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Johannesburg, South Africa

It almost feels like we are back in preparation mode … so it feels quite natural to fall back into my weekly “preparation” update posts – only this time they are “between stages” updates.

When we arrived in South Africa, we thought we had only a few days until our vehicle arrived.  We had our clearing agent all lined up, and family in Cape Town eagerly awaiting our arrival.  Viking Explorer then contacted the shipping company, to find that they had done the world’s fastest transhipment in Abidjan … and moved our container from one ship to the next within 48 hours.  Apparently, unheard of.  Unfortunately, this ship is taking the scenic route of west Africa, rather than the express service we had been quoted on.  So, rather than arriving on 1st March, the vehicle will now arrive some time between 20th and 29th March.

It would have been so easy to get annoyed, frustrated and angry.  It would have been so easy to stamp feet and throw toys.

But we have opted to look on the bright side – it gives us time to relax, spend time with friends and family in Johannesburg, and start our planning for stage 2.

We continue to enjoy the glorious weather that we became accustomed to in Senegal – blue skies and hot hot hot!  I still haven’t quite shaken the old habit of waking up and expecting UK grey skies … and am almost surprised every morning with the blue skies and beautiful sunshine.

This week we have started getting fit again.  After 4 months of driving and sitting, we are both horribly out of shape.  We have started running and walking.  We have a great walk/run program which gradually builds up time.  We started at 6 minutes when we arrived, and today we already clocked half an hour – followed by a half hour walk.  It feels great and we’ll keep working at it.

We have started planning our tour of southern Africa. We have purchased maps of Botswana and Namibia and a few 4×4 and travel magazines.  (Botswana and Namibia are at the top of the priority list!)  We have spent hours reading about where we want to visit next, and the logistics of border crossings in the south.

Johannesburg also has many outdoor and 4×4 stores, and so we have been getting quotes for the few additions and repairs we need.  Of course, it would be much easier if we had the vehicle, but we have been relatively successful.

And we have enjoyed being in Johannesburg and experiencing yet another country!  We had to giggle as we passed a mosque when Friday prayers finished.  It was such a sharp contrast to the Friday prayers in Morocco: the men (some even dressed traditionally) exited the mosque – and climbed into their luxury automobiles!  Jaguars, BMWs, Mercedes and even Bentleys …

We continue to experience the friendliness we have been enjoying in our adventure through Africa.  A smile and a “hello, how are you” elicits grins from most people we come into contact with, and a helpful attitude. Maybe we have also had a change in our approach to the world …