Chapter 1: Arusha to Johannesburg

It have been 6 months of serious preparations for this project; emails, phone calls, meetings, presentations, begging /asking, sleepless nights, officials, and what not. It wasn’t an easy time, there was time I mentioned to one of my friend ‘this is harder than biking against pantagonia wind.’  It was also at this time when I faced so many challenges, that some of my volunteer support team suggested that maybe I should postponed for a year or so. But how did I feel? This is how it is. There will always be challenges when planning such an adventure. This is one challenge, just like cycling in the Ethiopian highlands or kids bothering you and demanding your attention while the climb also demands all your energy, determination and endurance. In this moment if you share with your friend back home, in the sofa, nice coffee, TV, etc and suggest you want to quit most will ‘Yes why not?’ 

Luckily with a flexible support staff, I was able to create Plan B.  I’m very grateful to Precision Air, for understanding my situation and agreeing with my plan B. They flew me from Dar to Johannesburg for free! Thank you Precision! This meant a 650km bus ride from Arusha to Dar, after which I was exhausted and had lost some enthusiasm, but I told myself ‘don’t think about it just go .

Dar – JHB, On board we had his excellence…. President of Comoro (it is a country on an island near Zanzibar and recently there was an attempt of an army revolution but the Tanzania army re-install his excellence). I sat with a fat Indian dude who ordered a ‘coke and brandy’ as soon as the flight attended had finished explaining about emergence  and giving chance for Q&A. When we hit some turbulence, my new friend said it was the Comoro army try to assassinate the president. Anyway I liked him. He has huge recycling farm and owns a  game farm as well, so he will definitely support my cause. He added that if I ever visit India I should sleep in shiek temple since it’s free and travelers are always on a budget. He claimed this is the only religion in India which doesn’t have a beggar!

In the JHB airport Hennie, my old buddy, is waiting for me. I like to address him as ‘the oldest person to do freedom challenge tour’ (a demanding bike ride across 3 African countries). He is actually going back this year to defend his position. A 66 yearsold doing www.freedomchalenge  Despite him being extremely busy he always has time for me. We had a good time in Joberg; talking about bike, birds, nature, taking small walks in big malls while making  fun of modern world.

My time to wait for the long flight to Buenos Aires through Dubai, Rio de Janeiro seem to be short as my family here seems to make me forget the past 4 months of preparation, but they never stop talking of climbing through the Andes and the mosquitoes of northern America. I can’t wait. I fly out to Argentina early this week.        

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One Comment

  1. Posted January 12, 2012 at 6:19 pm by Peter Gostelow | Permalink

    Dude – am excited for you. The World is your oyster. Soak it up and sweat it out from the saddle. Remember that your Brooks will take several hundred kms+ to break in. Looking forward to following your adventure.

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