And we’re.. Still in Cape Town!

After our third week in Cape Town, we met the return of the Purple People Eater with a great deal of fanfare. Having spent the last week at JB Auto’s receiving no less than the car equivalent of open heart surgery (installing a new cylinder head), the tantalising notion that we might finally be able to start heading to Namibia on the 2nd leg of our adventure was finally becoming real.

As I put my foot on the accelerator leaving the JB garage for the 3rd time in as many

The Graveyard – busted cylinder head, gaskets, seals – the works

weeks, I was convinced this was going to be the case. The Purple People Eater was flying. The old man had grown wings.

The power was now instant; no longer would I worry about nursing the car over 3,000 revs, or that we would overheat on the way home. We would finally be able tackle hills above pedestrian speeds. The JB team discovered that no amount of bush fundi experience could replace the need for genuine fitting parts. Thanks to our Tanzanian legacy, everywhere they looked, ‘that’ll do’ nuts, bolts, gaskets, and seals, were holding our lifeline together.

But now we were good to go. Our engine was now good for ‘at least’ another 100,000 to 200,000km.

Heart surgery on the PPE

We were unstoppable! Or, so we thought. The very next day we turned up at R&D 4×4, a highly regarded South African 4×4 outfitter who would be helping fit our roof rack, roof tent, and awning that we had received as hand-me-downs from Laurence L and ‘Derf the Camel.’ Anticipating a day job, we decided to hang out at R&D for the day to watch the mechanics at work. In order to provide stability to the PPE with the added weight on the roof, we were planning to fit airbags to the rear suspension to keep our tail off the ground. As I was describing to Christine how it all worked, R&D’s Johan turned up to say that we wouldn’t be taking the car home that night after all. Or leaving Cape Town any time soon. One of our rear coils had snapped (1st one in 9 years, apparently) and we would need a new set shipped in from Johannesburg.

Four days later we returned to R&D to a warming sight: the PPE fully equipped for overland travel, with roof tent, awning, capacity for extra water, diesel, and cooking gas installed and ready to go!

Overlander Christine and the Purple People Eater ready to go!

Glowing with pride, I received the keys back to our beloved – only to be told that our front shocks would need a final trip to Johannesburg for servicing before we would be able to leave. As we wait another week (the PPE is due back this Thursday – a month and a week after arriving in Cape Town) we are also having a power inverter installed under the passenger seat that converts the DC 12V voltage from the car into AC power that can charge our laptops. With our fingers crossed, this should mean we are able to keep in touch from deep in the African savannah.

But here we are – still in Cape Town – eagerly waiting to escape our purgatory. But with our planned departure date (mid next week) now in sight…

We will be unstoppable!

… Or so we hope.

Until then!

– Eugene

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