Banned for 5 years

Vioolsdrift Border Post, South Africa

“You have two options.”

“What do you mean?”

“Either you go back to Capetown, and wait for your visa to be ready. Or you go into Namibia and you’re banned for 5 years.”

“What?! But I’ve already been waiting 17 weeks! They told me it would be ready in 10 weeks! Here, look at my receipt!”

“Yeah.. That receipt only counts for being legally IN the country, not for LEAVING the country.”

“But wait. I paid for my visa extension and everything. And here, look at the screenshots, my visa is not ready yet! Even though, I applied on the 13th of November!”

“I see, so if you decide to leave, you can appeal. But I will have to block you in the system for now. — And you will have to decide now, because I’ve already put you in the system.”

“Jesus, ok. Miss, I need to make one phone call. It is quite a difficult decision to decide right now, you understand?! — You see, I am travelling alone on my bike and, I am not sure if it is a good idea to be banned out of a country with the best health care in Africa, in case something happens!”

“Ok, you can make one call.”

After calling my girlfriend I decided to go into Namibia, appeal and hope my sanction will be discarded. Quite a tough decision. The thought that if something happens to me, and not being able to get good health care because I am banned out of South Africa, sounds horrible. But still, I didn’t feel like returning and waiting until who knows when to finally, ‘legally’ leave South Africa…

You cannot imagine

VanRhynsdorp, South Africa

“We have been coming here to Africa for thirty years.’

“That is a lot.”

“Yes, we love it here. — And you, you started your trip in Cape Town?”

“Yes. You have been there?”

“Twenty-five years ago, yes. During apartheid.” — “Horrible!”

“I can imagine.”

“No! No! You CANNOT imagine. Really. On the streets, in restaurants, everywhere! Horrible. We come from Israel, you know, and we feel it had many similarities with the Holocaust. Insane.”

“I am sorry, you ‘re right, I don’t think I can ever imagine that.” — “So you plan to go there again on this trip?”

“Yes.”

“Be prepared then, you still feel the aftereffects from apartheid everywhere. Really.” — “I lived there for a couple months, had a relatively expensive motorbike, and a white girlfriend… Imagine how people looked at me. All the time!” — “Or while travelling on the garden route, with my family. I come from a mixed family, you know. Dutch dad, Indian mother. I believe many people there have never seen a mixed family like us. The way they looked at us sometimes. Unbelievable.” — “And not even mentioning all the coloured workers, and white managers in basically every restaurant.”

“You see! Still! So crazy. Even though it has been more than twenty years ago since apartheid was abolished in South Africa… We think it will probably take hundreds of years until the equality differences are gone.”

“If that ever happens..”

South Africa, but in particular Cape Town, an amazing place, unbelievable. But I have to admit that in a way, I was happy to leave Cape Town and South Africa. The longer I stayed there the more I got to know about this country and realized how people think in this country. And the worst thing is, the longer you stay there, the more you get used to the differences. I don’t want to get used to that.

Never.

Bye Bye Cape Town

Cape Town, South Africa

“So it is Wednesday the 9th of march, 2016, and you have just started your trip to Amsterdam?”

“Pff yes, I hadn’t even realized the date.. So many things to think about today. — And I thought it would be a good idea to put some last ‘slime’ in my tubes, to prevent them from punctures.”

“True, anything else?”

“Hmm no, think I have everything. I hope. Only could you guys please put it in the tubes for me? I’ve never done it.”

“Sure. — But you’re really leaving now? 16:00 o’clock, rush hour, from Cape town? Man, that is a terrible time to leave.”

“I know pff, all the goodbyes, fixing last things for the bike, packing for the first time, it all took way longer than expected. So I decided to go for a short ride today, to Langebaan, more less 2 hours. Should be ok, right?”

“Yes, I understand..! Man, your journey just officially started! I will wave you goodbye! All the best my friend, drive safe and hope to see you back in Cape Town again!!”

“Haha yes. One day.”

I believe the bike shop worker was more excited than I was, the day I left. I experienced so many different feelings that day. In a way I was happy this day finally came, but it felt horrible to leave Capetown. Until this far, my life has never been as complete, as there. Great girlfriend, friends, house, motorbike, weather, waves, mountains and so on..

 And I left it all behind to drive alone on a motorbike through Africa.

 Fack.