still at home but I found this book today in a drawer. It looked like a perfect
diary so it seemed a good time to start.
get everything up to date: Scott is still at work but I am at ‘leisure’
allowing me to do all the odds and ends. Last week and this week I have been
working through a daily to-do list which has kept me running around like
Libya, Egypt and Sudan all DONE. We also have Jordan in case we have to try a
by-pass of Sudan. We'll then need Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Djibouti too. In all
cases, we are missing Ethiopia, which we will have to pick up in Egypt.
have our money for the road. 7K USD in cash and 3K USD in Amex plus another 1K
from earlier. This 11K had better see us through to home!
one big issue. I applied last Tuesday and was told it would be ready late this
week. Of course I am spending the whole time worrying that there is a problem.
It took weeks to get the bank guarantee last time. Can’t go through that
again. I know worrying doesn’t help but that’s me – I worry even when
everything is perfect that things are going too well!
than the Carnet, the only big thing for the trip is to get the ferry tickets to
Tunisia. They are due any day now. For the move, there is still the whole move
to do plus finalise Gas, Electricity and MOST important get our one-month rent
deposit back. That 200 000Pts forms part of our plans. Oh yes, we are still
awaiting the 3rd party insurance that Rob arranged from Uganda. It is
valid from Sudan through to Zambia or something except for Uganda (place of
issue). At around $100 it’s not a bad deal.
a personal note, we are getting our goodbyes done. This is very different to
when we were leaving South Africa, then I was sure that I would be back and
wouldn’t lose touch with anyone. This time however I am not so sure – will I
be back, will I see my friends again? Sometimes I think that I want to come back
to live, IF I can find a job locally! Back to the goodbyes – last week was
drinks with the guys at Desert Track and then drinks with SGT. Friday was dinner
with Rocia, Javier, Patrick and Blanca – them I will miss. Tonight is dinner
with Salva, Marisa and Jesús. Friday is Scott’s goodbye lunch at work. I have
been invited too! It’s a bit odd but it wasn’t Scott’s idea so I guess it
will be OK.
Off to watch TV – practise Spanish as much as possible while I still can!
has been a homebound day without much news then of course. Still no Carnet news.
To be honest I spent the whole day indoors hoping they would call. I know I
should assume that if they hit a problem they would have called me but I can’t
relax about this.
did a lot of in-the-house stuff. The lounge is basically ready for the movers
– nothing extra here, just pack up and go. Tomorrow I do the bedroom and
Friday the kitchen. That leaves the weekend for the spare room, the hardest
part. Scott is still suffering with his back. This worries me because his back
gets sore from sitting at his desk and 4 months is a long time to suffer from
back pain – I have even been seconded to help carry the heavy stuff, that’s
how bad it is.
today I did some trip stuff as I do every day. I fixed our mossie net – unused
and already it has a hole in it. I also washed the car windows inside and out.
This was an interesting job in our dark, underground garage but it is now done
and I hope not too badly. I did some web page work – I am the one responsible
for the front page, really because I got the HTML code kind of figured out. I
also have a list of about 20 people to emails goodbyes to. I got 4 done today.
news about our re-issued import permit. It was mailed to Mom on 16 April. I
don’t know if it will reach her in time to be sent to us before we leave
Madrid but that’s not serious. Having it is the main thing and we can always
make a plan to get it before we arrive in S.A.
fun part was planning agendas for Tunisia and Libya! I am sure that we will
stick pretty closely to them, Egypt too. It is after that that things will
one o’clock and already it has been a very good day thanks to the receipt of
one Carnet de Pasage and two ferry tickets! Scott is now only waiting for the 3rd
party insurance from Uganda. I really hope it gets here before we leave. Unlike
the Carnet and tickets however, it does not stop the trip from going ahead.
have so far spent the day unpacking and re-packing cupboards etc. We have
arranged for part of our clothes to be sent directly to SA, that way we can have
work clothes when we get back without having to take delivery of all our stuff.
So I sorted out all our clothes to go back to South Africa and then neatened up
all the jerseys, sweatshirts etc. Also did the passage cupboard, now only the
kitchen remains (plus packing for the trip of course). I’m putting of the
kitchen because it implies cleaning the stove and oven – a job I have been
putting off for months.
well, 3 things to do – email Libyan agent, pack clothes for trip and clean
kitchen. Off I go….
the end of the day now and jobs done. Well almost, the kitchen is cleaned but
the oven isn’t. Damn!
is a little worried about the 3rd Party insurance, more than I am
(for once). He called Rob who said that DHL has it and it has already left
Uganda. Based on our current DHL experiences this is somehow not as reassuring
as it should be.
all is going well. DHL apparently tried to deliver the 3rd Party
insurance yesterday while I was out. Guess that means that they’ll deliver on
Monday – I’ll be here all day with the movers anyway.
afternoon was Scott’s work farewell. At first I felt odd going along but it
worked out great. I didn’t know everyone but I knew a fair number of people.
We went to an Arroceria near Plaza de Castilla. Their Arroz Huerte (vegetables
only) was really awesome. Some people said that the real thing in Valencia would
have been far better but I was more than happy with what we got. We were all
supposed to arrive at 2:45pm but obviously didn’t. We only started eating at
4pm. After lunch, they read out a long poem, written by Jesus, and teasing Scott
about his Spanish but also saying how good it would be to have him back. Then
the gifts came out, even one for me, which was unexpected, but very sweet of
them. They also wouldn’t let us pay which was unnecessary – normally
everyone pays their own way. Scott offered a liqueur afterwards to kind of make
up. Probably 10 or 11 people took us up on the offer. We went to a bar across
the street. We got some spontaneous free entertainment; one of the guys Scott
works with turned out to be a magician! He disappeared a lit cigarette into
Scott’s jacket and did some coin tricks with Arantxa and me. It was impressive
stuff – 12 super-critical witnesses watching very, very closely. We didn’t
see a thing!
by which time it was around 7pm, we split up and Scott and I went and bought me
some sandals. Really nice looking and very comfortable too.
has been another busy day. We again spent ages this morning putting stuff into
boxes. As far as we know, we are now missing only cash and paperwork to put in
the car. Hope we haven’t forgotten too much else! We are now waiting for Salva
to arrive – he has been roped in to help us load up the roofrack. After that
we take the car to Patrick’s house (hopefully with Salva following us in order
to bring us back to Madrid). We were hoping Patrick would be able to drop us at
the station to take the train back to Madrid but he won’t be at home,
effectively leaving us stranded.
was due at 6pm. It is now 6:30pm and I hope no delays there, he has plans for
later so I don’t want to be stuck with the roofrack on and loaded up and then
unable to leave Madrid. Anyway, we’ll see what happens.
and Marisa arrived so the roofrack is on and our car is at Patrick’s, now
truly loaded up. They brought us back home but had to leave straight away –
they have ballroom dancing classes on Saturday. Only Spain where the dance
classes start at 10pm, go on for a couple of hours and the afterwards you
go dancing. They must stagger home at 3 or 4am and Marisa does not strike me as
a late night partier! They are a really nice couple, I regret not getting to
know them sooner but that’s how things go I guess. We’ll probably spend
Monday night there and Tuesday at Patrick’s. That’s if the owner does hand
over on Tuesday. If not, we’ll see where we spend Tuesday night.
went off to Gino’s for supper and savoured the opportunity to walk home. I am
definitely feeling worse about leaving here than about leaving South Africa but
I think I have the reason figured out. Coming here was heading off into the
unknown. Going back, apart from the time-limited 4-month adventure, is really
just that – going back. Returning to the life you know. Not that it is a bad
thing but it may be hard to adjust to the fact that really nothing has changed
there and once we get back we will get the true measure of how much we have
changed in the last three years. Should be an interesting experience!
day here! The Letting Agent called this morning to confirm that they will be
coming through today – this morning in fact so I guess that means any time
was an awfully boring day for me. I sat here while all our stuff was being
packed up amid ever-decreasing resources. Resources being a place to sit,
something to sit on, something to do….
is much the same thing. I am sitting here as the truck is getting loaded up with
all the boxes. We couldn’t have chosen a worse day – it is grey, cold and
raining pretty heavily. The movers are using the window lifts so 2 guys got the
lucky job of loading up from inside while 2 others obviously picked the short
straws and are standing in the rain loading up the truck.
has been doing some running around while I am stuck here. Mostly doing stuff he
can do from the office – faxing, phoning, sending off DHL parcels etc.
spent last night at Salva and Marisa’s place. Very nice house on 3 levels.
Ground - kitchen, lounge, dining room and guest loo. First floor – 4 bedrooms
and 2 bathrooms. Then they have a sotano (basement) with two huge rooms – 1
bar and 1 games room. There is also a tiled garage. Very nice finishes and about
260 m2 of living space. It is outside of town, which was a problem today – we
were due at our place at 9am but rain and traffic contributed to our late
arrival. No problem – I can’t see them needing a full day for this job. Just
checked out of the windows and things are looking up. The 2 guys outside
manhandled some cars out of the way and managed to move the truck from the far
side of the road to our side. This way the lift stops right at the truck and
they can unload it from inside the truck. Great in the rain.
still don’t know where we will be spending tonight. Patrick’s makes sense
but we haven’t said goodbye to Salva and Marissa yet. I’m keen actually to
get on the road. Pity about the rain, won’t be able to persuade Scott to go
camping in it.
day down and here we are 10km from the Andorra border! Back to yesterday – we
were all moved out by 1:30pm. At 2pm Scott and I went to the Hard Rock Café for
a veggie burger lunch and at 4:30pm the agency came to check the apartment and
take the keys. Marissa picked us up after work and we went to have goodbye
drinks with her and Salva. They dropped us off at Patrick and Blanca’s place
– we chatted for a couple of hours and then spent the night there.
started today off by sorting stuff out in the car and got going at around 11am.
After a few false starts and stops checking out all the odd noises, we hit the N
II at around noon. The weather was pretty awful – raining almost all the time.
Symbolic of something I’m sure. We drove pretty much straight here except for
a couple of petrol stops and a big lunch just before Zaragoza. We only arrived
shortly after 7pm to find that the Hotel parking is way too low for the
car. Scott is a lot more concerned about theft than me, rightly so, and we
looked for a spot where we could see the car from our room window and after
taking out cash, papers and camera, we decided to risk it. Just then the Guardia
Civil stopped to tell us that it was not a good idea to leave the car there with
all the stuff on the roof. This was Scott’s last straw – after re-thinking
the whole thing, the car is still in the same place but now with all the stuff
off the roof and inside the car. I managed to stop the spare wheel being taken
off the roof – I mean one hangs on the back door!
anyway, here we are, some luxury at last. I took advantage and have just got out
of the bath – last one for a long time. Scott is enjoying one too and then
we’ll head out for a drink. I’m pretty thirsty but seeing as lunch finished
at 3:15pm and it is now 9:15, no wonder!
1 is a success! We had no real plans other than getting here so success was not
too hard to achieve. No rain here fortunately hope for none tomorrow when we