After dropping Margaret and Rosemary off at the airport we headed to the pleasant suburb of Kloof just outside Durban where we had rented an apartment for a week. The apartment was in a complex mainly consisting of small offices. It was lovely and although there was not a lot to do in the area was ideal for a bit of downtime.
We had all the normal living amenities on our doorstep. A funky cafe just a few steps away and a small shopping centre just over the road that had a Woolworths foodcourt (think Marks & Spencer food) as well as a great Thai take away place. The apartment also had wifi and something we have done without for the last 2 years or so, a TV with satellite television, handy for the rugby.
But the real reason we had chosen the apartment was not for a slice of normal living but that it was close to where the second stage of the big truck clean would take place. The MAN garage nearby that we had visited when we first arrived in South Africa had offered to help us get the outside of the truck clean. They had a wash shed and high powered hoses as well as the labour to help with all the scrubbing.
This was no small job. Whilst the camper body was relatively easy to clean, cleaning the chassis and the engine was another matter. Every time you thought you had got a part clean you would see some more dirt. To get to all the dirt we even took the wheels off the truck.
It took four full days to get the truck clean. The garage was fantastic and they looked after me really well. Even picking me up from the apartment and dropping me off at the end of the day. I can not thank them enough, it would have been an impossible task without their help.
On the last day of cleaning it started raining. Oh no, this would be a disaster as the port was 25kms from the garage and the thought of driving on wet roads with all the spray filled me with horror after all the work that had been done to get the truck clean. At the end of the 4th day the truck was shining. Cleaner than it had ever been, but will it be clean enough for Australia?
While I had been at the garage and the port the girls had been busy doing extra schooling. They had also managed to get all those jobs done that are not so easy when on the road such as going to the dentist and having glasses fixed. We had spent the evenings enjoying the range of tasty and easy take away food at our finger tips.
After working all week I was wanting a very lazy weekend. The girls on the other hand were hoping to get away from the apartment where they had been all week. A compromise was reached. A slow start to Saturday morning was followed by a big breakfast at the local cafe. We then headed out to explore the local botanical gardens making sure we were back in time to watch the rugby.
Sunday followed a similar pattern except breakfast was replaced by lunch at the local pub. Then for me it was back to the port. The shipping line had offered me a chance to be shown around the ship we were shipping the truck on while it was in port. This was too good an opportunity to miss so I headed back to the port where I was shown around the ship. In many ways the ship is just like a mobile multi story car park. While I was there they were still busy unloading. Lots of cars (including a bunch of Maseratis) but also mining equipment and even a helicopter. Even though they were busy they still found time to show me around the ship and take me up to the bridge. It’s a massive ship (200m long and 15 stories high) and I was surprised that when at sea the total crew was only 23.
And with that it was also time for us to leave. Exactly 5 months after arriving in Africa we were flying out. When we set out on this trip we had not planned on coming to Africa but I am so glad we did. We have had a fantastic time in a wonderful place and seen some amazing wildlife. Whilst we are sad to leave I know we will be back.