It’s been a while since I posted here so it’s hard to know where to start! As you can see, Eben has given me my own username, so I don’t have to steal the logins of my hosts any more!
Anyway, after I left Eben, I was in the dark in my travelling case for weeks. Just as I started to wonder if I’d ever see the light of day again, things started moving once more and next thing I was unpacked and this guy fig introduced himself. Then he introduced me to mrsfig! Well, I was speechless! She is HOT!
And then came the big surprise! fig told me that I’ve become so famous as a result of my travels that they’ve made a replica of me that you can buy in the shops. Wow! How about that!? A replica of me! I must say it felt a bit funny being introduced to myself. The replica is really a good likeness. I feel honoured and flattered to be acknowledged in this way, though it did feel a bit creepy to see something that looked exactly like me but wasn’t me.
fig then told me that the reason I’d been left in the dark so long was because I had been kidnapped and held to ransom by South African Customs. Well, what a cheek! Anyway, fig paid the ransom and freed me, but I missed a big road trip he had planned for me at the end of September. He said the next trip would only happen in December and he was very busy until then and couldn’t spend much time with me. After that he placed me in a display cabinet with lots and lots and lots of other small cars like me, and left me there!
I was a bit put out at first, but the other cars were very friendly and they wanted to know all about me. They all got very excited when I shared some of my travel stories; I don’t think they get out much. Some of those cars were very old, but they looked like new because they’d never done anything with their lives. I think my arrival was the most exciting thing that happened to them in years. They all treated me like a celebrity, which was a bit uncomfortable, but I guess that’s the price of fame!
After a while with all the cars in the glass cabinet I began to think that fig had forgotten about me. It was getting a bit boring, what with having to listen to the same things over and over from all those display cars who had never lived life. I was just starting to think I might have to break out when fig came and collected me and introduced me to The Tortoise, which he called an Autovilla, which looked to me like an ordinary Kombi on which someone had built a house on the back.
fig and mrsfig said it was their first trip in The Tortoise and they seemed quite excited. They could have chosen a better day, because it was pissing down with rain. Who goes camping in the rain?
I must say I started to get the impression that fig is not all there. But the deluge didn’t seem to bother fig and mrsfig and we were soon driving through raging torrents in The Tortoise. Soon we arrived at a place where there were seven other Kombis waiting for us. It turned out that they were all members of a group called the Kaapse Kombi Kult and we were all going on a camping trip together. In the rain! It looks like ALL those Kombi people are crazy!
So we drove off in a convoy in the pouring rain as though these guys did this sort of stuff every day. After a while it stopped raining and fig behaved as though he knew that was going to happen all along. Next thing we turned off the tar road onto a muddy track over a mountain. It was muddy and stony but those Kombi guys just acted like this was the kind of road they would rather drive on. Soon we came to a sign warning that the road is dangerous and we proceeded at our own risk. If you ask me, that was the authorities suggesting that we find a better road, but the Kombi Kult Krew didn’t seem to get it. To help them along, several cars and even a 4x4 that were coming the other way all stopped and told us to turn back as the road was impassable. But that just seemed to make the Kombi Konvoy Krew more excited and they all kept on driving. Soon the road wasn’t even a road; the rain had completely washed it away. We passed more cars whose drivers told us to turn back, which just spurred the Kult Krazies on.
I can tell you I got so badly shaken up driving over all those rocks and huge holes in the road that I nearly regurgitated all my oil. The Krazy Kombi Krew just got more and more excited as the trail got worse. Then we came to a bridge that had been half washed away. OK guys, I thought, now maybe you’ll listen to all those sensible people who told you to turn back. But no, the Kombi Krazies just moved the police tape out of the way and drove across the narrowest path between the raging torrent on both sides. Soon after that we came to a river with no bridge, but those Kombi Krazies just drove through it like it was their driveway at home. And then another one!
Finally we arrived at a beautiful campsite in the mountains and it had turned into a sunny day. I was exhausted after all the excitement and slept the rest of the day. Next day the Kombi Kult Krazies sat around and didn’t do much except talking and drinking beer.
That gave me time to unfrazzle myself after the previous day’s adventures.
The morning after, the whole Krew got together and started hiking up the mountain. It was very beautiful. Then all of a sudden the whole Krew left the path and started to make their way up a kloof. There was no path, just a river and rocks with high cliffs on both sides. What’s wrong with those guys? Why can’t they just stick to roads and paths?
So we had to hike and swim up the river in the kloof, and even climb the occasional waterfall. I didn’t complain, because the whole Krazy Krew seemed to be having fun, even the women and little kids. I got very wet though.
Finally we climbed up a cliff and out of the kloof. About time, I thought. Next thing, fig had me in his hand and was standing right on the edge of the cliff. I got very nervous. Why was he standing so close to the edge?
It really felt like he was going to jump off. With me! Noooo, I don’t want to die! Jump if you must, fig, but please don’t kill me as well!
Before I could scream he had jumped off the cliff!
Next thing we were under water. It went all quiet and there were bubbles and funny filtered light. I was just thinking if this is heaven it’s OK, when suddenly we were at the surface, splashing about while everyone laughed and yelled. Now I know fig is not all there!
There were some other people swimming in the kloof and they looked at fig funny, as they should, so he told them that I am a world famous traveller. Next thing one of them said: “Oh, that must be Archie the Travelling Beetle!” What? I had been recognised by a complete stranger, out there in the bush. fig was right, I was becoming famous! After that he introduced me to each of them in turn, and they all took turns to hold me and tell me how pleased they were to meet such a famous traveller. Well, that felt very good, especially after my near death experience jumping off the cliff. I must say I could get used to this fame thing!
Next day everyone went their separate ways and we returned to the figs’ in The Tortoise and fig put me back in the glass box with all his captive cars. They were very excited to hear about my latest adventure. I think they were a bit envious, even though they had passed some unflattering comments about the dings and scratches I’ve picked up in my travels, while most of them were still as shiny as the day they were made. I’d rather be travel worn and have experienced life than be pristine and never have done anything but listen to others’ adventure stories.
Some time later fig took me out and we went to the airport. I thought maybe he was sending me travelling again, but instead he picked up two beautiful young girls. If you think mrsfig is hot you should see these two. My transmission got all tight and I think I leaked a bit of oil.
It turned out they were fig’s daughters and we all drove together to a place next to a big river and relaxed for a week. It rained a lot and the river started rising … and rising … and rising. fig said it rose eight metres above its normal level and it was very scary, with all these huge trees and people’s furniture and stuff hurtling down the raging river.
At the end of the week fig woke us all up very early one morning and we all piled into another of his Kombis, called Skilpad, which I’m told means the same as tortoise, except Skilpad isn’t The Tortoise; instead fig called it a Westfalia. Then we hit the road and drove … and drove … and drove … and drove. The sun came up and we drove all day. It got very, very hot and fig just kept driving … and driving … and driving, through the whole day and into the night. At some point Skilpad’s engine started making a strange noise and fig stopped and swore at it for a few minutes, before driving on again with the noise getting louder and louder.
Late in the night fig dropped his daughters off at their home and went to sleep at another house where his sister lives. Next day we drove to the farm of a guy called jolas, who has lots of Kombis like fig, and fig parked Skilpad there and jolas drove fig and I to the airport. Before fig caught his flight back home, he said goodbye to me and gave me to a beautiful woman called Monique, who is apparently taking me skiing in Switzerland with that bald guy Tony who I had met before.
I hope those people aren’t as crazy as fig and that this skiing lark is more relaxing and safer than jumping off cliffs and driving non-roads over mountains and across the country. I’ll let you know how it goes.