Tuesday, 30 August 2011

So much kindness

I’m battling to stay on top of the wave!

This morning four Angolan Cabinet Ministers, not their attachés or spokespeople or secretaries who whoever it is that Cabinet Ministers normally get to speak to mere mortals, PERSONALLY phoned Jolandie just to make sure that she that she is being taken care of, to express their sorrow for her ordeal and to assure her of their support! Awesome? Amazing? Unbelievable? I’m busy wearing out the pages of my Thesaurus, but my heart remains filled with gratitude at this wave of support and concern.

I’ve always hoped that there would be no need for me to restore the Needs List on this blog, but alas, there is a need!! I’ve scraped together bits and pieces of previous lists, and this is where the time has come, like the Walrus said, for you to turn to the Needs List page to put our Jolandie back in Wonderland!!

If there is anything that you can help with, or if you know of anybody who can help with anything, or if you know someone who knows someone, or if you have any suggestions or advice, please help! You know the story: please get your people to speak to my people!

With all the excitement of yesterday I completely forgot to post the link to an article which appeared in Die Burger – sorry, it is in Afrikaans only.

Thanks to each and every one of you for taking the time out to follow Jolandie’s journey and for your support and encouragement. And thanks to Hoteis Angola – without your involvement we wouldn’t have been able to look forward to sunny skies again!

I’d like to leave you with a quote I read on my friend Mariella Furrer’s site this morning, in keeping with the kindness being bestowed on Jolandie. Mariella's My Piece of Sky project is an inspirational journey of healing and personal growth.

"It is important to reflect on the kindness of others. Every aspect of our present well-being is due to others' hard work. The buildings we live and work in, the roads we travel, the clothes we wear, and the food we eat, are all provided by others. None of them would exist but for the kindness of so many people unknown to us." ~ Dalai Lama

Donations or country sponsorships can be done through PayPal – visit the SPONSOR A COUNTRY page for more details!! Otherwise, send Jolandie or La Domestique a mail.

Please drop by and visit my facebook group or my facebook page. Click on a country to see many more photographs of my incredible journey around Africa!

Lovingly maintained and updated by La Domestique.

Abundant Angola!!

Before leaving M’banza Congo yesterday afternoon, Jolandie was taken to the police station one last time. The officers went over her statement in detail again, checking and double checking her descriptions of the four scoundrels that took Luna from her and the black Ford ‘bakkie’ that disappeared over the horizon with Luna and Jolandie’s expedition gear on board. Assuring her that the search has by no means been called off, she was taken back to the Governor’s residence to get her, by now, meagre belongings.

With Governor Pedro Sebastião
Waiting for her was Pedro Sebastião, the Governor of the Zaire province. Having a last chat in the lounge, he again apologised for the ordeal she was subjected to in his province before handing her an envelope. And inside? Generous compensation for the loss she suffered; his contribution towards a new Luna and the load she will be carrying!! Jolandie was totally overwhelmed by this completely unexpected display of generosity.

Having said their goodbyes, Jolandie was taken to the landing strip where a Beechcraft airplane was droning on the runway to take her to Lobito.

Eagerly awaiting her arrival were the guys from Hoteis Angola who whisked her off to a press conference.

I simply have to believe that in a country where complete strangers reach out so freely and with such ease and such abundance, Jolandie had the incredible misfortune to run into the only four bad guys within its borders.

Jolandie will be spending a day or so in Lobito before making her way back to Johannesburg. Without question I am delighted that she is heading back home and Hvir’s tail hasn’t stopped wagging since she heard the news. However, I suspect a hectic time lies ahead. Best I clear the decks!!

Ooooohhh!! And switching to whisper font, the new Luna may already have a name – don’t tell Jolandie that I made sure you’re the first to know!! There may be a Pink Floyd song title in the name. Sssshhh! I didn’t say a word!! Now it is just a matter of finding a bike fitting the name and gear to match!! Oooppss, I forgot about one teeny, weeny little detail: we’ll have to rustle up some funds, donations, pledges, help and chocolate cookies to make sure the new Luna et al get back on the road again. A.S.A.P!! Feel your heart sink as you read this – you will be called upon!!!

As always: Hoteis Angola – you guys are simply phenomenal! Thank you. And Governor Pedro Sebastião, I cannot think that I will ever have sufficient vocabulary to thank you for your magnanimous and big-hearted gesture. Not only to pull out all the stops to find Luna, but also for your sizeable contribution towards getting Jolandie back on the road. Muito obrigado!

The Beechcraft ready to take Jolandie to Lobito

Cockpit and cabin - only anorexic hostesses need to apply!!

The fighter jets that went looking for Luna. Oh, no! That's wrong, it's just fighter jets on the runway.
THIS is one of the two police helicopters that spent two days up in the sky with eyes peeled for a sighting of four scoundrels and Luna!

Donations or country sponsorships can be done through PayPal – visit the SPONSOR A COUNTRY page for more details!! Otherwise, send Jolandie or La Domestique a mail.

Please drop by and visit my facebook group or my facebook page. Click on a country to see many more photographs of my incredible journey around Africa!

Lovingly maintained and updated by La Domestique.

Monday, 29 August 2011

Nothing found other then immense generosity!

It is not often that I am at a loss for words, but yesterday I really was.

I was woken yesterday morning when Paul Buys and Burt Triegaardt phoned me from Soyo in Angola. They had mailed me on Saturday night when word of Jolandie’s plight had reached them. Their security team was immediately advised to be on the look out for Luna. Arrangements were made to accommodate Jolandie in Soyo should she choose to go there. They unconditionally offered their help and support – in any way it was needed.

I had a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes when I put the phone down in stunned silence.

When I turned my computer on, I found my inbox bursting with mails of concern, offerings of assistance and just an overwhelming outpouring of love, support and comfort for Jolandie.

I am immensely humbled and bow deeply to each and every one of you for your unconditional generosity! I’m sure I had an out of body experience – my skin was just too small to contain the emotion that swept through me.

Jolandie spent most of yesterday morning in bed, but was feeling better by the afternoon. It was near impossible to talk to her as she just lapsed into coughing fits! We were chatting on Whatsapp, thinking of names for Luna’s replacement when suddenly she said: ‘I hear helicopters!!’ My heart skipped a few beats.

Whilst I was pretty sure that I would be tinkering away here at this hour informing you of how Luna was returned to Jolandie unscathed, am afraid to report that my sincerest wish did not come true. The police helicopters had returned empty handed.

Can you believe: two police helicopters out for two days searching for Luna! Is that not just incredibly awesome?

It seems that Jolandie will go to Lobito today, then back to Windhoek and Johannesburg later in the week. And I guess then it will be serious regrouping, rethinking and reorganizing.

I can assure you that Jolandie is viewing this incident as part and parcel of the experience of cycling around Africa. She has no intention of giving up!! It will just be a mammoth scramble to get bike and gear together again to continue where she left off!

Sincerest and most heartfelt thanks again to the team at Hoteis Angola for their generous sponsorship and for going much, much further than the extra mile to make sure that Jolandie was taken care of this weekend.

A loud round of applause to the police and Governor of the Zaire province for their relentless efforts to find Luna and for keeping Jolandie safe, warm and cared for.

I sadly sign off with no photographs to post!

Donations or country sponsorships can be done through PayPal – visit the SPONSOR A COUNTRY page for more details!! Otherwise, send Jolandie or La Domestique a mail.

Please drop by and visit my facebook group or my facebook page. Click on a country to see many more photographs of my incredible journey around Africa!
Lovingly maintained and updated by La Domestique.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Africa gets a bit darker

Getting ready for my daily walk in the park with Jolandie’s favourite hound this morning, we were chatting about the night that was and the day ahead. She wasn’t feeling great – she’s fighting an awful cold and had a restless night. However, she was up and going and had already passed N’zeto!

And then I got the message I had always been dreading. Funny, I was never concerned about Jolandie being abducted or taken hostage or anything like that. Not only because of the excellent tactical training she received from Tacmo, but also because of who she is.

She is incredibly level-headed, she always remains calm, she is brilliant at thinking on her feet and she has a mental fortitude way beyond her years. I always felt that she would cope better than most in a sticky situation.

However, I always feared most for Luna’s safety. I forever implored her to tie a piece of string to Luna and to her wrist when sleeping in her tent out in the open!! But I somehow never thought Jolandie and Luna would be parted the way they were today.

There she was, coughing and cycling along when she heard a vehicle coming up from behind and slowing down. Nothing unusual about this – well-wishers and good Samaritans do this all the time. A black Ford ‘bakkie’ (small truck thingy for the non-South Africans) with four youths pulled up alongside her.

They motioned for her to get off her bike, laughing and joking. Jolandie thought they were inebriated and at first thought it all a joke. But when they got out of the ‘bakkie’, flashing knives and pangas, she knew it was no joke, though they were still laughing.

Quick thinking Jolandie said she wanted to keep her handlebar pannier as she had food in it. There was some food in it, but also her passport and money! And she also took her one front pannier – the one with her toiletries in!! What a girl!! Have passport, money, food and toiletries – can travel!! Good thinking!!

When the ‘bakkie’ with the laughing, inebriated youths and Luna disappeared over the horizon, Jolandie realised it wasn’t just a prank. This was for real.

She started making her way back to N’zeto on foot, feeling vulnerable and shaken. Hvir and I were pacing up and down because Jolandie was in an area where the cell phone reception was exceptionally bad and I couldn’t get hold of her to talk to her. I had to rely on the odd message she managed to send when there was a bit of a signal.

Werner, one of her friends in Lobito contacted someone in Soyo who doesn’t know Jolandie from a bar of soap, but he immediately started driving to N’zeto. Between Candido, her hosts in Luanda and Pedro, her contact at Hoteis Angola – her kind and generous sponsors in Angola - the Zaire province police commander was contacted and the N’zeto police was sent looking for her.

Now, and this is the part where all South African’s jaws will drop, not one but TWO helicopters were dispatched from Luanda to go and look for the perpetrators AND road blocks were immediately set up on all roads leading north looking for Luna!!! And by all accounts, if the perpetrators do get caught, they’ll sober up VERY quickly, lose their smiles and probably some other body parts too!!

Oh, and it only gets better! Back in N’zeto Jolandie was interrogated by about 30 police officers, wanting every bit of detail of the youngsters and then she was taken to a hotel and two guards were placed outside her door!! She said it felt as if she was in a witness protection program!! The governor of the Zaire province was notified of the situation. He hopped into his Lear Jet (OK, I’m getting carried away and am exaggerating – it was a Cessna, but still!!) and flew to N’zeto, picked Jolandie up and flew her back to his personal residence in M’banza Congo!!!!! Here a doctor was summoned to examine her and he gave her loads of vitamins and tablets for pain and fever!! (It did occur to me that a traditional healer may be called upon and that he may arrive with rabbit feet and hen’s teeth, but then I live in a different part of Africa – clearly!!)

Jolandie will be staying with the governor for the next two days while the search for Luna continues!! And while she recovers from her dreadful cold!!

I am truly and utterly stunned, amazed and humbled by the generosity, kindness, love and gentleness that is being bestowed upon her by so many, until recently, complete strangers in a foreign country. And so incredibly saddened that ‘them criminals, they are everywhere’.

I know I speak for Jolandie when I thank everybody, the incredible people in Angola, the wonderful facebook friends and many others who have been sending good wishes and support. You guys are all awesome and without people like you in her life, none of this would have been possible.

I’m very pleased that Jolandie has a warm bed to sleep in tonight and is being taken care of, but feel sorry for Luna who is with unkind and malicious strangers!!

But Angola seems to be the country of miracles and it would not surprise me in the slightest if I’ll be sitting at my computer in the early hours of tomorrow morning informing you that Luna has been found!!

Tonight I would not only like to thank Hoteis Angola for their incredibly generous financial sponsorship, but also for pulling out all the stops today to take care of Jolandie today. What an example of what sponsorship is all about!!

I have had many messages from people offering to help. If you want to help financially, please visit Jolandie’s SPONSOR A COUNTRY page. You can make donations via PayPal or directly to her bank account. And thank you so much!

I’m leaving you with some photos taken in happier times!

A day of firsts: First day being seperated from her beloved Luna and first flight in a Cessna!

The road north may appear smooth but is, at closer inspection, in fact rather rocky!!

Jolandie contemplating the road and an often seen HUGE tree

Come in, she said, I'll give you shelter from the sun (Apologies to Bob Dylan)

Hvir, Jolandie's favourite hound, desperately trying to come up with a plan earlier today!

Donations or country sponsorships can be done through PayPal – visit the SPONSOR A COUNTRY page for more details!! Otherwise, send Jolandie or La Domestique a mail.

Please drop by and visit my facebook group or my facebook page. Click on a country to see many more photographs of my incredible journey around Africa!

Lovingly maintained and updated by La Domestique.

Friday, 26 August 2011

Heading North

Yesterday Jolandie left Barra do Dande and headed north towards N'zeto! She left town being escourted by the 'Commandant' of the Barra province police - not to make sure that she left and never returned, but for her protection!! This is really wonderful!

Luna ready to head north ...
Luna taking a break!

Jolandie is certain that the real African adventure is about to start. Heading towards the DRC border she is expecting roads that will necessitate some serious bundu-bashing (and I fear take their toll on Luna's shoes). But worst of all, for me that is, is that cell phone reception will be limited at best! Aaaarrgghhh!!!

However, I have plenty photos of a wonderful few days spent in Barra do Danda!!

Arriving in Barra do Dande on Tuesday ...

A warm welcome at Pasargada Lodge where she was staying and the tables set for a feast in honour of ...

Jip, you guessed it!! How awesome???

Fresh from the ocean - to the fire - to the table!!

Arlette Jardim, the owner of Pasargada Lodge gave Jolandie a beautiful Mexican bracelet - a symbol of protection!

A cruise on the Rio Dande - on a not so luxury liner!

But the views are stunningly tranquil!!

Taking in some of the sights ...

All the photos of Jolandie’s time in Angola so far can be seen on her facebook page or on Photobucket – check it out. This is really a beautiful country!

Again, a sincere round of applause to Hoteis Angola for their incredibly generous sponsorship!!

Donations or country sponsorships can be done through Paypal – visit the SPONSOR A COUNTRY page for more details!! Otherwise, send Jolandie or La Domestique a mail.

Please drop by and visit my Facebook Group or my Facebook Page. Click on a country to see many more photographs of my incredible journey around Africa!
Lovingly maintained and updated by La Domestique.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Chaos, warmth and beauty

Whilst I was still 'stuck' in Lobito, I received an email from one, Pedro Bandeira from A.M. Travel and Services. A sponsorship proposal from Hoteis Angola.com! Woohoo! They had read about my adventure on an Angolan news website. How the site got to hear about me, I still don't know!

Not only are they sponsoring the Angola leg of my trip, but they also helped me to get an extension on my visa and organised a number of television and radio interviews! Every single day I stand in awe of how 'little miracles' keep coming my way!

Saying farewell to Lobito ... and especially 'my boys', was not easy! But I knew it was time to go, otherwise I'd run the risk of never leaving!

The road from Lobito to Luanda is a challenge! Firstly, the road is very narrow! There is no shoulder to the road, so nowhere to go but straight into the bushes. And you need to be a speed freak to drive on this road! Secondly, the HILLS! Looong climbs that will extract every bit of sweat that your body can possibly produce!

Your prize for your efforts - the scenery! Just when you think that you cannot face getting to the top of a hill just to see the next one ... you get to see the next downhill lead to the ocean! Woohoo!

And the people are so friendly! Here, people only ever either call me 'amiga' (friend), or 'bonita' (beautiful). :-)

On crossing the Kwanza river (the biggest river in Angola), I had the privilege to stay at Kwanza River Lodge. (sponsored accommodation) Here you have the Kwanza river on the one side and the ocean on the other. Unbelievably beautiful. I spent the night chatting and having a glass of Tassenberg (Tassies) with Manny (who runs the lodge) and Bruce (who used to run the lodge).

The next morning my hosts in Luanda, Candido Carneiro and his wife Linda, met me at the lodge. They would accompany me all the way to Luanda! And with them, 2 television crews! The whole day was spent cycling and filming!

My entrance into Luanda caused quite an uproar. The two TV crews, with their camera men filming whilst standing on the back of their trucks. One in front of me, one next to me. Behind me, Candido and Linda in their Land Rover. On top of the Land Rover, two big waving flags. One Angolan, one South African. I felt so proud having my country's flag wave behind me. Announcing my arrival!

It was a little overwhelming at first. The traffic, people calling out at me from all directions, my 'entourage'! That night I had a live interview on Angola's biggest chat show. 'Hora Quenta', with Pedro N'zaji.

Afterwards we had supper at Rialto restaurant. Food, song and dance in my honor. A huge sign with photos of me at the entrance.

I even sang a song in French. And they sang Miriam Makeba songs! The whole of Africa came together in that restaurant. People from as far as Cape Verde were there. It was a very special evening!
Afterwards I got to experience 'Luanda by night' and partied at a club called Lookal, right on the beach, till 4 in the morning!

Up at 7 the next morning with a radio interview on 'Bom dia, bom dia'. Afterwards a group of cyclists cycled with me through Luanda. I was also given 2 cases of Red Bull (much needed, but I can't carry it all with me! LoL).

And then, finally, I got to just laze on the beach! Bliss!

From Luanda, I head to Barro do Dande. I will have the Ministry of Environmental Affairs and Candido and Linda with me all the way there. Here, we will all stay in a lodge. And then from there, it's just Luna and I ... and the open road toward the DRC!

Before signing off, thanks again to Hoteis Angola for their incredibly generous sponsorship!! Without you guys, making it through Angola would have been so much more difficult!! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

Donations or country sponsorships can be done through Paypal – visit the SPONSOR A COUNTRY page for more details!! Otherwise, send Jolandie or La Domestique a mail.

Please drop by and visit my Facebook Group or my Facebook Page. Click on a country to see many more photographs of my incredible journey around Africa! Angola Namibia South Africa

Lovingly maintained and updated by La Domestique.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Angola - The place where I could lose myself!

Boys, carrying plastic bags filled with all kinds of groceries, hanging from their shoulders, arms and waists. Hoardes of people, customs control officers, cargo trucks, motorbikes, women with huge parcels wrapped in colorful cloth on their heads. A plethora of colorful chaos!
This is what I experienced as I crossed the border from Namibia into Angola.

In the days when I had my head burried in maps, planning my route, my eyes would always fall back onto Angola. In my mind, that has always beent he point where the adventure 'really' begins. The point where I would enter the unknown and be left to fend for myself. Real, wild, untamed Africa!!!

What I have experienced so far is worlds apart from the usual stories you'll hear about the dangers in Angola. Granted, I have never been so nervous to have a wee in the bush. Not knowing whether it might be my last. Landmines!! Probably the thing that comes to mind when you think of Angola.

I soon learned that the part of the countryI am traveling through is clear of mines. I alsoo learned that, just because you don't see people, it doesn't mean that they're not there! I am still amazed at how many people live in the bush, next to the road, some deeper in. And they are everywhere!!

My favorite time of day soon became the end of the day. As the sun heads further west and takes with it it's light, I would sit next to my tnet and listen to the boys and older men herding their cattle. Leading them home. Whistling and peculiar sounds, mixed with the calls of the cattle, sounds of birds, frogs and crickets. Then, when I have finished eating my supper and crawl into my tent...the music starts. And then the singing, and I can hear people near and far, celebrating the end of another beautiful day in Africa.

At the border I met Norbert, sent by Raymond in Lubango. He helped me through the border, with enchanging money, getting a new sim card for my phone etc.
In Ondjiva I stayed with a couple, originally from Zimbabwe, who have been here for almost 9 years. Further on, in Xangongo I stayed with a group of men in a compound called Bavaria. I arrived a stranger, but they welcomed me as family.

Then, before Humbe, my first dreaded 'customs control point'.
"If they give you any hassles, just play dumb", I had been told. These uniformed men, did not even ask to see my passport. They just smiled and wanted to take photos with me instead.

After Humbe, came a very famous stretch of road. Famous for it's ability to swallow a vehicle whole in some of it's very impressive potholes!!! This would  be the first REAL test for Luna and my gear. Would she hold up through all the shaking, ducking and diving potholes and relentless thick sand!?
82Km on the worst road I have ever cycled on. And I covered it in one day!!! Wooooohhhooooo.
And on this stretch I experienced tear jerking kindness. A taste of what lies ahead!!
About halfway through, a big Coca-Cola truck slowly rolled up towards me where I was taking a break under a tree. Two Angolan men, with beaming smiles got out of the truck. "Would you like a Coke", one of them asked? "Does Barbie have fake hair"(As Hanret would say) :)
And not only did they give me a Coke, they also gave me a block of ice and some cold water!! How awesome is that!!?? I thanked them and they moved on, leaving me in a blanket of dust...but with a big smile on my face!

Just before Cahama (from here there's a tar road), I passed two trucks with Namibian number plates. As I passed the first truck I saw two men standing next to the second, chatting. I hit the brakes and greeted them (in Afrikaans of course). And here, the start of another beautiful friendship. They stocked me up with enough canned foods to last me a week, biltong, frozen boerewors (sausage), filled up my water bottles for me AND gave me a chocolate! LoL. How lucky can a girl get? Randa and Desmond...my Namibian trucker guardians. :)

The rest of the trek up to Lubango was a long, hot, uphill slog. But I cycled, every single day, with a smile on my face. Angola is such a beautiful country! And the people...are so friendly and welcoming. I make a point of greeting every single person that I pass. (This becomes a little challenging as you make your way further North...it becomes a greet a second!)
In Lubango I took a three-day break. Staying with Raymond and Heike Steiner. A Namibian couple who have also been in Angola for close to a decade.
It took me sixteen days. Sixteen days of non-stop cycling....from Windhoek to Lubango. And it was worth every drop of sweat!!! Raymond and Heike treated me to wonderful food, great company...and taking me to see some of Lubango's most amazing and beautiful sights. This is the first town I almost got stuck in! :)

From Lubango, the trek up towards Lobito delivered more seredipitous encounters. I met Hannes Botha and Nico van Vollenstee (From South Africa), who saved me from having to spend a night without a sleeping bag (Lost my sleeping bag)...and have by now become two of my closest friends here in Angola. I also met another trucker from Namibia, who supplied me with ice cold Coca-Cola on two occassions on the road. (And some cold water).

Now...the lost sleeping bag story....is a long one. In a nutshell: I lost both my sleeping bag and spare tyre. Hannes and Nico found me next to the road on their way back to Lubango from Lobito. And they sponsored me a new sleeping bag and tyre in Lobito. Drove me to Lobito to buy the items.
My first night in Lobito, I spent with Hannes, Nico and Werner. Werner Weakley (From Namibia). Another person that will forever hold a special place in my heart! Someone that has shown me a great deal of kindness.

As I saddled up to leave Lobito, on route to Luanda...my first tyre gave in. Tread still good...but the tyre wall was finished. (These are the Schwalbe Smart Sam's I started with). Luckily I had a spare!!!! But....tyre 2 also gave in. And here, Werner rescued me. We couldn't find a spare tyre in Lobito. Luanda is too far away. So get this.....he had tyres couriered from WINDHOEK to the border. Where he has now picked them up and they are on route to Lobito!!

Words, can never describe just how unbelievably grateful I am to all these strangers, who have taken me under their wings. My guardians on the road....on my journey.

Sponsors are still a big problem...but what I am experiencing now I can describe by using the following analogy: 'you know that picture you get in your mind, where there's a fire, and you have people lining up, passing buckets of water to save what is theirs'? Well that is how I feel. Africa is lining up...and the people of Africa is passing me on, one to the next. Protecting what is theirs!

And so I find myself....stuck in Lobito. For now. ;)

Hannes, Nico, Werner and I at 'Zulu'. Restaurant in Restinga, Lobito.

View from 'Zulu'.

In Lobito.

There are hoardes of motorbikes in Angola!

Lobito Harbour.

Donations or country sponsorships can be done through Paypal – visit the SPONSOR A COUNTRY page for more details!! Otherwise, drop Jolandie or Hanret a mail.

Please drop by and visit: Facebook Group or Facebook Page

Friday, 05 August 2011

On the road to Cacula

Before leaving Lubango yesterday morning, Jolandie first met with someone for a possible sponsorship. Not a huge sponsorship, but just something that may cover some of her Angola expenses. Please all hold thumbs!!

Then it was back in the saddle, saddle sores and all, heading off in the general direction of Cacula.

People who pass Jolandie along the road are just so incredibly generous. Two South Africans stopped next to her and gave her a Coke and some droëwors – a happy reminder of home!! They were on their way to Lubango and would more than likely pass her on their way back again today – they left with the promise to bring her a chocolate!! How sweet!

(Just realised that I better explain what droëwors is for the non-South African readers: droëwors, along with biltong, are popular South African snack foods. Where droëwors is made by drying traditional, coriander-seed spiced boerewors sausage, biltong is strips of meat, mostly beef but also game or ostrich, that is dried and cured.)

And there Jolandie was, sitting at the side of the road eating some lunch when she could hear a truck approaching in the distance. All of a sudden the truck slams on brakes and screeches to halt. For one moment she thought it was going to crash. But the driver, a Namibian, hopped out and gave her two cans of Coke!!! Apparently the story has spread amongst the truckers about this crazy woman and her bicycle – everybody is being asked to look out for her and to give her something cold to drink or snack on! Incredible!

Unfortunately it isn’t only the highs that constitute a day – the lows also need to be there to provide some balance. Her speedometer re-set itself yet again today – very annoying if maintaining a rather high daily average distance is crucial. And then there was this guy on a motorbike (apparently plenty of those around) who followed her for about 20 km, constantly begging for a kiss!! I thought this was hilarious!! Jolandie was more annoyed than amused!!

Last night a tired and sore Jolandie turned in early. To reach the DRC border by 24 Aug, the coming days are going to be hard!!

Another flag to add to the collection!!

Scouting the road?

Mmmm... I'm not convinced that this is very 'cycling' friendly!

A day at the roadside in Angola!

Donations or country sponsorships can be done through Paypal – visit the SPONSOR A COUNTRY page for more details!! Otherwise, drop Jolandie or Hanret a mail.

Please drop by and visit: Facebook Group or Facebook Page

Thursday, 04 August 2011

Celebrating 100 days!!

When Jolandie hangs her panniers on Luna this morning and cycles out of Lubango, she will be starting Day 100 on the road!!

I’m therefore taking the liberty of dedicating this post to Jolandie.

I have enormous admiration for your courage, your perseverance and your determination to embark on this incredible journey! And by the ever increasing number of page views and followers on your blog, I have to infer that I am not the only person inspired by you!

If you were home, I’d organise a party with the essential good food, good wine, good company and festive music, but for now I send you a virtual cake. And I invite everybody visiting this page today to leave a comment or send a message and join in celebrating yet another milestone!! (If you want to leave a donation, that would be super awesome!!)

Happy, happy day 100!!! I hope it’s all downhill and that you have a tail wind!!

A quick reminder again that donations or country sponsorships can now be done through Paypal – visit the SPONSOR A COUNTRY page for more details!! Otherwise, drop Jolandie or myself a mail.

Created and posted by La Domestique

Please drop by and visit my Facebook Group or Facebook Page

Wednesday, 03 August 2011

Lingering in Lubango

When Jolandie arrived in Lubango on Sunday, she’d been cycling for an amazing 16 days solid. With no rest days inbetween!! In this time she crossed the border into Angola, covered nearly 1,200 km at an astonishing average of 74 km per day!!! Good going, Jolandie!! That’s awesome!!

She’s taken some time out in Lubango to rest her weary body, take in some sights and to work on raising some funds for the remainder of the trip.

And our Wonder Woman has also managed to get her Whatsapp to work again!! Whatsapp has been our primary source of communication, primarily because it is FREE and money is the one thing Jolandie has very little of! Since crossing into Angola, her Whatsapp hasn’t been working, which has meant that I’ve had one meagre SMS update per day! Now we’re back to chatting, I’m getting plenty gorgeous photographs again (visit her Facebook page for ALL the Angola pics) and I can pinpoint her location daily again!! YAY!!

Chatting to her last night, she said she was really eager to get into the DRC. Physically she is taking some strain. She has saddle sores that are healing very slowly and are rather uncomfortable and painful. Ouch!! Mentally she is quite frustrated with the time constraints the pending expiry of her Angola visa is putting on her (she has until 24 Aug to cover the rest of Angola) and the lack of funding to have this extended for a week or so. But, as we have come to expect from our brave trouper, she is emotionally strong and fine – as long as she doesn’t think about home to often!!

I’ve done some reading up on Lubango, just because I know so little about where Jolandie is at the moment and I have a sense that this place is a well-kept secret of some true African beauty. It would appear that Lubango, the capital of the Angolan province of Huila, was largely unaffected by the terrible civil war that devastated most of Angola. It is said to be a unique, tranquil and picturesque city, nestled in a lush tropical valley and surrounded by mountains.

Towering over the town is a dazzling white marble statue of Cristo Rei (Christ the King). It is a replica of the one in Rio de Janeiro and one of only three of these statues in the world. Just outside Lubango is the Tunda Vala volcanic fissure where you can climb to 2,600 meters above sea level and enjoy the spectacular view of the sheer drop to sea level (some photos below). And then for me, an avid Tour de France follower, the most amazing sight I ever expected to see in Africa – the Leba Mountain Road! This reminds me so much of Alpe-d’Huez, one of the hallowed climbs of the Tour de France and the mountain that decided this year’s race. The Leba Mountain Road winds its way up the mountain through a succession of precipitous switchbacks – it simply looks spectacular!!!

A reminder that a Paypal button is now available for donations or sponsoring a country – check out the SPONSOR A COUNTRY page!! So, if you, your friends or your company want to sponsor her for one of the countries on her journey, check it out. Otherwise, mail Jolandie or myself!!

The incredible statue of Cristo Rei

A view over Lubango

Sitting on top of the world!!

Awesome views!

The amazing Leba Mountain Road! Now those are switchbacks!!

Created and posted by La Domestique

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