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Undeva sub curcubeu/ Somewhere Under the Rainbow

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Su Shi

150 vizualizări

Namibia 01-11 martie/ 1st-11th of March

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Windhoek. Singurul loc din lume in care numele lui Nelson Mandela si Mugabe sunt amestecate in aceeasi salata politica trebuia parasit in cel mai scurt timp. In fond venisem doar pentru a obtine o viza (bifat!) si pentru a cauta un service prietenos, plus piese de schimb pentru Tenere (amanate). Singura cumparatura pe care ne-am putut-o permite in capitala cat Galatiul a Namibiei, a fost prea necesara inlocuire a gumelor cu un set Heidenau K60 Scout. Solide in aparenta, speram ca sunt ultimul set pe care il montam in Africa! Am curatat si gresat glisierele de la etrieri, problema este ca la un etrier fata cauciucul de protectie este crapat: asta ma obliga sa fac intretinerea mai des. Despre uleiul anapoda (Bel Ray 20W50) pe care ni l-a vandut, la un pret nesimtit, reprezentanta Yamaha, alta data. Spun doar ca l-am schimbat, era musai, dar de atunci ambreiajul patineaza.

Windhoek. We needed to leave asap the only place in the world where the names of Nelson Mandela and Robert Mugabe meet at the same crossroads. After all, we had come only to collect a visa (done!), and to locate a friendly garage and supplier for spares to do some maintenance work on our Yamaha (postponed). The only shopping we could afford was a set of Heidenau K60 Scout. Looking quite solid, hopefully these are the last we shave on African roads. One front caliper rubber is broken, so I cleaned the caliper boots, something that needs to be done more regularly from now on. It was also imperative to change the oil, and the only option at that time was the Yamaha dealership. Huge prices there, all I’ll say is that since I put on the Bel Ray 20W50, the clutch started to slip. 

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IMG_8635.jpgWindhoek, where Mugabe + Mandela = L.O.V.E. 

IMG_8626.jpgAm platit doua locuri in dormitorul mixt din hostel, chiar daca ne-am inghesuit intr-un singur pat. Singura noastra consolare: wifi decent.

The only somewhat affordable accommodation in Windhoek was this backpackers joint. We paid two beds, but of course we cuddled in one, happy that at least we had a decent wifi connection. 

IMG_8629.jpgLa treaba, in curtea hostelului. Noroc ca sezonul ploios tocmai se incheia.

I am having some work done in the hostel yard. 

IMG_8614.jpgTKC80 terminate

TKC80, done

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Lasam in urma o saptamana plina: sarbatorisem, nu in Cape Town, dar intre prieteni, ziua Anei. Ne intalnisem, pe drumul catre Windhoek, cu trei baieti pe biciclete hotarati sa faca, impreuna cu un catel, drumul dintre Cape Town si Berlin. Iar norii, dintr-o data tacuti, se adunau in aceleasi culori tipatoare seara de seara, insa curcubeele lor se risipeau, prea scurte acum, pe final de sezon ploios, pentru a lega cer si pamant. Numai semne bune.

We had had a pretty intense week: Ana’s b-day party, not in Cape Town, as planned, but among lovely people. We had also encountered 3 German dudes and their dog, determined to bicycle from Cape Town to Berlin in 4 months. Ahead of us, the rainy season was cooling off, epic cloudscapes still threatening with thunder, but already too week to spread their rainbows downy to the earth. Dry season was nearing, and we were loving the news.

IMG_8564.jpgBere, vin, braai si fete vesele (Melissa si Ana)

Beer, wine, braai and two joyful girls (Melissa and Ana)

IMG_8571.jpgMerlot indulcit sub soarele sud-african

South African Merlot

IMG_8573.jpgIntalnire cu Daniel 1, Daniel 2 si Pirco. Nomazi ca si noi, dar pe biciclete si insotiti de un patruped fidel

Meeting our fellow nomads, Daniel 1, Daniel 2 and Pirco

IMG_8574.jpgAm schimbat informatii despre vize si malarie…

Important health and visa information was exchanged… 

pano_namibia_sprewndk.jpgNorii au agatat un curcubeu la uscat… 

Clouds stretched a fading rainbow above… 

IMG_8586.jpgAm campat sub stele, si luna a rasarit imensa, plina

We pitched out nomad home under the stars and at 9 p.m. a full moon cast shadows over the veld 

IMG_8588.jpgSoarele nu s-a lasat mai prejos

A cheeky sun followed up the next morning

Auzisem, dar nu ne asteptam, ca drumul, putin umblat, dintre Windhoek si Namib Naukluft sa fie atat de frumos. Gatuit intr-o fabuloasa succesiune de trecatori, pietrisul s-a asternut serpuit, de-a curmezisul campurilor aurii cu pompe eoliene de apa si turme de babuini in cojoc cafeniu, apoi mai sus, peste culmi cu grohotis de cuart in care citeam propunerile pentru kuler ale florilor de munte. 

The little used road that links Windhoek to the southern part of Namib Naukluft was supposedly beautiful, but the ride exceeded our expectations. The gravel swirled up across a breathtaking succession of passes, hairpins cut through golden veld punctuated by wind-powered water pumps, travelled by families of thick furred baboons. Wild flowers were putting kuler to shame and quartz filtered the last rays of the day.

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Dintr-o data, in labiritul ametitor de ace de par, in  orizontala indiferenta a gardurilor de sarma, o sansa, o oportunitate. Fructificata la maxim, pentru un bivuac de milioane. 

I spotted a breach in this alpine bungee, in the monotonous horizontal of wire fencing, a chance, an opportunity. So I took it, and found another stunning wild camp.

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IMG_8688.jpgBolovani translucizi… cum sa ramanem ‘de piatra’?

Translucent boulders scattered 

IMG_8668.jpgFler de nomad, pe bune! De multe luni ‘mirosim’ de departe locul potrivit pentru a pune cortul.

Months of wild camping paid off: we had become pretty good at smelling a good spot

IMG_8698.jpgUn soare apune… 

Another sunset… 

IMG_8708.jpgO luna rasare!

Another moonrise!

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Un foc de tabara pentru a face fata vantoasei, un somn odihnitor in aer de munte si o dimineata aspra, rece, spartana. Dar cateva ore mai jos, in miezul desertului celui mai batran din lume, nisipul si lumina sunt incinse la zeci de grade bune mai sus. Treceam, pentru prima oara, Tropicul Capricornului, si, pana sa imortalizam evenimentul, a trecut pe langa noi, apoi a facut cale intoarsa si s-a oprit la taclale un sud-african pe un BMW F 650 Dakar. Reiner este biolog si urma sa ne tina (partial) companie prin desert intr-un maraton de 3 zile si jumatate, care avea sa se incheie in orasul sau natal, Cape Town. Pentru inceput, am impartit felii de rasfat in brutaria din Solitaire, apoi bere in barul chic din Sesriem, de ciuda ca nu ne permiteam un safari pe dune. Dar drumul ne-a consolat cu ace de par intre plete de piatra si cu fabuloase turme de animale libere, sute de antilope, zebre, girafe si struti, raspandite de-a lungul unei variante putin umblate, dar pe care Reiner o stia dintr-un trip trecut.  

We gathered near a fire, then the strong cold wind forced us inside. The spartan morning was fast, wind still blowing untamed, but luckily the air got hotter as we descent down to the desert. Our first stop was at the Tropic of Capricorn signpost. We were preparing to take the compulsory photo, when a guy on a BMW F 650 Dakar passed by. Minutes later Reiner, original from Cape Town and just returning from a 3 week solo ride through the region, came back. It was the beginning of a fun 3 and a half day marathon to the Mother Town; sometimes we rode together, sometimes we separated, only to meet again for a pie in Solitaire, a beer in Sesriem, or a chat about how we could not afford the ridiculous price for a safari in the famous Dead Vlei (another park forbidden to motorbikes). The gravel roads were excellent, wide and empty, only vast herds of hundreds of zebras, springboks, oryx, giraffes and ostriches shared them with us.

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IMG_8753.jpgDeparte de Ecuator, amintindu-ne cu nostalgie si de Sahara

Far from the Ecuator, memories of Sahara also lingered

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Riderii se inteleg din priviri: pietrisul era palid, cerul adanc, ploaia ameninta tacuta. Dar am intrat in ochiul negru al furtunii, increzatori ca vom gasi dincolo de orizont o oaza de liniste, un bivuac confortabil, si poate un curcubeu. 

Riders understand each other: the gravel was fair, the sky deep, the rain threatened to come. But we rev our bikes into the black eye of the storm, confident that we would find over the next horizon a quiet place to camp.

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Aerul era sarat, peste intinderea stearpa de nisip si acacia o lumina purpurie, stranie. Dar adevarata drama se arcuia deasupra. Curcubeul, dublu, rotund, sub care ne-am intins tabara, un ultim popas inaintea ultimilor 590 de kilometri de drum pana la canion. 

The smell of dry desert lingered, but the real drama was unfolding above; we needed to stop before the last 590 kilometers to the canyon and we knew had found the right spot, under yet another epic rainbow.  

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Dupa show-ul fabulous al apusului, dimineata a fost proaspata, clara: am rulat bine de-a lungul dunelor care iau nastere la mii de kilometri distanta, la izvoarele fluviului Orange, in masivul Drakensberg, apoi sunt maturate pe costa Namibiei de inghetatul curent Benguela. Dunele cu inaltimi record din desertul Namib alcatuiesc unul dintre cele mai aride si mai extreme ecosisteme din lume. Pe umerii lor aramii, fragilul detritus, un strat de resturi organice si vegetale care constituie sursa de baza pentru hrana si apa in desert. Dupa o noapte cu ceata, detritus poate contine apa in proportie de pana la 60% din masa totala, pentru ca in timpul zilei procentul sa scada la 2-4%!

After the fabulous show of the sunset, the morning felt calm and clear: we rode along the scarlet dunes of the desert, born thousands of miles away, in the Drakensberg mountains, from where the Orange River sweeps ochre sand into the cold Benguela current. The massive dunes - one of the most extreme and inhospitable ecosystems in the world - are stingily covered with detritus. This fragile layer of dry and dead plant and animal debris is the basis of food web in the desert. After a good night of fog, it can contain up to 60% of its weight in water, and as low as 2-4% during the day.

IMG_8867.jpgReiner

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Cateva ore de condus prin arsita si ajungeam, in sfarsit, aproape de ultima tinta pe itinerariul namibian. Unde aveam sa ne regasim, la o bere, cu Reiner.

A few hours of non-stop riding later we had arrived at the last turn towards our last Namibian target. Which we celebrated with the last couple of beers with Reiner.

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Windhoek Lager rece, un plin de benzina si inca o opintire: in cateva zeci de kilometri intram, ‘triumfal’, in cel ce-al doilea canion ca marime din lume. Fish River Canyon se casca brusc, 160 km de lung, 27 km de lat, 550 metri de adanc. Pentru ca vara era deja pe sfarsite, raul, care de 650 de milioane de ani macina necontenit dolomitul, abia umplea cateva balti pe fundul haului.

Crisp Windhoek Lager, another tank filled and another stretch of gravel to the second largest canyon in the world and the largest in Africa. Fish River Canyon opened below into a gigantic dolomite ravine, some 160 km long, up to 27 km wide and 550 metres deep. The river, 650 million years old, cuts intermittently into the dry, stony plateau, sparsely covered with drought-resistant plants. But it was the end of summer, so only a few long narrow pools still lingered.

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Am pornit spre locul de re-intalnire cu Reiner cand se facea deja noapte. In Africa soarele sprinteaza sub orizont, am invatat demult ca trebuie sa ne cautam din timp un loc de campat. De data asta insa, nu am avut de ales. Am mers cat mai incet, cat mai atent, lasand loc de trecere pentru zebrele si antilopele kudu trezite din somn de zgomotul tobelor. Obositi, am decis sa ne punem cortul afara din rezervatie, astfel Reiner avea sa ne zareasca, pentru a-si lua ramas bun, pe drumul catre granita.

We spend a bit too much time gazing into the canyon, witting for the sun to set, snacking on a brief dinner. Setting off in the already deep darkness, we knew it was too late to reach our meeting point with Reiner. Riding at low visibility avoiding the wildlife proved quite demanding, so soon after we could exit the protected area we stopped to set camp. 

IMG_8988.jpgUn bivuac singuratic, doar chemarile sacalilor condimentand linistea desertului

A lonely, romantic place, only the jackals kept calling into the night

IMG_8995.jpgUltimul rasarit in Namibia. Urmatorul soare avea sa ne dea trezirea in Africa de Sud, unde urma sa parcam, cu mandrie, primul motor care a batut drumul tocmai din Bucuresti pana in Cape Town.

The last sunrise in Namibia. The next one would happen on South African territory, where we were about to proudly set a record, driving the first motorbike from Bucharest to Cape Town.

Treptat, ascutisurile de piatra s-au potolit, drumul a devenit nisipos, selenar. Inaintea noastra se asternea infinitul, capatul lumii. Orizontala ne ardea retina: albastru plat si maro, cer si desert, atat. Intre ele, noi doi, increduli ca nu am gresit directia, ca dincolo de pustiu nimicul va redeveni ceva.

Kilometer by kilometer the sheer rock faded away into an infinite moonscape. It was the end of the world. Blue, flat, an artificial-looking sky floated upon an even stranger papier-mâché of sand and brittle gravel. Was that the right way? How could that surreal nothingness become something again? 

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Asfaltul, stranie creatie! Dintr-o data l-am regasit, taind cu cruzime desertul, ducand, drept, sec, catre o granita importanta. Granita dintre Africa neagra, profunda, muma, si America Africii.

But suddenly we saw the tarmac snake, a cruel, perfect cut across the desert, leading straight to one of the most important borders, the one that separates black, vernacular Africa from the African America.

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Aveam fluturi in stomac: ajungeam, dupa noua luni cat noua vieti, in Africa de Sud! Intram din nou, dupa frontierele fundamentale dintre Mauritania si Mali, dintre Benin si Nigeria si dintre RDC si Zambia, pe taram necunoscut. Am strans sub pleoape soarele fierbinte, si i-am dat gaz.

We had butterflies in our stomach: we would soon cross, after nine months as intense as nine lives, into South Africa. After the fundamental Mauritania - Mali, Benin - Nigeria and DRC Zambia frontiers, we ventured again, full throttle, into the unknown.   



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