Friday, November 10, 2006

Cracked rib, sliced toe, leaking fuel tank

Due to popular demand from my legion of fans (that would be you, Deb) I have at long last decided to return to the world of blog, live from the Kruger National Park, South Africa.
There'd been good intentions to run a kind of online travel diary, but I was out of email range in Zimbabwe and Mozambique for more than a month and, well... couldn't be bothered after that.  Until now.
So, it's not really a diary - more a retrospective of the last two months on safari, in small chunks. 
I'm breathing carefull as I write this, having slipped off the ladder on the back of the roofrack.  One of my left ribs did its best to dent the top of the steel roofrack, but I think the roof rack survived better than I did.  Mrs Blog sliced open her big toe on a cunningly camouflaged tent peg this morning and Tonka, our Land Rover (he's Tonka-tuff and becoming yellower by the year as his bodgy green paint job wears away to reveal his canary yellow original colours) is leaking fuel.
Our new second fuel thank that we had installed last year is leaking diesel from its seam.  Ah, Africa.
Handy bush mechanic tip for the day:  Sunlight clothes washing soap (which is probably not even available outside of Africa in the 21st century) reacts with diesel to form a temporary sealant.  Gets clothes whiter than white and conserves fuel.
Tionka the Land Rover is always leaking something.  I repaired a radiator leak yesterday (when I say repaired, I tipped a bottle of red goop into the radiator and prayed - and it actually worked), and the rear of the vehicle is spattered in drops of gear oil.  The gearbox is on its last legs, I think, and we will be replacing it near the end of this trip.  Why is it that there are fifty-year-old Land Rovers still on the road, but their gearboxes wear out after 160,000 km?
Not that I'm complaining of course.  I am a die hard Land Rover man in my old age.  I get a lot of stick from Toyota owners as I do spend a fair amount of time on safari lying on my back under the chasis trying to identify the leak of the day, but will their shiny new four wheel drives still be on the road in 22 years time?  Perhaps, and if they are they'll probably still have their orignal gearboxes, but I doubt it.
But enough about Land Rovers.  More about me.
I'm two-thirds of the way through my fifth book and I'm quite enjoying it so far, which probably means wife/mother/mother-in-law/publisher and editor - all of my critics are women, by the way - will think it's a stinker until draft three or four.
The journey so far...  Mrs B and I had a month in the bush in Zimbabwe, mostly in Hwange National Park, preceeded by three days in the Botswanan stopover town of Francistown while we waited for a rear differential oil seal for the truck.  (Interestingly, I learned that my 22-year-old Series III Land Rover has a 40-year-old Series IIa rear axle and diff.  This, I wa assured by Solomon, the Land Rover king of Francistown, is a very good thing.  "This is a strong axle".  Hmmm.  A strong axle requiring unique parts).
Had a good time on the annual Hwange National Park game census, with the wildlife society of Zimabwe (known these days in very 'now' corporate speak as "Wildlife and Environment Zimbabwe").  This, I think, should be the subject of a separate blog.
Then proceeded south to South Africa for a week in Kruger where we rendezvoused with some friends of ours - two brothers (as in siblings, not men of the cloth - of you knew these two you wouldn't make the mistake) from Australia.  We spent some time acquaintin the bros with African wildlife and then headed through the new border crossing in the Kruger Park at Giryondo across to Mozambique, for a week of sun, sea, Dois M beers, prawns and cashews.  More on mozambique later, I think. 
Mrs B and I have both taken our daily panadol and are in good spirits as the first big storms of the rainy season are now over.  She is lying in the sun reading (and people ask her what she does when I'm writing in Africa!) and I am about to stop this and do some proper work.
If you can call what I do proper.   


Bec of the Ladies Lounge said...

I used to wash my grey horses in Sunlight soap - nothing like it for getting rid of red mud.

But no, I don't think you can buy that kind here any more.

I wonder what Reckitt's Blue would do for Tonka's other broken bits?

Seo Link Master said...

increase miles per gallon, fuel saver, increase gas mileage