Angola, it's not like they said.

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by metaljockey, Sep 23, 2007.

  1. stackingreasyBBs

    stackingreasyBBs I ride a girl's bike

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    Just a noob here, but I wanted to say thanks for an amazing report. Great photos and great writing, keep it coming!:clap
  2. 2slo

    2slo Old and Immature

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    GB, Thanks for the pruning and punting - incredible Ride Reports should not be polluted with OT BS.

    MJ, hope you're having a nice little break and getting some riding in - but we want updates and more great pics. I had to go back and read your other outstanding reports while I wait. Thanks for taking the time and expending the effort to share these great trips with us.

    2slo
  3. vnp514

    vnp514 Been here awhile

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    Great RR!!!

    Pete
  4. dceggert

    dceggert Been here awhile

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    Metro Detroit - almost like offroad riding
    I may have gotten all wrapped up in the pictures and the write up of chasing the clock on the rising tide, trying to beat the point when the bikes run out of fuel, etc. You know, kinda like looking at the pictures of one of those super exciting magazines or something.

    Anyway, the title: "Angola, it's not like they said." My curiosity is who are 'they' and what exactly did they 'say' about Angola?

    Again, I apologize if it were in there somewhere, but my hands were sweaty just holding onto my mouse let alone a handlebar!
  5. mistercindy

    mistercindy In a state of equilibrium

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    You did the right thing. I had no idea my complimentary comment about that woman would descend into a spittin' contest. This is an incredibly entertaining ride report and it doesn't need the riff-raff.




    When I first saw that thread title I had the same thought.
  6. worldrider

    worldrider Adventure & Discovery

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    Hey MJ -
    Thanks for the quick geography lesson. I need to brush up. By the looks of what you guys went through, there~s no way I would go at anything like that alone and loaded -- still can~t believe the fuel you were carrying -- musta been like the fat lady...

    There are many other sites in Namibia I will set my sights on... been a dream to go there for a LONG time.

    I am in Belem Brazil now and will be coming to Capetown early next month, shipping my bike out of Buenos Aires. Would love to get together and swap stories and bend your ear for some Africa tips...

    PM me and I shall shoot you an email....

    smiles,

    allan
  7. Marvin the Martian

    Marvin the Martian Long timer

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    Madness takes its toll. Please have exact change
    Are living my life, but who's life am I living? Great report and thank you.
  8. Saulo

    Saulo Do it.

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    I was up 'till 2am trying to catch-up on reading this report... I had to miss 2 meetings at work this morning to finish reading it.. I need more. :clap
  9. Chinaski

    Chinaski Righteous Dude

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    MJ, when is the next installment?

    Hoping it's soon...great story, great adventure, and extremely well written and photographically documented. Thanks for writing it.

    :clap
  10. metaljockey

    metaljockey Dodgy SOB

    Joined:
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    Eastern Cape, South Africa


    Like so much else on this trip, Lubango turns out to be a surprise highlight.

    We intended to stop for fuel, a battery and some fresh vegetables and be on our way. In the heat and slow riding my bike starts acting up big time however. I have to rev the thing above 4000 in order to keep it going. When it stalls it takes a many attempts at run-starting to get it going.

    Where we were of the opinion that it's not too difficult to ride on the 'wrong' side of the road, we now find it very confusing. With heavy traffic, one-ways and roundabouts things look a lot different. Also, most of the crossings do not have stop signs, some have signs that indicate whether you are on the bigger or smaller of the intersecting roads.

    We don't find a battery and I'm getting increasingly steamed up. In the afternoon the bike becomes so bad that Hennie has to pull me with a tow rope up and down a sidestreet. This is very funny (hopefully someday) because before we came on this trip, everyone was concerned about Hennie's bike, which was well used already. His response was that he was still going to be towing a KTM out of Angola. Imagine my pleasure at being towed by Hennie's bike in Angola.

    While all this is going on Nardus gets on with socializing.

    [​IMG]



    When the bike finally starts I just want to get out of the city. Luckily my mates have cooler heads and they decide to find a place to sleep so that my bike can be dealt with properly the next day.

    We book in at Casper Lodge to camp. Not the most atmospheric place.

    When the rest go out to hit the town, I just go to bed, this bike is burning my ring.




    The next morning we start with repairs. Fred is still riding with a bent handlebar and a manual throttle. This gets sorted out with some teamwork.

    [​IMG]




    I wonder why the throttle was sticking?

    [​IMG]




    I start stripping the bike with the intention of getting the carb out and re-setting the float level and cleaning jets out.

    [​IMG]



    As soon as the tank is off though, I find the problem. It's that choke elbow again. This time I cable tie it in place and I set the adjuster on the choke as loose as it will go. Why the hell the adjuster is located under the tank, I don't know. So I start another day with petrol hands but a light heart because the bike is back to normal, idling away and pulling strongly from closed throttle like it should.

    Amazing what a little bit of attention can do to a bike.

    Hennie and myself goes off to find a multimeter so that we can trace the battery problem. This turns out to be one hell of a job involving all kinds, including using an incorrectly calibrated multimeter and getting lost around town with a helmetless mechanic perched on top of my luggage behind me and finally tracking down a working multimeter at a backyard mechanic's place in a shanty town. All this being made excruciatingly difficult by not being able to speak portuguese.

    [​IMG]




    But to my utter and uninhibited joy, we can finally rule out the bike as the problem. The alternator pushes a beautiful clean 13.4V. Even now I feel the joy of that moment. And again I have to apologise to the bike.

    Next stop, to find a battery. This turns out to be a problem. We decide that I will wait with the bike and Hennie will scour town for the necessary. As I wait I learn new things again. That in the middle of the city, the old and new continue to live side by side.

    [​IMG]



    I learn again that Angolan people are different than where I come from. My bike is left unattended with al my gear in a busy street and no-one touches it.
    Several people approach me and offer their help, giving me directions and phone numbers of people they think may be able to assist (still with the language problem).

    As I wait a Varadero pulls up. It turns out to be José. José turns out to be able to speak reasonable English! José is the president of the local bike club!!
    What? Angola! A bike club?!!
    One would think that this is as good as it gets. But it gets better. They have a clubhouse with bar and accomodation!!!

    We go to their spot and have a cold beer foisted upon us. Here's what to look for.

    [​IMG]



    Yes, the club is called the Falcons.

    The other 3 have been patiently waiting at a bar on the road out of town for about 4 hours already. When we sms them about the biker bar they arrive within what felt like seconds. It's like coming home. Within minutes our plans to leave town as soon as a battery is found, is scuppered. We want to stay.

    José takes me to various places to look for a battery. There is no shop that sells big bike batteries so we do the rounds to the local quad riders (apparently quite active over there) to see if any one has a spare battery. They don't but I do break one of my personal rules - never to ride on the back of a bike (it's a long story). And I break it in style, being paraded around Lubango without a helmet looking like Tom Cruise's floozy. This is José.

    [​IMG]



    In the end José cuts open his battery holder to take the oversize battery he once personally fetched from Namibia, and I get the Vara's battery. It's a huge frikken thing and won't fit under my seat so we modify some cables and it gets carried in the saddle bag. Instead of 8A it is 20A. If this thing does'nt make this motor spin like a sewing machine nothing will.

    [​IMG]



    José impressed me no end. One hell of a nice guy. I owe him. He tells us of his history. He never fled the country in 1976 when Portugal withdrew. Some bad things happened to the whites that stayed then. He stayed and later served in the army and is now a Major.

    This gets us to the final one of my concerns. Like I said, the war finally came to an end only 5 years ago. Even though our country withdrew in 1989, we do not know what kind of residual feelings there are towards South Africans. Keep in mind that we invaded them, and spent 13 years operating on their turf, fighting a variety of factions, the most relevant of which the current ruling party. The government.

    Four of the five of us had done military service in Angola at some or other stage. Now we are here to holiday. It may be a problem for some.

    That does not include José though. He sees us as bikers, friends. He clearly has put some work into putting things in perspective.










    I don't really know how to explain all this and I don't even know if it should be dwelt on here. I will say only this.

    José was wounded by a battallion I served in.

    He showed me the Imperial Hotel in town.

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    Those holes was made by our planes.

    We do a lot of talking that afternoon. We learn a lot of things we didn't know. The main thing I learn is that there are several emotions that have not yet been named. I'll leave it at that.










    The bar is open to the public but the under cover parking right in front is reserved for bikes only.

    [​IMG]



    By the way, José now imports trucks. You pay per meter deck space. So this is how you save on shipping costs.

    [​IMG]



    They are very proud of this '69 Honda. At night it's lights are switched on.

    [​IMG]



    We spend the entire afternoon seated and quaffing 'Ngola's.

    [​IMG]




    Beers and entertainment, this guy can make that saw sing. Anything.

    [​IMG]




    On the left, playing the saw is another José. Let's call him Jo. He fought alongside José for most of the war. They are inseperable. Jo is a helluva lekker ou. He makes a point of enjoying every moment to the full. Focussed on having a good time. My kinda guy.

    [​IMG]




    He is one hell of a singer too. Think Axl Rose crossed with Louis Armstrong.

    [​IMG]

    This afternoon was just getting surreal man.



    Fred's ankle getting some medical attention. Vinegar to get the swelling down. Just for the record - not very effective.

    [​IMG]




    The bar also has a braai area and a resident cook. We feel like some chicken and it is duly delivered.

    [​IMG]




    They are left to wander around the dinner tables until later in the afternoon when they are knocked out with a kierie in amongst the guests. Another first for me. Having your dish killed in between the tables at a restaurant.

    One of our waitresses and a niece of José's.

    [​IMG]




    Another of José's nieces.

    [​IMG]




    And our chicken dinner.

    [​IMG]




    The later it gets, the better it gets, the Falcons is not only a bike club but also a band.

    [​IMG]



    At some stage a drunk Hennie gets onto the stage with his Dakar (after having fallen over in the parking lot) and proceed to ramp off it, which he does successfully, but fails to hit the brakes and hits a wall instead. Funny as all hell, they must've heard us laugh up at Cristo Rei.

    [​IMG]



    It was a hell of a night.

    Later on things became a bit strange.

    [​IMG]



    We sleep right there amongst the tables after everyone had gone.

    Lubango. Who would have thought.

    Angola, it's not like they said.




    continued here

  11. metaljockey

    metaljockey Dodgy SOB

    Joined:
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    279
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    Eastern Cape, South Africa


    Ok, I just can't let this shit go.




    Allow me to introduce the band.

    On drums - Jo, took eleven bullets in the leg, some of them tracers, twelve years now and the leg still weeps puss every so often.

    On vocals and lead guitar, José, shot by my people.

    On backup guitar - (can't recall his name), spent three days in an upside down, shot out tank with the bodies of seven of his crew and his leg broken in seven places.

    [​IMG]



    These are the people we were supposed to kill.

    What an absolute waste that would have been.



    How wrong it would have been.





    continued here

    Matt fe2o3, Watercat, ChadADV and 4 others like this.
  12. Klay

    Klay dreaming adventurer Supporter

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    :lurk



    The futility of war.
  13. cuneesity

    cuneesity Ferendo

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    MJ,

    It truley does just keep getting better and better:clap :clap :clap


    The pic of Michnus "supervising" the install of the battery with the beer in his hand is priceless:freaky
  14. Eaglebeak

    Eaglebeak All roads rider, West Oz.

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    MJ, bloody fantastic. I can't get enough of your trip reports. Many thanks for taking the time.
  15. PacWestGS

    PacWestGS Life Is The Adventure!

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    MJ, remember this or put into perspective somehow. (Short version) Politicians make war for personal gain; soldiers fight them; in the end nothing has really changed - except the nightmares the soldier' lives with.

    I am so glad you got to drink a beer and hang with your enemy. The world is so small that understanding people and accepting differing opinions is much worthier then all the wars that have ever been fought.

    I'm a soldier through and through, and followed orders based on a belief of right and wrong, someday I may be damned for that.

    You can not change what happened then, but you can make up as a conviction to oppose the future oppression.

    Your RR is totally awesome, it's strange in a way but this week I was reading an international news paper leaving Amsterdam and there was a story about the growth of Angola and the oil industry. On any other day i would have skipped right over it, because of you I read it with interest and learned something new.

    Thanks for expanding my horizion... :thumb

    P.S. some people just need killin', but I'll leave this highjack to another time. :lol3
  16. Bongolia

    Bongolia stop acting

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    Great thread MJ. I try not to post my appreciation too much but the last couple of posts nearly had a tear in my eye. Old soldiers see the truth I guess.

    I might post again if we beat you fekkers on Saturday.
  17. WIBO

    WIBO Will it buff out?

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    Great report...still....keep it coming....and I`m rooting for the boks this w/end...there`ll be wailing and gnashing of teeth with my Irish/South African family if the Brits get it....all the way from Jo`burg to Cape Town via Port Elizabeth....:rofl
  18. kktos

    kktos on a bright side of life

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    I believe I understand what u mean.
    I said I believe, not I know. I hadn't any similar war "experience" like u had.
    But I think those emotions are like a shot of a mix of several strong and powerful emotion, occuring at the very same time.
    And with the magic of our brains we could be able to use those powerful current to nurrish a single one emotion, love.
    (no god in my talking here. I'm an atheist. only human beings mechanisms)

    Great Great thread !
    Leave me speechless (almost).

    /thierry
  19. rhull1

    rhull1 Been here awhile

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    Littleton, MA.
    This should definately be made into a movie. I'd pay to see this on the silver screen.

    Thanks guys.
  20. jburger

    jburger n00b

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    MJ - Striking Viking summed it up nicely - "People get along, governments don't"

    Awesome report - keep it going....!!!!:clap:clap

    It really makes me think twice about posting my RR :1drink

    Regards
    Jaco