pharmacy what medicine he would like to administer to himself when he is not ill – everything looks good, but realsitically would do more damage than good.  Luckily Stefan jumped in and directed me to a 7’10” Mini Mal board as thick as a Chav.

Looking like totally surfer, bru, I along with the other guys headed out to the water, board under arm.

Rayno gave us a quick instruction on the beach on how to paddle, jump, stand and look stylish doing it. Looked easy enough, felt easy enough on the beach with the stability of sand under board.

Hitting the water is a lot less unpleasant than you would think, with water temp 13 degrees celsius, the wetsuit keeps you fairly protected.  So running in was not too shocking (feet and hands excluded), until I turned my back for the first wave – when a splash of cold water got in at the back of my neck running down my spine and all the way to my crack! next wave comes – I hit it face on to avoid any more watery crack situations, annoyingly I get a shot up my right sleeve where I held onto the board and that spills all the way over my chest, stomach, groin, thighs, you name it, it’s cold and wet by now. Ice broken, but feeling and no doubt looking a bit more like Ken.

To put this in context… I have not been in the ocean in a long time, I mean as in 4 or 5 years, possibly even longer.  I tried to walk into the rivermouth the other day in Bushmans, but it was too cold and so I made it kneedeep before returning to shore.

Anyways, so there I am not really knowing what to expect but having high hopes for turning  pro surfer, doing gnarly cutbacks, boardgrab airs, and bottom turn reversing like the pro’s on TV.

Hopping on the board padlling to catch a wave you immediately realise it was not what you expected, I pivoted to the left with my left stroke, pivoted to the right with the right stroke and then suddenly was sideways over the board, looking a kid trying to climp over a gate and only making it over with his belly before hanging on the top beam arms and legs dangling off either side.

So after a couple of tries, at least I could semi stay on the board paddling.  Now to catch a wave. I jumped on the board trying to catch a couple, but for the life of me could not keep the board under me when I launch to my feet.  To keep on keeping on eventually paid off and I got to my feet.

I got up a couple of times, unfortunately standing atop the wave and not riding it out.  Rayno pointed out that I get up too quickly, so I actually miss the wave, even if I do stand proudly on top of it.

After another 10 or 15 minutes in the water I had to admit to I have no feeling left in my hands and or feet depending on what if any was still attached.  So I left the water for the misty beach, to try and heat up.

Luckily Michelle was near the bakkie and I could get Stefan’s key from her, grab a cold shower (after the water it felt like room temp) and then get dressed.  Once again getting a wet wetsuit off with one hand next to a car takes mad skills and just as I was butt nekkid, Kisrten rocked up and a homeless guy (not with her – just awkward timing) asking for something to eat… major dislike of being nude in public kicking into overdrive.  But a least I got dried off, dressed and started feeling my extremeties again.

After cruising barefoot on super rough tar to the store with a lot of giggling due to feeling like I’m walking on stubbs to get homeless guy some lunch, everyone got cleaned up and we had some breakfast at Knead.

Excellent ending to a great morning!

BL#13: Surf: check!

Surfing deffo something I am going to be doing more often; and now I can use terms like ‘gnarly’ and ‘I hate crowds’ with a little more authentic street cred…rad!

How I felt:

How I looked:

What scared me:

How I saw it in my head:

How I most probably looked to bystanders:

Good stuffs!

BL # 12

I am in no way a typical Afrikaans boy, I say this with the greatest of pride and joy; you will not see me running around initiating a game of touchies, or practicing cover drives as I walk in a shopping mall. I don’t do Opskop or Klipwerf, and Afrikaans singers makes me twitch like a frog in a french kitchen.  I don’t know whom is leading the super 15 and up to recently did not know that WP and Stormers are two separate entities, I don’t know the batting line up of the cricket boys or when, where and who they are playing.

I do however love and totally rock a braai, enjoy a brandy and coke, lol @ Tolla jokes (see what I did there – so down with the hipsters right now), hate Leon Schuster efforts after the mid 90’s and find Casper de Vries vulgar and pointless. And I like Afrikaans brought up girls.  There is just a bred-in decency and understanding, confidence, sense of humor and fullness of character that I relate well to.  I am not saying they aren’t around in English version; so please my English friends, don’t take that the wrong way!

Most Afrikaans girls though, love dancing… FULL STOP.

Every now and then a single Afrikaans song will come along, slip under the radar and grow under my skin, to the point where I will find myself humming it, or possibly even audibly singing it – to my surprise…of-coarse.

I am not comfortable in sokkie-sokkie situations. Langarm jol, or the two-step; concrete wind surfing as its called or ‘yskas skuif’ as one of my friends refers to it, have since recently not appealed to me.  Don’t get me wrong, I am a big fan of dancing in general, just not something where I need a specific skill set or where I can potentially destroy someone elses’ feet, and look like an idiot because I am doing it way wrong in the process.

I have danced with someone sokkie-sokkie vibes at one or two events up to now in my life, but this I can count on one hand…and this was normally cut short by fits of laughter, both ours as we were falling all over the place, and that of spectators; and yes it is a spectator sport.

My one lady friend likes these things though, she likes concrete wind surfing, she likes Afrikaans music, she likes Opskop, she breathes rugby and cricket (and I’m pretty sure her blood is green – careful boys you will be embarrassed when you talk these to her matter-of-factual and you have your facts inside out), she does not like brandy and she loves a braai.  She is 100% bilingual so unlike some well bred Afrikaans girls very fortunately does not ‘speak that red tale very deliciously since she was twice’!

Anyways, I am wandering off my own story line…

So I have been trying to get someone to teach me to dance in a safe environment for a while now – but with no results… and so I asked said lady friend to give me the necessary training to ‘skuif the yskas’ all over the place.  At first she was hesitant as I expect rumors of my stick-figure like dancing has traveled far and wide. But after a couple of months she gave in and tried to teach me the basics right there in front of the braai on some very Afrikaans music. (I was +1 to a wedding she was invited the next nights which I suppose meant that she had no choice). I was struggling to say the least, starting off on the wrong foot – literally, turning the wrong way, not counting, over counting, staring at our feet, stepping on hers, cringing on some songs due to their dodgy lyrics, music and or artists. Pretty much all you shouldn’t do.

She is a good teacher though, and I eventually got the hang of some of the bits, like the right foot start – incidentally the left foot start.

So we decided to call it a night and not to overload the delicate balance which is the remember versus doing part of my brain in a single session and we would have all the dance floor time we need to get this thing right just the next evening at the wedding.

OK, so the next night started off slowish, speeches, introductions, dinner and then music and dancing. We had a couple of hickups, bumping people out the way, mostly by my doing, well, by all all of my doing, but eventually we got it right (I say we, I mean me – she can dance), we got a feeling for one another and we had a ball of a time.  Out of all the people, wedding couple included, we spent the most time on the dance floor – right up the point where we realized we are the only people left at the wedding – literally.

Needless to say, at this point I was starting to feel a bit more dancy-ish.

We had another wedding together this past weekend – same story, couple of bumps, but we had the raddest time dancing together!  I might still be new to this, but I am confident in saying it is deffo more difficult than it looks, but also deffo more fun than it looks! Every now and then I spin around like a top with no idea what’s happening, but that’s part of the appeal I suppose, and I guess why people like it other than the obvious bonuses of holding on tightly to a girl for the duration of a song…even if it is an afrikaans nommer (or song…hahaha, sorry had to).

I learnt to dance!  So I think I can dance. I like it.

Suddenly I get the appeal of the dodgy afrikaans tunes, they all share the same beat – most of them perfect for ‘skuifing daai yskas oral rond asof jy by ‘n moving company werk’; it is not like I’m going to go out and buy the CD’s anytime soon, in fact quite the opposite (as I had my OD at the weddings) but I do get the appeal.

BL # 12: Learn to dance: Tick!  Photo graphical evidence unfortunately is privileged – not dirty dancing stuffs or anything like that, but still privileged.

Might just have to invest in some dancing shoes…

BL # 11

The biggest addition to my bucket list to date was planned for my December holiday.

I have been craving an international trip ever since I returned from London and it was either going to happen end 2010 or I would die trying…well maybe not die trying but at least give it a fair bit of a wrestle before giving up on the idea.

I posted a status update on Facespace a couple of months ago with an open invite for traveling companions and as always, a couple of people seemed interested until the day arrived that I started the hard planning at which point all but one person bailed.  I kind of expected it to happen, so I braced myself kept it in my mind that I just might be going at it alone.

A long time friend of mine, Walda said that she was keen to join as she has never been overseas.  Rad – that takes care of the traveling companion.

We flew in with Emirates – and now matter how ‘luxurious’ people claim an airline is… BS, no seat in the world is comfortable for 27 hours, especially not a seat with limited leg room, an impossible touch screen for ICE entertainment in a metal tube with a crying baby close by.  Luckily the 27 is interrupted with a 5 hour stopover in Dubai… here we started the massive spending spree on small Lumix digital cameras – just because.

Landing in Bangkok, you perceive it to be big, strange and fast paced pretty much what you expect from any big international airport.  Not so much.

We went off looking for Exit 3 for KhunJim – our driver.  KhunMarlene was extremely helpful and really went out of her way to let us use their flat and driver, maid and knowledge of the place to operate and get around.

First night however all you do as you hit traffic on the highway heading home is stare at buildings and massively oversize billboards.  We ordered in some takeout pizza – enjoyed with a sip of 10 year KWV that we bought in Duty free.  The bill for the pizza THB550 scared the crap out of and shattered our dreams of cheap food, cheap travels – as the THB1000 in my wallet that I had high hopes for turned into dust…

Saturday morning  we headed Chatuchak – the weekend market – a rad place with what feels like billions of stalls with clothing, jewelery, food, bags, curios etc etc etc.  Walda and I split up and embarked on our first bargaining experience for the trip.  I would love to go into detail on how this works, how to really get good prices from them, how to navigate this place, how to stay sane, what to and what not to eat, how to say Sawadeekarp without sounding like a seagull, but that would take more time than anything I have ever done in my life – including school.

From the weekend market we headed Kho-San Road – the hippy street as it is known is a party street and a shopping jewel with anything from electronics to dreadlocks anywhere and everywhere.  We headed to Good Well Travel and met up with a girl that t. Marlene referred us to to book flights, accommodation etc for the rest of our trip.  Here you take out the big moneys and try not to do the conversion to Rand as you will develop in involuntary twitch in one eye – possibly both.

A drink in the party street seemed in order so we headed to first festive place that sold drinks on this little deck thingy – as everyone has it – Samsong Whisky, with a soda and Red Bull mixer in a bucket each…eish!  We partied with some random people we met, had a great time and then had our drinks spiked…let’s leave it at that.

After waking up to go to the loo at 5am with the worst hangover in the world ever, I realized all we were safe, unharmed, our possessions still with us, both in our separate beds, but also like a splash of icy water that we had a full day tour booked that starts at 7am from Kho San Road… still a little cross eyed I answered the door to see that magically KhunJim (after freaking out because I was in my boxers looking severely shaky) was there and ready to take us to the pick up.

Our day trip involved 3 seperate attractions – the Floating Market – which was beautiful even though I almost died when I smelt the noodle soup with shredded something meaty in it…this was due to the spiked drinks still; the Tiger Temple which I loved; I got to pet some tigers and have great photos as proof; and the Bridge over the river Kwai with the Death Railroad…not really so impressive but good stuff!

I had plans to go to Chang Mai to see the old city, take river tours, trek a bit and ride elephants.  t. Marlene advised rather to go to Laos (Lao) the country next door to Thailand – so without much consideration it was so.  Landing in Luang Prabang International you really get a sense of how rural it is – imagine landing in a lush green mountain scene from King Kong and touching down in the river – if the river was mist and in the mist is a river.

The place is small, and I mean small!  The pilot did a u-turn on the runway and parked closer to the doors. Lao has amazing little restaurants, a great night market, friendly people, crazy interesting, delicious and outrageous street food including bats.  We got to ride elephants, which was Walda’s highlight I think.  Our receptionist guy at Jade Hotel was great and called Phonpasserth – I bet his mom was a gypsy fortune teller with that name.  We also went to the most amazing waterfall and swam there, swung on ropes and looked at bears.  Lao’s money is Kip – and you can roughly work on R1 = 1000kip…so a meal cost us 86000 kip…sounds crazy doesn’t it?!  Finding a tuk-tuk for the ride back to the airport the day we left was next  to impossible, and tour companies does not operate before 8am… problematic seeing as we had to be there at 6am.

Phuket was the next stop via Bangkok on Bangkok air.  Phuket, if you have been, has an amzing magnetism to it that draws you in, beautiful beaches, watersports, cheap massages on the beach, shops all over and what I guess the atmosphere to be in Mexico over a carnival.  Loud music, people everywhere and no one is pale (except me of course), drinks are all around from early day and spirits are high.

The scene changes ever so slightly as night falls… that’s when the true Phuket comes out to play – nightclubs blare out music and specials, 1000’s upon 1000’s of people run around everywhere, eating, drinking and then you notice it…hooking up with Thai girls…  What they hope to be Thai girls at least; I have to guess around 60% of Thai girls on Phuket streets are men… men with female bodies (some of the original bits are still hanging on for dear life), who is out to pick uo other men – westerners.  Yes; Phuket as great as it seems turns into a hole at night, with prozzies all over, no one even remotely ashamed to make deals or buy sex right there, right then…eish.

Our hotel; PJ Mansion was unfortunately a place where men brought their prozzies for the evening, so I decided to not let my bed covers touch me and sat up for most of the night listening to my ipod.  This helped as the rooms next to both mine and Walda’s were going off (we were in our own double rooms at separate ends of the hotel, because I was fussy over sharing a kingsize bed that they initially booked for us on another floor – but on the prozzie floor), with commotion, crazy animal noises, music, throwing up, you name it, they did it…

Phuket: where Mozzies and Prozzies keep you banging on the walls. (I coined this phrase around 4:30am sitting listening to music on my ipod)

Luckily our stay in Phuket was a short excursion and we left for Phi-Phi first thing in the morning.  Phi Phi is the island that was hit hardest by the 2004 Tsunami and with our luck there was another Tsunami warning for the 26th Dec… happily with little effect to water levels and in turn our health.

Phi Phi was such a beautiful place, and we had a pretty decent hotel around 100m from the beach.     Massive white beaches, turquoise blue water with excellent under water visibility, sun, massages, beach bars, shopping, fresh seafood, snorkeling, tanning and repeat. The place is a wonderland!

We got there on one of the massive boats that depart from Phuket and takes around 1.45h to get there.  Time well spent lounging on the deck soaking up the sun, and enjoying the magnificent scenery.  Our tour included an awesome snorkeling session off the coast where we could jump off the back of the big boat and a lunch which we missed due to the language barrier preventing us from any idea to do with where the lunch is held on the island.  No matter, after having a delicious seafood lunch at a small restaurant, we proceeded to the hotel and on to island life.

Phi Phi has such a rad vibe to it and you can’t help but fall in love with the scenery. If you look at it on an aerial photograph – it looks like an exotic upside down mushroom bobbing in a big pool.

There is so much to tell about this place, and yet, I can’t seem to put anything together…my mind is all over the place like a kid on a soapy wet tile floor, so I’ll do it brief point format I think…

Canoe tied to a buoy off the coast of Monkey beach snorkeling – awesome

Climbing to the viewpoint to see the whole island from the top – tiresome but worth it, not easier to run it as I hoped the next morning…

Private long tail boat for only 300 Baht each – snorkeling where ever we wanted to whilst spending the last hour overlooking Maya bay (where the beach was shot – yes you read correctly) – breathtaking, amazingly beautiful, crystal clear water.

Full body oil massages on the beach just after sunset, me falling asleep about 5 minutes in – yes please!

Visiting the Tsunami memorial – heartbreaking to see the faces and names of so many, and the hurting letters from their loved ones.

Christmas on Phi Phi – interesting, especially since they have little kids singing George Micheal hits…. Last Christmas I gave you my heart, the very… awkward!

People on Phi Phi – so friendly! awesome!

Traveling back by boat to Phuket once again turned out to be a massive headache with the tour company confiscating our tickets, and giving us only boat tickets leaving us to pay another Bht600 each for a taxi to the airport, and there is nothing you can do about it…eish!

The flight back to Bangkok was pretty good and by this time you kind of start to look forward to airline food…haha

The last couple of days in Bangkok was solely reserved for shopping… MBK, Platinum mall, Central World, Pantip Plaza – the list of shops and malls we wanted to was long and days few!

We dipped into Pantip Plaza for an hour and a half on the way home from the airport, but realistically, you need at least half a day in there…electronics everywhere and they seem to be organised by the way they change the colour of your aura as I can’t see any other system that would spread them like they are in that place.

10am The next day – our second last in Thailand we headed to MBK and did some shopping, I did farely well with standard T-shirt bundle and genuine replica watch buys.  I also ordered an extremely pimp fiited pinstripe suit with a waistcoat, custom width belt thingies for my normal leather belts, and an extra sports jacket.  Walda caved under the pressure when she saw me excited about my suit and got herself a pretty awesome fitted power suit with a shirt.  By this time my budget have been blown so long, I was not sure for how many months I would be in the red when I get back home…

The last day we hit Platinum mall and I made an effort to go into every single shop in the time we had available… quite a challenge considering the shops are packed in over 7 floors.  Once again, here I excelled in shopping get even more t-shirts, deck shoes (for when one day i go sailing), two pairs of dress shoes (for my suit obviously), but here I also ventured into the jean market and shorts market…eish!

We headed back to MBK to collect our suits and get decent size suitcases to get everything home, then back to t Marlene’s house to pack, chill just a little bit and then to depart for the airport.  The flight was on Emirates departing 12:30am on the 30th- so we had to be at the airport at 10pm on the 29th dec.  KhunJim once again ripped up the freeway and got us there in 25 minutes, in one piece……crazy times, but all good.  Pretty sad that I could not pack her in my suitcase to have her here permanently racing me around!

That brings us back to SA, with a Happy looking Barry and Roulene waiting for us at the terminal.

BL # 11: Thailand, Lao travel. Check

What a mad, mad, beautiful place!