Day 5 – Cape Town

16 Sep

The Beast takes pride of place in front of the Cape Town Hilton

I’m writing this post from my laptop. This is notable because when I tried it last night my laptop was broken.

At home, pesky little annoyances like that quickly make me irritated, but here, just as it was all the times I’ve been travelling by bike, the automatic response is one of resourcefulness. You immediately slip into problem solving mode because there’s no other option.

My laptop holds my route planning software and it was to be my means of copying photos and videos off memory cards to make way for the next round. More than that, one thing I remember very clearly about my round the world trip is how the laptop I’d taken along for the very same reasons broke somewhere in France, and when I finally found a replacement in Italy I discovered it was a duff that wouldn’t even switch on, and by then I was already in Croatia and could do nothing. It took me until Mongolia to find a replacement laptop, which, judging by the files I found on it, had probably been stolen from an American diplomat…

I have a bad history with travel and technology, so it should have pissed me off but I just switched to problem solving and was surprised to find myself entirely calm about it.

And I fixed it, eventually. Get this: Learn how to root my spare Android phone, so that I could then install DroidDrive, which let me use my phone as a USB bootable disk so that I could install Ubuntu then use a boot repair program so that I could finally get back to Windows. 2 hours of IT self-support of which I most proud.

Stunning view of Table Mountain from my hotel suite

And I wasn’t bothered about losing 2 hours out of the day because Cape Town was cold, windy, and rainy.

As well as the laptop I’ve resolved issues with the truck’s electrical charging system, fuel gauge, 12V power socket (essential for charging GPS, camera, phone, laptop, gopro, drone….), and data roaming issues on my phone, and I’ve contended with bad weather, the hotel parking issues, traffic nightmares, credit card failures, and so on. All just normal for overland travel, and none of it comes close to bothering me because I remember being stuck in a thunderstorm in a Siberian forest on a motorbike with a broken frame, blocked carburettor, and dead battery, on my own, very literally 1000 miles from the nearest civilisation, and I got through it.

Cape Town traffic is just like anywhere else

The Beast (nickname pending confirmation) was still parked out front of the Hilton this morning, unmolested. Hope for the same tonight. After an “exclusive and complimentary” breakfast in the executive lounge (away from the plebs) I did a tour of Cape Town suburbs to find an amazing hypermarket, an amazing liqor store, and an incredible camping store, where I stocked up for the trip.

The incredible Brackenfell Pick’N’Pay Hypermarket

Cape Town has amazing supermarkets, liquor stores, and camping supplies, full of incredible stuff I wish I could get at home, dirt cheap, and with incredibly friendly service. Every person I’ve encountered in SA so far has been amazing.

The even more incredible Outdoor Warehouse at Willowbridge

With enough water, wine, food, diesel, gas, cameras, memory cards, South African Rand, roadmaps, and biltong to propel an army, I’m now ready to hit the road. First stop, Namakwaland, and hopefully some bush camping with better weather than there is in Cape Town. I’m getting used to The Beast. It’s starting to feel like mine, which is good seeing as how I’ll be living in it for a month, and it’s starting to feel less gigantic.


Best of all, the weather seems to be clearing and just before I return to the executive lounge for a final batch of champagne and hors d’oeuvres, Table Mountain re-appears from behind the gloom for the first time today.

Cape Town as the skies begin to clear

Well then. Enough fannying about with champagne, rainstorms, and luxurious bathrooms with heated floors, bring on the scorpions, lions, sand, and camping under the stars!

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