Bogani yelled out out the window in Afrikaans, " Dit is vir my , Bogani. Dit is die Amerikaanse ek jou vertel het nie ... moenie skiet." I speak a little of the language, enough to recognize, "don't shoot". The mood quickly eased and the gentlemen lowered their weapons and approached our vehicle. I looked at Bogani and he gave me a wry smile. By now our vehicle had curious faces looking in on me. One of them identified himself in thick English as, Luc. "So, you are the American we have heard so much about?" I didn't bat an eye, but my mind was racing...how much had Alu opened his mouth? "Why do you want to go there?" Luc asked. "A minor loose end I'd like to resolve", I lied. "Hmmm, cost you...". It always does. I pulled out my wallet, hoping what I had there would satisfy them as I was anxious to get moving again, the sweat starting to run from my forehead. A quick hand reached in and snatched the wallet. My new guide took it all and tossed the wallet back in as he turned to walk away. "Hey...I got the better deal" I said, holding up my wallet. He tossed a fifty dollar bill back in and laughed, "You are funny, my American friend". I breathed a sigh, knowing my main cash supply was still safely tucked away. In an instant, we were all back on the road, still heading West.
Wednesday, January 28, 2015
My internal compass told me we had made a turn to the West, even if my driver didn't tell me. I cracked my left eye open - the one away from Bogani - we definitely weren't headed to Malesbury. The flatlands were covered with low, dry vegetation with mighty hills in the distance. I'd been in this type of situation before and knew I could handle myself. That was, until the vehicle came to a screeching stop as 3 trucks raced onto the road from behind the brush to stop us. As assortment of vz. 58's made their appearance as a motley group of "gentlemen" exited the trucks. Things had just taken an interesting turn...
Tuesday, January 13, 2015
The plane touched down in Cape Town and I chuckled to myself, Alu had thought of everything. I exited near a logistics building rather than the main terminal. Fewer questions that way. A stout young man introduced himself as Bongani and ushered me through a chain link fence gate and towards an old Range Rover...a '67 I guessed. My bags, hastily packed back home were brought up and unceremoniously dumped in the back of the vehicle. I didn't expect anything different. He told me our trip was about 59 klicks north as we started out on the M7. I was excited, but needed to get some shuteye. Bongani wasn't much company as he idly hummed a tune called Sarie_Marais. I pulled my Ball Cap down over my eyes dozed lightly.
Tuesday, January 6, 2015
The phone rang. It was 3am. A raspy voice on the other end that I immediately recognized as Alu, a South African scout I've known for some 20-odd years tells me to get there as soon as I can. I bolted up in bed, my head swimming..."He's found it!", my brain exclaimed. "Gimme 24 hours, maybe a little less", I told him, "People owe me a few favors". I hung up, wasted no time in grabbing a few essentials. Now, somewhere nearing the Equator I have a few minutes to write...my trusty Belem backpack at my feet and my eyes staring out towards what will be Cape Town and touch down...