Leaving the Badlands

Fuel stops had been scarce, so I was pleased when I found out that this guy sells petrol

His wife was sporting the best Princess Leia hair-do I had seen so far this trip

Her kitchen was quite a sight as well

I had a sort of stir-fry dish, unidentifiable veggies and noodles, with a dubious cold drink, and then, Suzi didn't want to start. I tried and tried, but she wasn't keen. I headed back into the shade to have a cold drink- except it was hottest coke I've ever had the misfortune to taste! The whole village was muttering about the sad state of affairs- the moto is broken "what is the vazaha going to do?"

A bus pulled into the village with the usual heaving mass of humanity inside it and on the roof, the usual mountain of luggage, along with something that caught my eye

I took a photo with the thought that if Suzi really will not start, I'll just have to tie her onto a bus like this- and I'll use the photo to show the guys how to do it.
I'm not sure if it was the threat of such a humiliating scene for Suzi, but she immediately leapt into life at the next press of the button.

I was pretty excited at this point as I realised I was getting to the end of the sand, and if things didn't get too tricky I might even make it to Tulear- the major town on the south west coast. the thought of a cold beer spurred me through the dust and sand.
I paused only briefly to get a photo here

Yep, the Tropic of Capricorn, I'd been parallel with it for a while and now here I was crossing it- as a Capricorn I always get a thrill when I see these signs. I had crossed the Tropic on the east coast somewhere, but either the mud or the rain had obscured any sign - if there was even one there which I doubt as it's such a remote road. The road started to improve and to my surprise at the next river, there was that rarest of sights... a bridge

Soon after that I reached the tarmac, I almost wept with relief- no more sand for a while and I was clear of the Badlands. I pressed on- virtually able to smell the beer...
making it to the coast and a beachside table where I watched the sun set over the Mozambique Channel

There's an almost indescribable feeling and mixture of emotions when reaching safety and civilisation after days of struggling through the intense heat and the sand. I felt as if this hard stretch had started weeks ago when I left the last bit of tarmac on the east coast, heading south. From here on I'd be riding north for a while.