Published: March 19th 2012March 12th 2012
Sunday, March 11.
After a rather sleepless night followed by a wonderfully hot shower and equally wonderful English breakfast, I made my way from the hotel to the airport to await the arrival of The Gang. Suse, our fearless, most awesomest head honcho was easy to spot as she made her way into the airport and the second I saw her, I knew things were going to be great.
Apart from Carlos, Brian and myself who were already in the vicinity, everyone flew in together. The twelve of them tumbled out of baggage claim with an assortment of backpacks, duffle bags and day packs with expectant, anxious, hopeful, excited faces that I'm sure mirrored my own. Greetings were exchanged and before long, I was enviously eyeing other peoples' abilities to pack light as we crossed the Spanish border and went to meet our home for the next 43 weeks.
There she was. And she was BIG. I'd seen pictures of this truck on the website but failed to appreciate the height of the thing! It's a five step ladder to climb into the back where two groups of four seats face each other at the front and the
Lunch in Gibraltar
rest of the seats are along the wall facing in. The 'windows' are plastic tarps that can be rolled up and secured - perfect for those days when being blown away by the sights alone just aren't enough! No, we had a few open today and coupled with traffic and a top speed allowance of only 80km/hr, it's not bad at all.
After storing the luggage, we had a few hours to spend in Gibraltar, giving us time to get to know one another. With 16 people, an age range from 18 to 65 and seven different nationalities, we're a wonderfully diverse bunch. Some wandered, most lunched and all were back at the truck to begin what most had been anticipating for quite a while.
We took off for a campsite in Terifa, Spain to spend our first night together. After a tour of the camping grounds (hot showers! wi-fi!), time was given to talk about what to expect - at least in the general sense. This is not a hand-holding trip. We will cook, clean, collect water and firewood and look after our 'home' and each other for the next ten months (though in our current group, only
And the race is on
Setting up tents on the first night in Terifa, Spain
seven of us are finishing in Istanbul; we pick others up along the way). We also discussed security issues and I liked the direct way Suse went about it. Yes, it's Africa. Things happen. But things also happen in our home countries and we're not going to go out of our way to look for trouble.
The sun was setting and the wind was cool when we grabbed a tent and headed for the grassed area. Some had brought their own tents and set about putting them up in record time. The rest of us got a demonstration and then went about doing the same. They're three person tents, usually shared by two but I was part of a threesome, making for a cosy night!
Dinner was organised chaos. Veggie washers, veggie choppers, chicken choppers (me!), fire-starters and water-fillers, all done under head torches (a seriously brilliant invention - if one's batteries aren't flat...) and lights from the truck. We were seated in a haphazard circle for 21:30 eating chicken stir-fry with rice, all quite pleased with ourselves, I think!
There are more photos below