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March 7, 2000
Elizabeth to Jeffrey's Bay
Hello! What a much better day this was than yesterday! A do-able day. People were having a great time. I was still in the sag wagon with the flu but I got to watch the riders come in and everyone looked happy. The distance was shorter and there was a tail wind. Iíll bet nearly everyone rode the distance today.
The DRG directions were complicated and some of the roads were unmarked. The driver of the sag wagon kept getting lost and having to backtrack. I didnít get to see dancing ostriches today or anything of particular interest from the windows of the sag wagon. It is infinitely more interesting to be on my bike.
We are camped tonight on the shores of the Indian Ocean so once again I am going to enjoy the lullaby of the waves. It is beautiful here but still no sunshine. No rain either -yet- so thatís okay. When the sun shines it works a hardship on some people who are sensitive to heat. We have been warned that it is going to be colder in Greece when we get there in a week or so. I am not looking forward to cold weather again.
My tent has a problem in that water accumulates between the footprint and the tent floor. Thatís been going on for some time. But last night it seeped through the tent floor and made the underside of the air mattress damp. Of course when I rolled it to put it away this morning the wet and the dry sides came together. This afternoon even though there was no sunshine the breeze was enough to dry everything, luckily. I am working on what the cause and the cure could be. Another tent problem is that the fly has become moldy, tiny black spots everywhere. The solution to that problem may be a bathtub and vinegar. My mother says vinegar kills mold. Iíve been looking for vinegar and Iíve found exotic vinegars like balsamic and I have also found spirit vinegar and artificial vinegar. Artificial vinegar! What I want is just plain white vinegar. Or cider vinegar would do. Then I will have to call my Mom again to ask how much to use. My roommate in East London, Al, was tickled by the idea that at age 60 I still need to call my mother to find out what to do.
Now weíre in line. This is the dinner line. We had to walk a kilometer to get here and once here found the line to be a kilometer long too. Iíve been in line 20 minutes and am not close enough to actually see the food yet. This is a steakhouse, but Iíll bet we get spaghetti. Everyone feeds us spaghetti.
March 8, 2000
Bay to Storms River
I was right and wrong. We did not get spaghetti at the steak house but we didnít get steak either. Instead they served very raw hamburgers and beef curry. People devoured those hamburgers and I did hear someone mention E. coli, so not all were ignorant of the risk. I chose to have only the beef curry and enjoyed it.
There doesnít seem to be one identifiable characteristic about South African food but instead a mix influenced by the people who have settled here. There are Indians so curries are on the menu, Europeans thus meat pies are common, and maize which must be a staple of the black population. I think I read that there are 11 different languages so perhaps there are at least that many different cuisines. There are two foods that I have seen over and over. One is milk tart and the other biltong. All milk tarts are not equally delicious so choosing to eat a slice is like taking a chance on a slice of pie in the States. When it is good it is very good, but when it is bad it is well, not horrid maybe but bland at least. It is not the same as a custard pie, but close. Lots of cinnamon should be sprinkled on the top. Biltong is a version of jerky only it looks sort of scuzzy and is very unappealing to me. We havenít been served any as like jerky it is expensive, too much for the economy budget our vendors have to use. It is sold everywhere and there are even biltong shops where many varieties are available. You can choose your animal: beef, kudu, ostrich and others. It comes in flavors: plain, chili, curry, barbecue.
The ride today was easy, only 100 km., reasonable hills, no headwind, only sprinkling rain. The landscape changed dramatically today. Gone are the vast rolling hills and corn fields. Today we were in dairy and forestry country. One farmer was herding his cows down the road, actually he was sitting in his pickup truck while his hired hands herded the cows. Cute cows, some were Jersies which is the cutest cow I think. He said the cows were being walked the 50 km. from where they had been at pasture to near his home as they are all due to calve in a month. Some looked too young and/or small to me but then what do I know. Nothing. He said he has 1000 cows ready to give birth. Most of the herds of cattle I saw today were Holsteins, the black and white dalmation cows.
The trees in the tree plantations were all pines. The cut logs going past on the trucks were much bigger than the ones in Chile. The trees are planted in very neat rows. When they are logged, more trees are planted.
There were ostrich farms today and when passing one I saw baby ostriches and ostrich eggs. The eggs were not together or in a nest but just laying in the pasture. Some were broken but I couldn't tell whether that was because they had hatched. I stopped, hoping to pick up an egg to see how heavy it was but I couldnít reach one.
Tonight we are camped in the middle of nowhere, Storms River, where there is a bridge over an amazing gorge and little else except Dieseland, a full service Total service station. It reminds me of a Little America service station in the States. There are shops including a biltong shop where I took a picture but left as fast as possible because I donít even like the the smell of it, and other shops including the one where I bought the perfect tee shirt to wear with my ostrich egg jewelry. But no laundromat. I need a laundromat.
This afternoon I paid a visit to Merlyn and tomorrow weíll see whether he is a magician. Merlyn is one of our mechanics and prides himself on doing an excellent job of bike fitting. My seat is now at least one and a half inches higher, and he moved the cleats on my shoes forward about one and a half cm. which is a lot. Tomorrow I should ride like the wind and nothing should hurt. Weíll see.
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