Day129 Thursday 17th February. 2011
At the border everything changed big time as we moved from south Africa-cum -Europe to Lesotho-cum-Ethiopia. The streets were lined with huts selling fruit and veg, and children as poor as the ones saw high in the mountains of Ethiopia begging for money and food. It was a real culture shock that we were not prepared for. While diane went for food I was cornered by a leather worker trying to sell his wears, after I made clear I was not interested we had along talk of the corruption and blackmailing that the government was plying about the land. While I treated this with some scepticism Diane came back with a news paper with the front page telling stories of why the government minister should not tender their resignation and how could they stay in office while all the backhanders were going on so open handed. The guy must be telling some truth In his words, yeah.
With spuds and beans bought for supper bought we headed put of town north for the hills. Rolling through valleys and mountains we felt it was a good decision to have came.
Lesotho was a beautiful country to visit. It was a privilege to be able to ride through, the mountains where sand stone and had been water eroded into sweeping curves and over hangs at heights that made your neck ache looking up at them. Even the rain that we were enjoying made the area more atmospheric with the different shades of light grey to black clouds hanging around the valleys and mountain tops. The country is around the two thousand meter mark in altitude so a great number of the clouds lived there permanently I reckon.
At the second road block and the police who demanded where was the bike tax disc displayed. After much blagging by diane the carnet de passage was handed over with us stating that this was a pre paid tax exemption document from the British government, and all that bore it would pass without hindrance.. Shell shocked by our front we rode away leaving behind a few very impressed but probably bewildered police men thinking what was that yellow book all about then.. at the second boarder crossing in the rain we reckoned it was time to leave before they realized what we had shown them.
Clearing immigration with a long talk with the totally board police and much humour and joking of their sentence of being posted to the boarder control for four months we headed back to the smooth tar roads of ZA.