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Offline Vis Arend

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Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
« Reply #220 on: September 27, 2013, 03:21:23 pm »
To the self-confessed, blithering idiots.............damn good ride report this, keep it rolling.   :thumleft:
No matter how slow you go, you're still lapping everybody on the the couch
Honda XL125  -  Sold,    Honda XR200R  -  Sold,     Yamaha TT500  -  Sold,     Honda Transalp700  -  Sold,       Yamaha S10 Fast Blue  -  Sold,   Yamaha S10 Slow White  -  Sold,   Honda CRF250 Rally - To be Sold, XR650L..
 

Offline Hammerhead

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Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
« Reply #221 on: September 27, 2013, 03:50:30 pm »
Type faster demmit!!!
 

Offline MechanicalCamel

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Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
« Reply #222 on: September 27, 2013, 04:14:38 pm »
Sorry for the delay. I got caught in Café Caprice where some bastard scratched my Bentley.



To the issue at hand…

Tumbles and tussles aside, we were tip, tip, tapping up the beach with the occasional rock-section-enforced detour. This was via tracks that ran about 200m inland, some of them on top of impressive cliffs with gorgeous views. Sadly we’re light on photos here cause Max’s hands were still shaking too much to operate a camera.



We continued up the beach, straight past the shipwreck we were supposed to have turned up at, and finally arrived at an industrial development of significant scale. A brief tour through site confirmed that this was the end of our track. “Nae bother”, said the freshly shaken and stirred Scottish Panda, and he led the way inland straight line through the semi-desert shrubbery. For direction we used the old ‘drive directly away from the sea’ technique, possibly involving a wee bit of damage to fairly delicate eco-systems. Now, I’m sensitive to stuff like that (there are few things that piss me off as much as petrolheads needlessly destroying beautiful parts of nature with their vehicles) but we couldn’t, for love nor money, find any form of track to take us out. So we pointed for the horizon like the cowboys must’ve, and pottered on.

The development we were trying to get around had a sinister feeling. It’s massive (it’s not visible on google earth but I assume that’s cause it’s relatively new), with barbed wire fences all over the place and trenches to stop anyone getting too close. I assume it’s linked to the oil industry, and oil interests in poor African countries tend to be controlled by rather unscrupulous individuals. So I got the fear, real bad, and was beset by images of us having to turn around and outrun evil intentioned gentlemen in a black 4x4 with lots of spotlights and submachine guns mounted in turrets.

One we got inland of the construction, and my acid flashback had calmed down, we could see the town of Namibe in the distance so just rode straight for it. I like to think we resembled a cavalier (and less French) version of the 3 Musketeers, but probably looked more like lost hippies flirting with death by machine gun. Which, I’m told, is almost as painful as death by tray.

We finally made it to the town, entering via the truly disgusting dump. Again. In a startling display of idiocy we managed to lose each other in the dump. Namibe is too big a town to stand in the middle of the square and shout for your mates to regroup. We found each other at the gas station leading out of town towards Lubango, did a dodgy currency deal with a local trucker and headed off – with prospects of an afternoon of tar road riding.
« Last Edit: September 27, 2013, 04:15:22 pm by MechanicalCamel »
 

Offline MaxThePanda

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Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
« Reply #223 on: September 27, 2013, 04:21:30 pm »
Beach riding is something special. Having nearly been mown down by a flying beach buggy some years back at Cape Vidal I can appreciate the value of canning it in South Africa, but since only four people a year make it to Angola it felt like a rare pleasure to be allowed to misbehave on endless kilometres of sand.


Offline MaxThePanda

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Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
« Reply #224 on: September 27, 2013, 04:33:14 pm »
Sorry for the delay. I got caught in Café Caprice where some bastard scratched my Bentley.




Good people, please don't be misled. The Camel has a small problem with "exaggeration"*. Our parents have asked me to help with holding him to account, gently steering him towards the ways of truth, honesty and openness as a way of integrating fully with the rest of the human race.

I refer you to his earlier comment, in Reply #218: "And my city bike is a Vespa."

Ladies - the Camel does not own a Bentley. It doesn't take a genius to work out that he simply lifted that picture from the internet. Obviously the light is completely wrong for Cape Town in the afternoon - even at this time of year.

Please don't be too disappointed, because even though he's not that rich, he is a very nice bloke (although prone to exhibitionism) and it would make him very happy if a lovely lady would snap him up for marriage and four children. A short while ago, I snapped this little pic of him for you on my cellphone in front of Caprice, while I was finishing a cocktail and leisurely taking in the last desperate rays of light on this gloomy Friday afternoon.

* Basically, he's a pathological liar.



{Sent from my iPad}

Offline shanti

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Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
« Reply #225 on: September 27, 2013, 07:18:53 pm »
Nice one on the outer edge - great RR - peace

Offline MechanicalCamel

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Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
« Reply #226 on: September 28, 2013, 07:46:23 am »
The Panda is right, sadly. I do ride my bike in a g-string.

I did actually have a Vespa once. I lived in Cambodia in the mid 00’s and the capital, Phnom Penh, is full of the things. Together with Vietnam and Laos, it used to be the French colony of Indochina. Why that’s relevant is not entirely clear but every time I asked someone why there were so many Vespa’s cruising the city, someone would whisper something about “the colonies” in professorial tones. FATO – maybe you can help us out here mate?

This was my sexy little steed, affectionately called Gangreen:


Anyway, whether it was early French hipsters who brought them in, (one couldn’t see post war Italians pulling off the colonisation thing right?) or they were reverse engineered in Hanoi, there were squillions of the things. So I bought one. It was only the second motorbike I’d ever owned (the first was a monstrous road hog in the States when I was in my early twenties and had never ridden a bike before, but that’s one tangent too far for this thread). Anyhoo, these Vespa’s are curious things. Knowing what I know now (that I’m an Experienced Angolan Adventurer) I’d probably spit my Café Caprice cocktail at it, but back then it was a scream. And it took me round town to places like this:



And this



But every now and again we’d want to go further afield so we’d take these frog eyed delights:



And go visit places like this



this



this



this:



and this



I was a complete novice (first time I had ridden an offroad bike) and the riding wasn’t exactly dull…







And on occasion I’d miss a bridge over the odd collapsed aqueduct:



On the more remote of these trips, we’d be in areas that hadn’t yet been de-mined. Being fairly conservative in our risk taking when it comes to detonating land mines, we used to chill out in the path we were riding on, and sleep as close to the path as possible. No tents – hammock island style for us with very necessary little mosquito nets.





I had a great bunch of enthusiastic, and similarly unskilled friends to ride with and we’d always bump into delightful old codgers like these two:





In rainy season, when the paddys were flooded and our skills maxed out, we took to 4 wheels for our fun



Which was my first ever opportunity to show off my budding cameltoe



Which brings, us through no intervention of logic, back to this story. We weren’t in Cambodia, we were in Angola. And I wasn’t riding a Vespa naked down Camps Bay main road, or Norodom Boulevard. I was riding a KTM 690 naked down a long beautiful tar road to Lubango.
« Last Edit: September 29, 2013, 08:09:26 pm by MechanicalCamel »
 

Offline Mark Hardy

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Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
« Reply #227 on: September 28, 2013, 07:56:16 am »
what an entertaining RR, please get the Hell out of Café Caprice and go ride somewhere so that we can have another story to read.
 

Offline MechanicalCamel

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Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
« Reply #228 on: September 28, 2013, 12:38:22 pm »
I guess I’m in good company when I say I normally hate tar - it bores me. It's a necessary nuisance that comes at the beginning and end of the good stuff, a like foreplay and pillow talk. But we’d been battling the bumps for some time and it was pleasant to put the tunes on, sit and chill, and get some decent mileage under the belt. I know it’s a divisive subject but for me, tunes are a beautiful thing on a long tar road (have a listen to Jacques Le Cont’s remix of Even Better Than the Real Thing).

We were heading almost directly east towards Lubango, which would be the northern most point we got to on the trip.



In the bigger picture of the country, we really were waltzing through a tiny corner of the South West.



The scenery was magnificent. Having been in nothing but sand for a while, we were now heading through rolling hills and towards the escarpment.



With the rock hard seat of the 690 threatening impotence, frequent stops are mandatory. Like at these pretty cool roadside stalls. And everywhere we went there were warm smiles and people who couldn’t do enough to help us (the Midget may have taken that a touch too far). These Angolan people really are very lovely folks.



We were getting closer to the much talked about Serra da Leba pass. So named because it takes one to the top of the Serra de Leba mountains, at 5000ft. It’s much talked about for good reason – it’s got 1 bajillion switchbacks and it’s fantastic fun. You can see the road above the Midgets head (he’s standing on his seat in this photo).



The pics below only show the top section – it’s about a fifth of the climb.    





Once on top of the escarpment, it’s rolling hills to the city of Lubango.



Predictably, we got to Lubango a little too late to get food and fuel and far enough out of town to sleep rough without attracting the attention of an entire village. I’m generally ok with being near the centre of attention, but my campsite is my Buddhist temple and I like to be left in peace. So it was another night of soft loooxury at a very pleasant little guesthouse. Which the Midget found for us. Because that was his job. Because he was kitty bitch. Again.




« Last Edit: September 28, 2013, 01:34:31 pm by MechanicalCamel »
 

Offline MaxThePanda

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Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
« Reply #229 on: September 29, 2013, 11:54:11 am »
Here's another bit of obtuse, barely watchable highlights from somewhere around Iona. Plenty of top Midget footage, though, so Betsy is clearly going to want to download for her private viewing pleasure.

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/sNj-QXx5ffg" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/sNj-QXx5ffg</a>

Offline MechanicalCamel

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Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
« Reply #230 on: September 29, 2013, 10:20:31 pm »
Lubango is a fairly pleasant place. It’s got a population of about 100,000 making it the 7th biggest city in Angola. Narrowly edging Iona, population 37, out of the top 10.

It’s got an interesting history from a South African perspective. The first colonists arrived in the late 1800’s from Madeira, Portugal. They gobbled up the best land and started farming it with reasonable success. About 3 years later some (presumably very lost) Boer families arrived with similar intentions.  We thought it was a monster trip by Audi and KTM – imagine doing that in an ox cart! (which has exactly the same suspension as a DR). Makes our little jaunt through the doodsakker seem like popping round the corner to get some milk.

Sadly the forces of colony-allocation turned against these South Africans and Portugal got Angola. (How did that work - did they sit round a table and play poker for countries?  “I see your Zimbabwe and raise you Kenya...”).

Presumably fairly crestfallen by this cruel roll of the dice, our intrepid pioneers had to turn around and head back south. They ended up trying to set up “the Republic of Upingtonia” in what is now Namibia. (These guys may have been the same crowd who named Wimpy.) Then the Germans got South West Africa! Someone needed to cut these guys some slack.

Those were quaint times. Some fellow bought a tract of land (fifty thousand square kilometers) from some other fellow for 300 pounds. He paid for it with “twenty-five firearms, one salted horse, and a cask of brandy”. What the hell is a salted horse?!? Do you eat it or ride it? FATO – we need your help here brother. When you’ve solved that one please could you tell me how many salted horses I’d need to buy a skinny latte at Café Caprice.

In current times the 300 pounds would buy you a little less. Luanda was declared the most expensive city in the world for expats in 2013 (in a Mercer report), and Lubango, while not ferociously expensive, is probably heading that way. It’s quite a beautiful city with plenty of old colonial buildings, a bit run down, but still oozing charm. We spoke with some UN workers there who said that he intention was to turn the city “into Dubai”. i.e. tear down all old buildings and stick steel and glass skyscrapers in their place. Ahhh, the rich smell of progress….

The income income equality in Angola is on a scale we can’t comprehend, which says a lot coming from South Africa. The oil (2nd biggest producer in Africa after Nigeria) has created enormous wealth, and it’s highly concentrated in the hands of the political elite. The president’s daughter is the richest person in the country and seems to control pretty much everything. Comparing this to the poverty down south is nausea inducing stuff.

Anyhoo, we weren’t here to dwell on the dysfunctions of post-colonial development, we were here to explore this wonderful land. So we filled up (R6 a litre – don’t knock being an oil producing state)



Nodded approvingly at a chopped down café racer




And headed off in anticipation of Another Interesting Day.


« Last Edit: September 30, 2013, 06:34:43 am by MechanicalCamel »
 

Offline KiLRoy

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Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
« Reply #231 on: September 29, 2013, 11:41:23 pm »
Dont treat objects like old geyses dude
 

Offline MechanicalCamel

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Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
« Reply #232 on: September 30, 2013, 06:33:56 am »
I tell you, this salty horse business has been troubling me all night. Hardly slept a wink.

Some quick research suggests that it's less this



or this



and more this



Somebody tell me otherwise? Please? FATO - help!

 

Offline KiLRoy

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Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
« Reply #233 on: September 30, 2013, 07:04:45 am »
Afrikaans for a well trained (usually wrt endurance riding), hardened horse. Basically unlike the Midget.  Always thought it had something to do with a horse having some tsetse fly resistance too, but cant find evidence to back this up. So, its a fit, trained, hardened horse...

Now at this point I must warn you thats its also illegal to keep amphibian rodents without a permit in city confines....
 

Offline MechanicalCamel

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Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
« Reply #234 on: September 30, 2013, 07:20:59 am »
What are you, a fkn park ranger now?

 :biggrin:

(and thanks for filling in the knowledge gaps - means I don't have to go all vegetarian again. FATO - you're in danger of being fired mate....)
« Last Edit: September 30, 2013, 07:23:07 am by MechanicalCamel »
 

Offline Malibu

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Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
« Reply #235 on: October 01, 2013, 08:15:25 am »
Hey!  We are WAITING....  :disgust:
They call me Judy or Judes...

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Offline Dusty

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Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
« Reply #236 on: October 01, 2013, 08:18:02 am »
Hey!  We are WAITING....  :disgust:

What she said  :sip:     
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Offline Hagar

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Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
« Reply #237 on: October 01, 2013, 08:25:02 am »
Salted=resistance to African horse sickness.  Do not get distracted.. focus on the ride report.
 

Offline MechanicalCamel

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Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
« Reply #238 on: October 01, 2013, 09:11:20 am »
Yep, yep, I'm a-comin.... Just ran outta gas


(note the wonderful example of well maintained camel toe)

And the other one's been eating


« Last Edit: October 01, 2013, 09:14:48 am by MechanicalCamel »
 

Offline MaxThePanda

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Re: Ngola Kingdom: Motorcycle (mis)adventures in south-west Angola
« Reply #239 on: October 01, 2013, 09:21:38 am »
A night of comfort does wonders for the soul.


Actually that is a lie. Comfort is for pussies, whipping boys and BMW riders.

Okaaaaay. OK OK OK. Don't get too excited. Until very recently - like two weeks before this trip I WAS a BMW rider. It doesn't matter what bike you ride, as long as you ride. Even if it's a DR.


(Gratuitous picture of DR650)

When we were planning this trip, we got very excited over the map. See, everybody knows about the Doodsakker - it's like the prom queen, all dressed and fancy, everyone wants a piece of her at the school dance. But the rest of the country is the mysterious hot goth girl lurking in the corner. Who has even spoken to her? Maybe she has a wicked sense of humour. Maybe she has twisted and extraordinary ambitions with pieces of your anatomy. Maybe she cooks a mean apple pie.

Even Tracks for Africa knows nothing about the south east of the country. I'd spoken to several de-mining agencies and was armed to the teeth with information on how not to die there. I wanted to lead an expedition through unknown wastelands, swim my bike through a river and possibly see a tiger. But after blithering around for several days in northern Namibia with broken motorcycles and generalised disorganisation, and then making astounding progress at the rate of 150km/day through, admittedly incredibly beautiful scenery, all Livingstonian ambitions were grinding to a halt. Which made mockery of my carrying a pith helmet all this distance in my right pannier bag.

We had to get home to mummy. Or jobs, or whatever. So we took out a pencil and drew a more or less straight line south through a big green area that may be a game reserve, but probably wouldn't be since it was Angola, in the hope of seeing a tiger.

And off we went.



It was boring tar for the first two hours, so I have nothing to show you. But just where we were turning off into the bush there was a shebeen and it was hot, so we settled in for a little drink. Have I mentioned Ngola beer costs R7 in Angola?

We were thirsty. So we sat and drank.



And took in the scenery, which was constituted mainly of small children:



for whom we were a constant source of fascination, and lots of motos.



Motos are a real feature of motorcycle trips through Angola. For one thing, their riders are fantastic. For two, they carry all sorts of amazing shit, and for another they are bizarre little vehicles.

Take this one, for example.





Now why buy Ohlins when you can simply forge ahead with the double spring technique?

Even better are the trikes:







I would seriously like to get me one of those in Cape Town, kit it out with a lot of pink fur and use it as a party truck on a Friday night.

By this time we were six or seven down (well, except for Camel - he's abstemious) and drunk bikers and dumb ideas go together like Liberace and glitter balls. We've probably mentioned that The Midget is a crack shot with a catty.





I'd REALLY like to tell you what happened next, but I think video may be a better resort.

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/cdfKTRgFevk" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/cdfKTRgFevk</a>