Saturday, April 19, 2008

Finally in Jo'burg

Rhett at Milly's in Machadodorp

(posting by Andy)

The ride out of Mozambique was very stressful and Rhett and I were very uncomfortable prior to our departing road trip.  I got very little sleep last night hoping that we would not get pulled over again and being harrased from cops on the way to the border.  We did pass police officers but we made a point to look preoccupied and busy in conversation with each other in order to prevent them from pulling us over.  It worked. 
We literally drove passed two road blocks and each time prayed that they would not ask us to pull over.  It has been some time since I have prayed to God to help me out and the prayer I did prior to us leaving worked...  hoping each mile closer to the border into South Africa that it would go smoothly and for the most part, it did.  Rhett would literally count the kilometers to the border but laws only allowed 80 km an hour (about 45 mph) and we were so stressed... not fast enough... it was excruciating!   But we made it.
This morning we made it a point to leave very early (on a weekend) and the traffic was not as congested as on the way in and there were less people.  The abject poverty we saw on the way into town was very limited today.  We felt a bit better than we did in days past.  Anyhoot, we made it to the border and we did not get hassled.
Through the border we bribed a gaurd with money (150 metacais, about $7) to not hassle us and they did not even go through our luggage.....we have 8 bags with us so this was a nice treat!  Paris and Nicole have way too much and have added things along the way as most of you can expect. 
Once out of the border and back into South Africa we took a DEEP breath, smiled and high-fived each other and gave a loud Whoo Hooo!  Although we had to continue being cautious through South Africa it was certainly comforting to be back on familar grounds. 
Our trusty little Toyota took us on a nine (9) hour road trip accross South Africa today (600 kilometers!).  Topography:  we went through the bush, banana plantations, forests and lakes, wine country and flat land for a LONG time.  It is much like going through California at first, and then winding up in Ohio and Illinois by the end.  VERY boring for the last 3 hours or so but this time very safe. The road trip was easy to endure because the roads were paved much like we have back at home and Rhett thinks even better.  Did I mention to you that they drive on the left side of the road here and the driver is also located opposite of what we are used to?  We are driving a stickshift and it is located on the LEFT of the driver... takes some getting used to...  Rhett has been doing a fantastic job at it and I must say, he is a pro by now!  Kuddos to Rhett! 
In the middle of our road trip today we stoped in a little fishing (trout) town called Machadodorp.  This was a very (!) nice surprise to both of us as we had lunch along the lake with golden rolling hills behind us and ate a "smoked trout wrap".  Sounds wierd but actually very delicious!  The sun was about 70 degrees and we loved having the African sun back on our faces.  Most enjoyable and soon afterwards, back on the road to Johannesburg. 
We finally made it to the Hyatt Regency Johannesburg and we feel like we are home... well as good as it can get for two Gypsys...  God what a relief!  It is very nice here as you can imagine and are here for two days to relax for the chaos of Mozambique.

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