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Mon Dec 25 2017: A Merry African Christmas

We've been trying in vain to reach the Richest Man in Lithuania

Because he needs to pay up his goddamn vehicle registration before I can transfer the bike I bought off of him to my name.

I'm a bit frustrated and angry because it's been over a week and we've been stonewalled by his man-servant, who everyday promises to e-mail, or send us a signed affidavit permitting us to pay the vehicle registration on his behalf. I'm not even asking *him* to pay it. I'm asking for him to give *me* permission to pay it on his behalf.

No action on his part whatsoever. WTF!?!?

Totally a case of "I already have your money, too bad, f*ck you." It pisses me off to no end when people behave this way.

To make things worse, we've been in Cape Town for a whole month now, and our three-month tourist visa is starting to tick away. South Africa is a big country and there's so much to see (and we travel so slowly). We have to get going. Soon, dammit!!!

Well, we are still enjoying Cape Town while we're here

We hang out with our ex-pat friends. They get together regularly to jam: Rowena on the keyboards, Cory on the guitar and Brian on the bass. The drummer's seat is empty and I slide into it naturally. I love playing the drums, but everytime I jam with other people, a better drummer always kicks me off the throne. Not this time!

It feels good to bash on something to get my frustrations out.

I don't think the rest of the guys feel the same way, because they keep asking me to play the song and not just thrash away wildly...

But... Wassup with that?

Also, we show off our new bikes. Cory shakes his head, "I can't believe they gave you a TRN!"

He told us that he had to jump through a lot of hoops to prove that he was actually living and working in Cape Town before they gave him his TRN. And we just drop in with our tourist visa and AirBnB reservation and then run out and buy bikes. :)

But at least he didn't have to deal with The Richest Man in Lithuania!

Neda is continuing her cross-stitching, but now it's in our new digs!

Brian and Temi are going home for the Christmas holidays and they've graciously invited us to stay at their place while they're away.

We're totally blown away by their generosity. We've only known them less than a couple of weeks! This works out for us really well, since we have no idea how long this vehicle registration stuff will take. If and when the papers finally go through, we can just lock their place up and start our trip, instead of committing and having to remain in an AirBnB for a fixed length of time.

Their place is in Gardens as well, just down the street from where we were last staying.

Unfortunately, no secured parking, so our new-to-us motos have to sleep on the street

I'm kinda nervous about leaving the bikes outside. I peer out the window about three or four hundred times during the day, checking to see if the motorcycles are still parked where we left them. Seems a safe enough neighbourhood...

Still a great view of Table Mountain, especially during the evenings when the sun sets

Christmas arrives in Cape Town. Still no forward progress on the vehicle registration.

We're invited to Cory and Rowena's for a Christmas Eve Braai

What is a Braai? It's a South African BBQ! Yummy boerewors on the grill

Our ex-pat friends have adopted a lot of South African customs, like braaing. Their friends that they've invited are also ex-pats from all over the world, and it was very interesting listening to them talk about trying to integrate into South African life. A common problem heard all around the group was getting work visas extended. Cory has to go back to the US to re-apply for his work visa, as well as the husband of a couple from India. Others are on a spousal visa, trying to get a work visa.

The most interesting discussion we had was a debate about the difference between an ex-pat and an immigrant.

Having traveled quite a bit, I've always thought that the difference between the two was affluence. If you have more money than the locals, you were an ex-pat. If you had less, you were an immigrant.

A guy from the US changed my mind.

Although he was better off financially than the locals, he said that he faced the same struggles that any immigrant coming to a new country experienced. He told us about his experience not being able to speak the language at the grocery store, of having his kids correct his grammar and vocabulary when trying to learn Afrikaans. His kids made him feel more like an immigrant than anyone else. I thought about my parents coming to Canada as immigrants and me and my brother growing up Canadian. He made a pretty convincing argument.

Being new to the country, the group gave us a crash course in South Africans lingo. One word we had to learn was "Lekker", which means "really good, wicked, awesome". As in "This liquor is lekker!", "Painted my deck chair yesterday, I used this lacquer, it was lekker!", "Lekker? I hardly know her!"

Riding around Cape Town

Even though my bike isn't officially transferred over, I can still legally ride if I carry the bill of sale and the road safety certificate with me.

Speaking of South African words, Cory was giving us directions and he told us to "turn right at the robot". I replied, "They have robots here! COOOOOL!!!!"

And then I found out, in South Africa, "robot" means "stoplight".

I was suddenly less excited than I was a moment before.

We're going a bit stir crazy in Cape Town, so on Christmas Day we make plans to head up the coast for our first maiden road trip with the new bikes. We're not going that far, just about 120 kms north of the city. It's a test run to see how well our touring setup works, and to figure out if we'll need to tweak anything else.

Takes a bit of time to escape the big city, but once we're out, the scenery becomes interesting

Neda takes to her F650GS naturally. The ride height is a bit lower, it seems the suspension was factory-lowered, but other than that, it rides exactly like her old bike.

Me, on the other hand, I'm having a lot of difficulties bonding with my F700GS.

Where do I even start? The biggest problem I have is that the handlebars are too close together. My old R1200GS had really wide handlebars, which gave me almost-telepathic-like steering. With the narrow F700GS bars, I have to be deliberate and forceful to turn the bike. I hate it.

While Neda re-upholstered her new F650GS seat to make it more comfortable, I thought I could make it work with the stocker. Nope. My butt was sore 15 minutes into the ride. I need to get this seat re-upholstered as well.

The aftermarket windshield that came with the bike is too tall and causes a lot of wind noise because of the eddying behind the screen. There's no buffetting, but I'm getting a booming noise that goes away if I put my head closer to the tank. The noise is fatiguing!

I don't like this bike. I'm suffering from buyers remorse big-time and I wish I would have gotten another R1200GS instead.

After battling with my bike for an hour, we make a pitstop at Yzerfontein, about halfway between Cape Town and Langebaan

There's some really nice houses along the coast.

We noticed that it got noticeably cooler as soon as we left Cape Town. I think it's the gusty winds off the coast. It's been so hot in the city, I'm totally not complaining!

We find a parking spot real close to the shoreline

We're able to fit all our day-ride stuff in the topcases. Lane-splitting is legal in South Africa, so Neda's left her panniers at home she can slip in between cars without bashing mirrors and scraping door panels, which would not be lekker at all. I still haven't decided which panniers I want to get, so my bike is still naturally skinny.

Still thinking hard about those nice BMW Adventure ones. Have to rob a bank first though...

Huge waves dash the rocks along the coast as we explore the rocky beach

Neda is having a great time finding interesting seashells scattered all over the beach

It's a good thing that my bike is the only one equipped with a tankbag, otherwise we'd be carrying half the beach back with us. Plus any small dogs that we'll encounter as well!

Neda is deciding if we should go further. Answer is No. Too much kak - Afrikaans for guano.

Proof that I was there

The western coast of South Africa is windy! Even Cape Town is pretty bad, especially when you're on a motorcycle. Sometimes the wind has been known to blow two-wheelers off the road.

We learned a neat trick from the locals. If you stick your knee out at whichever the way the wind is blowing, it acts as a sail and will keep the motorcycle up-right in a stiff cross-wind. You look kinda dorky, but it works!

Locals enjoying Christmas Day at the beach. Neda boards her bike to head to Langebaan

We've been traveling on the R37 north, out of Cape Town. About 40 kms south of Langebaan, the road passes through the West Coast National Park. What's in this park?

Hey Neda, what's that behind you? Ostriches! There are ostriches in this park!

Funny, I was prepared to see all sorts of lions and tigers and giraffes (oh my) in Sub-Saharan Africa. The first wild animal we see is an ostrich!

Finally reach Langebaan, very touristy!

Langebaan is a popular sea-side resort town. Lots of visitors from Cape Town getting away from the big city for the day.

Kite-boarding seems to be the most popular activity in Langebaan, making the most of the infamous west coast winds

Neda watches the kite boarders while I take a little nap in the sand

I'm wiped! The minute I closed my eyes, I was out like a light. Neda told me that I was snoring quite heavily. I know I haven't been riding for a while, but I haven't felt this tired after a ride since I started motorcycling.

It must be from all that fatiguing wind noise from the windshield, as well as constantly having to shift my butt on that uncomfortable stock seat. Gotta get those fixed for our trip. At least this test-run has revealed some flaws in our... actually mainly my setup. Neda is getting along well with her bike.

We were told to have lunch at Pearly's restaurant on the beach. Didn't disappoint!

Prawns and mussels! Food is very affordable here. We are going to have so much sea-food in South Africa!!!

Lekker day-ride! Packing up to head back to Cape Town!

We're in Africa, on our own bikes! Well, at least one of us owns their bike. And is happy with it...

We're itching to get out of Cape Town to explore. *sigh* Still a bit more work to do.

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