September 30, 2010 GMT
A Trifle Weary Of Mr. Einstein's Theory

Crossed into South Africa today, hopeful of twistier roads.

No luck.
And I now think Einstein got it wrong.
He claimed there's no such thing as a straight line. Because time and space are all curved (he said).

Well, look at the picture:

The camera never lies.

"I thought of that while riding my bicycle," he claimed, about his General Theory of Relativity.
Well, not while pedalling along this road he didn't!
This is about 2,000 feet higher, and not very far from, the border crossing at Noordoewer. And this will be the last photo here of a straight road for a very long time, curved or straight (the time, that is).

There was no insurance office at the border. In fact, another one of those borders where there's nothing to pay at all. All very quick.
"Buy insurance in Springbok," said the customs man.
I tried, all afternoon, after ordering a new front tyre to be delivered from Cape Town.
The tourist information office spent about an hour phoning all over the place, to no avail. That left just the South African AA to phone. No luck there either.

As time went by, I remembered reading something about third-party motor insurance in South Africa, in the forums on this very website.
Search again - ah, here it is:
"Third-party insurance is included in the price of petrol."
Good! I'll use as little petrol as possible, that'll keep the insurance cost to a minimum.

Err, does that make sense?
Or is it like the madman who rushed into the bazaar proclaiming, "The moon is more useful than the sun!"
"But why?" asked someone.
"We need the light more during the night than during the day."
.......... Soon be time to go home.

Anyway, with new front tyre I can take the gravel roads along the coastal towns to Cape Town and get away from this insomnia-cure of a route.

While we're rambling, I'll mention that I was in the Post Office in Noordoewer a couple of days ago. I know more than one reader of this account has issues with the TV licencing people back home. Add me to that when I return home having cancelled my TV licence and not replied to any of the letters they will have sent me over the past year.
On the wall of the Post Office was a huge poster explaining, in simple steps, what you have to do in Namibia when you buy a new TV, a secondhand TV, receive one as a gift, sell a TV, export a TV, throw one away, or emigrate.
(I just realised, it didn't say what you have to do when you throw a brick through the screen in despair at what's on it. They must have better programmes here).
Well, the process in all these cases is the same as buying or selling a car back home. TVs must have number plates in Namibia, because the government keeps a close record of who has which television set. With the addition of, if you dispose of one in any way, sale, gift or scrap, or emigrate, you have to swear an oath at the police station and pin that to the papers you need to send off. So maybe Auntie BBC's system isn't so bad after all.
I'll find out when I arrive home.

While we're rambling (again), I've asked Caroline and Beau if they have any photos of life and work in Khartoum to pin up on here. And also if Beau can set to music a little poem about sleeping bags, that I had reason to dig out a short while ago.
Campers who ride bicycles or motorbikes have to pay some attention to how small a sleeping bag rolls up. Well, at one time sleeping bags were made of reindeer skin, and you'd certainly need two bicycles to carry one of them, maybe two motorbikes as well.
This ditty was written by Herbert Ponting while he was working as photographer on R.F. Scott's second voyage to Antarctica. It may be more entertaining to regular sleeping-bag users than a straight road:

Herbert George Ponting

On the outside grows the furside. On the inside grows the skinside.
So the furside is the outside and the skinside is the inside.

As the skinside is the inside (and the furside is the outside)
One ‘side’ likes the skinside inside and the furside on the outside.

Others like the skinside outside and the furside on the inside
As the skinside is the hard side and the furside is the soft side.

If you turn the skinside outside, thinking you will side with that ‘side’,
Then the soft side furside’s inside, which some argue is the wrong side.

If you turn the furside outside – as you say, it grows on that side,
Then your outside’s next the skinside, which for comfort’s not the right side.

For the skinside is the cold side and your outside’s not your warm side
And the two cold sides coming side-by-side are not the right sides one ‘side’ decides.

If you decide to side with that ‘side’, turn the outside furside inside
Then the hard side, cold side, skinside’s, beyond all question, inside outside.

...... What tune will that go with?

Posted by Ken Thomas at September 30, 2010 10:12 AM GMT

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