Monday, October 31, 2005

Over and Overland

The mission:
To transport myself from Cape Town to Nairobi in the shortest, cheapest, most convenient fashion.

The obvious answer:

Get on an airplane, stupid. But I’m a sucker for butt ache, for lousy public transport, and for nasty fried food scarfed down at gas stations.

The long way:

Last time it took me from August 7 to September 29, 2001.

The hang-ups:
I’d like an occasional shower—preferably but not necessarily warm—and I’d like to stop somewhere for at least a day.

How easy it would be, I mused as I rearranged—again and again—the pieces of my public transportation puzzle, to sit in Cape Town for a week and then fly. The price is the same. The pain sure is less.

I must be a masochist. But what the hell, like I have anything better to do. (Aside from color comics, write a book, edit pony stories, and write a sidebar on public transportation for author Tim Leffel’s upcoming travel book.)

The Intercape Mainliner bus leaves at 5:30 p.m. on Monday night. I have my fifteen percent discount card. Unfortunately, the connecting bus to Gaborone—that’s in Botswana for those of you who have not read the lady detective books—arrives in Gaborone exactly when the sleeper train I want to be on departs.

I’d forgotten what a drag it was trying to plan around things that aren’t designed to work together.

But hey, I’m the transportation editor. The Marie in The years haven’t made me soft, have they?

Maybe. If my cell phone rang right now, and it was Shawn calling to tell me that the owners of the wine and olive estate he’s working at have invited me to stay, I’d go in a flash and catch the plane next week.

But that’s not gonna happen. Because Shawn—like every man I’ve had even the teensiest few seconds of flirtation with for the last four years—has vanished. They all seem to do this eventually. Even the guy tiling my shower didn’t call today to see when I'd be out of my room.

Right, well, enough waiting for a Prince Charming to come to my rescue. I’ve got a bus to Lesotho to catch.

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