Monday, December 22, 2008


We thought we had a ride lined up on a truck delivering fruit trees on
behalf of an NGO, but they got re-routed at the last minute so we went
to plan B, riding our bikes to Chipata. Usually the 65-km trip takes
about five hours, but thanks to rain, wind, and sandy mud, this time
we took a record-long six and a half hours.

Midway through a winding shortcut, there's a bridge about ten feet
above a creek where kids bring their cattle. Usually the bridge is
logs with mud packed between them so it seems solid. But the rains
have washed away the mud, so it's just three slick, mossy logs. Right
when we pulled up, a guy rode up from the other way with an old dude
sitting on his rack. He carried the bike across and the old guy inched
over the bridge. Then the young guy picked up my bike-- overloaded
panniers and all-- and carried it across for me. After two precarious
steps, I crab-walked across on my hands and feet. Then the guy came
back across for Trevor's bike.

For the first five hours, we saw a grand total of two cars. Only one
was going our way, but unfortunately it was a taxi so loaded down the
bumper was barely off the ground. I was wishing a big truck would
drive by and stop so we could throw in our bikes and ride. Alas, I got
the character building experience instead.

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