Monday, 12 October 2009

Truck life

The truck is a masterpiece for overland travel. Almost as high as a double-decker bus, its roll-up sides mean that you can travel with full panoramic views of the countryside. Below is a vast storage area housing everything from tents, gas fires, tables, luggage and stools, to washing powder, garlic crushers and bags of charcoal. Everything has its place and is packed to perfection.

Split into teams, we take it in turns to cook, pack, clean or guard the truck. Food is bought from local stores and cooked on gas fires or a charcoal bbq…and it’s up to us to decide what to cook. So far we’ve had some pretty amazing food from beef stews to fried fish to egg fried rice with chicken. Breakfast usually consists of eggs on toast, eggy bread or scrambled eggs (fortunately everyone likes eggs :) ) on a lazy day or cereal on an early driving day.

The mornings are often a test of stamina. Showers in Africa are rarely hot and neither are the mornings themselves. There’s an art to having a shower: turn on the tap, make sure that there is absolutely no chance of hot water by letting it run for a while then put one leg in to wet it, take it out, soap it up then stick it in for another split second to wash off the soap. Repeat this for each limb and each section of your body one bit at a time. Shaving and hair washing often get forgotten about until we reach a destination where there’s hot water. Surprisingly, you soon get used to showering in cold water and get it down to a quick 2 minute turnaround. And when you do find a shower with hot water, you make sure you make the most of it!!!

On truck days we often have long drives but we usually stop pretty frequently for loo stops (often behind a rock, on a hill side and frequently in view of curious locals), wildlife spotting or food shopping. Whilst we drive, we chat, read (or in my case blog) and watch the amazing sights of Africa roll by

Every evening we turn up at a campsite and put up our tents, sort out our gear and either have a cold beer or kick start dinner depending on what team we’re in. I’m pretty lucky because I have a tent to myself for the next three weeks as we’re an odd number. I’ve got putting a tent up and down to a tee so it takes me less than five minutes each way.

When we find destinations where there’s plenty to do (gorilla tracking, white water rafting, bungee jumping etc.) we stick around for a few days and take advantage of the surroundings. It also means time to catch up on laundry and time to chill out in the African sun!

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