south africa

Into The Heart

by Spencer

Bicycles are special items. If you’re taking one on a plane, you’re delivered to a special line where the wait is especially long. So you wait. One dog gets boxed. And another. Forty minutes later, I’m at the ticketing counter (finally) to be informed that no United will not honor South African Airways bicycle policy as we’re at a United ticketing desk and they’re going to charge us $200 per bicycle, we can’t do anything about it and it doesn’t matter what South African Airways said. ****.
The months to follow will not be PG. There will be ******* **** experiences week in and week out for months. Stepping on the plane, that became startling apparent. I did a rethink. I signed up for this? Why? Is too late to back out?
I’m already more sleep deprived, anxious and exhausted than at any time in my life. I forgot necessary equipment in Wisconsin. Some equipment I need and just didn’t have the time to buy.
There are so many things to worry about, so many unknowns. Is there a bridge at that border crossing? Will I get robbed and loose necessary equipment? Am I physically capable of biking thousands of miles?
But at this point, there is no time for regrets. The journey has begun. We’re sitting on tarmac in Dakar. People speaking French wearing bright green “security” vests move up and down the aisles. Passengers deplane, more get on. It’s an interminable blur, my body fighting the flipbook jump through a dozen time zones as we wait wait wait wait seemingly forever. Cabin doors close and two flight attendants in parallel aerosol spray the whole cabin, passengers included. Again, but zesty fresh scented, we’re airborne, crossing the equator to meet a new day in South Africa.