Saturday, June 24, 2006

The last 2 days

I know that everybody that is watching this blog has not seen any new postings from Andre or I over the past 2 days. That’s because I have been an emotional wife and wanted Andre to give his version of events over the last 2 days but he has been unable to post anything due to signal problems. Once the mail comes through from him, I will post his blog but in the mean time, let me give you an update from my point of view.
I had heard from Andre on Wednesday morning after he spent the night in the shepherd’s hut (he later told me that the shepherd boys wouldn’t let him leave without them showing him some bushman paintings – awesome, hey?). I started to get worried 24 hours later when I hadn’t heard from him but was relieved when my phone rang at 4:45pm on Thursday. The relief didn’t last long because the conversation went something like this:
Me: (no hello) Thank goodness, I was getting really worried :-)
Andre: Sorry babes, listen carefully. You have to get a pen because you are going to have to write this down. I had to turn around on the pass and come back down the mountain because it is snowing heavily and visibility is very poor.
Me: Oh God, are you okay?
Andre: My battery is going flat and I need you to call David (the race organizer) and ask him what I can do. I am freezing cold and can’t stay here tonight. David is staying at the Walkerbout Hotel in Rhodes (I heard Walk About Hotel and spent 15 minutes on the internet trying to find the number). I’m going to try and find shelter because I am standing under a Vodacom tower in the snow. Tell him that I am willing to take a time penalty, but I need to be collected.
Me: Okay, please try and find some electricity for your phone. I will call you back in a minute. Bye.
At this point my stomach tightened and my adrenalin was pumping.
I tried the municipality which was closed because I didn’t know where else to get the number. But then I got help from a guy in the office for some internet assistance and he managed to realize that I’d spelt the name incorrectly. I called the hotel. A lady answered and this is how the conversation went:
Me: Hi, please can I speak to David Waddilove?
Lady: He’s not here yet.
Me: Do you know where I can get hold of him please?
Lady: Oh, he’s with some riders in Vrederus.
Me: My husband is one of the riders and he’s stuck in the snow in Mount Fletcher and I need David to call him because he needs help.
Lady: Oh s***, that’s really bad. The other riders are all safe and sound in Vrederus.
Me: Okay, that doesn’t really help me…do you have a number please?
Lady: No, I don’t…hmmm…that’s bad. Hold on a minute….okay, please call the farm. Maybe they can help you. The number is (blah, blah, blah)
Me: Thank you. Bye

I got hold of the farm and the lady said that David was in a bungalow on the farm. I explained the situation and asked him to call me back urgently. 3 minutes later I called again and they told me David was in the shower and he would phone me back as soon as he was done. I didn’t care if he was on the toilet; I was just desperate to speak to him. I then spoke to Andre and he had found a shop where the very friendly locals gave him a packet of Lemon Creams, a cup of coffee, a heater and electricity. He was absolutely fine and I felt much better. David called me later to explain that Andre would be collected and would be brought to the farm and would be safe. It was then that I burst into tears – I got such a fright and was so relieved that he was going to be safe.
Andre called later to say that he had eaten and was safe again – his legs were sore, but he was going to have a bath. I asked him when last he had had a bath and he replied, “you don’t want to know”. The poor guy that fetched him!

Yesterday (Friday), Andre arrived safely in Rhodes at about lunch time. He found a washing machine, did some bike maintenance and got nourishment and rehydrated. He was in really good spirits though and had decided to stick with the group for few days. So watch this space and hold thumbs.

Till next time,


Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi ya,andre what happened to all your survival training. not the first time you have been stuck in a snow storm (is it dad) (you were just looking for an excuse cause you wanted a bath, you couldn't handle you own smell anymore) my turn to make call you names now...stinky..
Still love youxxxx

2:28 PM  
Anonymous Rudolph said...

Hallo there Andre must have been a bit of a scare Mountains are not to be taken for granted as you very well know But what ever happens do not give up you have worked to hard to get there Always remember the bitter taste of failure will stay with you for the rest of your life. Team work is very importend It is not about winning but completing the race with grace and dignity
Your Dad

5:54 PM  
Anonymous kevin said...

did the ride to rhodes. two of our group had to be ferried off the mountain by kindly angel jean-maries who was waiting for us at the abandoned police station on the top. we gave up trying to make rhodes because of the snow and spent the night in cottages on jean-marie's farm. we were very, very worried about andre because he had left vuvu ahead of us and now was apparently alone on the mountain. then corinne called . . .
andre came in later in excellent spirits (despite being hit in the rear by a bakkie!).
saw him writing his update at rhodes and look forward to reading it here. kevin (number 13).

11:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Go ANDRE the days you loose are not important to the lifetime of experiences that you are gaining,we are all with you in spirit and whatever decisions you make along the way are the right ones just make sure you come out safely.We heard lastnite that my son Mark and wife Jorine are expecting for the first time so I think there is another "Race" that you are a little behind in.Lots of love and support from the team at Kwikfreight and M+M.

9:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah bless, when I hear stories of people's kindness, almost makes me want to move back to SA... but not quite! Good to spread the word though so my Scottish-Tartan-Army-for-Andre team are all reading about your adventures and oohing and aahing over the generousity of humans! Greg always says that he's found those who have the least will most often give the most... definitely true in this case, eh?

Hope you're having an amazing time. Thinking of you always!

Lots of love

11:47 AM  

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