Belize at last!

Well done both of you. You made it in style. This is the big day. Enjoy everything. The boat trip sounds good. Take lots of care on your bicycle, William. The whole world is aware of “Doomsday”. Another sizzler here today, but it is supposed to moderate at the weekend. Love, Mom.

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We arrived in Belize City today after 115km of cycling for the day. Great to be here. The tour is finished but I will do an optional 130km cycle tomorrow to celebrate the end of the world at Laminai Temple.

Dad will take a boat to Laminai Temple with a lot of other cyclists who do not wish to cycle tomorrow.

Thank you everyone for your interest in this Tour d’ Afrique expedition.

God bless.

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Wow, well done!

More great blogs to read…. many thanks. I have truly enjoyed every single one of them and also the comments/replies. Well done, Anne – there are times when this adventure from your point of view must have been extremely nerve-wracking. Thanks, too, for your Christmas wishes. We are ‘way behind with our ‘greetings’. Joe said this morning, that following my example, he has become the world’s worst procrastinator! No wonder, we seem to spend so much time visiting doctors, specialists, an anesthesiologist, the hospital for my laminectomy procedure on January 2nd

Wishing you all the best for the remainder of your trip. Look forward to talking to you once you have settled down again at home. Noreen

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Heading for the Big Finish!

Wow, what exciting experiences again. Fascinating stories of Tikal and the Mayans. You must all have been so glad to reach the restaurant after a 3am start and no breakfast! Now you have finally reached Belize and another different climate. You will doubtless miss your Group after you finish but your memories and experiences will be priceless. Also what you have both achieved is outstanding. Enjoy the last stage and the experiences in Belize and the celebrations. Yes, St Georges Cathedral is at the bottom of the Company Gardens and it is beautiful. Still very hot here at the moment – 30. Went to Starke Ayres for lunch with Sharon and Swang yesterday. Really nice. Betty (& her daughter Margaret) and everyone I meet ask how you are both getting on.
All the best for the Grand Finale! Love, Mom

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Tikal Impressions, Welcome to Belize

The story continues. Tikal was impressive but there was no visible sunrise due to fog which we expected anyway. We managed to relax a bit after visiting the Tikal ruins although we only returned to our rest day stopover town of Flores after midday. Flores is the main town near Tikal and has an airport for travelers to fly in specifically to see the Mayan ruins at Tikal. It was a 60km drive from Flores to Tikal and on the return journey to our hotel, I sat above the protuding back wheel of the bus which was extremely uncomfortable but better me than Dad.

We took a lot of photographs of Tikal and it is a spectacular complex of ruins with tall pyramid style buildings that you have to walk up. The main temple is temple 4 where we ascended to try and see the sunrise at 06:20am. Afterwards we walked around other pyramid shaped ruins and took photographs of the jungle surrounding Tikal. There is normally a football field at all Mayan ruins where the Mayans once played their brand of football. After these matches one of the players was sacrificed according to ritual practice. There were significant architectural, farming and daily activities taking place at Mayan citadels and this is obvious in particular once you see the extent of the ruins at Tikal. There were once 150 000 people living in Tikal but the citadel was deserted before the Spanish arrived in America in the early 1500’s.

Once upon a time agriculture took place in an 8km radius all around Tikal but there was a drought for 20 years which ultimately forced the citadel to be abandoned. All very interesting but I can tell you that we walked approximately 10km whilst at Tikal without having had breakfast until the tour ended after 10am and so we were starved cyclists by the time we got to the restaurant after the tour. One more fact, Tikal means something like “the place of sounds” in what I think is a native American language. If you clap your hands near the temples, there is a clear echo which is quite voluble. Just a pity that civilisation did not continue after the ruins were abandoned.

Today’s cycling. We cycled 109km from Flores, Guatemala, to San Ignacio, Belize in good time. In fact we almost reached the border by noon after cycling 93km. Dad and I cycled well and we didn’t experience any mechanical problems with our bicycles which makes the going a lot faster. It was goodbye to the dryer Peten region of Guatemala and welcome to the rainy Belize countryside of perennial rivers and green fields. We took our second coke stop of the day, both after lunch which was at 60km in Guatemala, in Belize mainly to take cover from the rain which started to fall once we crossed the border. At our first coke stop which was in Guatemala, not for the first time, an alcoholic pitched up at the coke stop which prompted our departure.

One thing you learn while you are on this expedition is that we are all different, some in peculiar ways, and you must try to accept people the way they are. The group of cyclists are a good bunch and I am sure to miss them once the expedition is over in two days’ time. There will no doubt be some celebration when we end the cycle at the Laminai Temple on 21 December. However we have another long ride tomorrow of over 100km and it has not yet been confirmed how long the ride will be on Doomsday, 21 December. It has most surely been a learning experience and Dad will no doubt tell you more.

I am glad to hear Mom that the concert was good. Am I right in thinking that St George’s Cathedral is at the end of Adderley Street? The St George’s Cathedral I am thinking about is a very impressive church and I have visited it myself. Looking forward to arriving in Cape Town on Christmas Day. Keep up the hard work at SANCCOB, Margaret, and I look forward to seeing you at the hacking. It’s all


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DOOMSDAY – – Yippeee

It’s DOOMSDAY – – and the sky hasn’t fallen in . . . . . yet!!!!    But the end of your gruelling epic adventure has truly arrived.    CONGRATULATIONS to you both Gavin and William.   What you have achieved is absolutely amazing and we here in laid-back Cape Town are all so very impressed.   Enjoy the celebrations that I’m sure your whole team will be revelling in and travel home safely.   What a wonderful Christmas present for Anne this will be when you both get off the plane.   Congratulations to you too Anne for having survived your menfolk’s madcap adventure 🙂
Love to you all  – –  Margaret

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All Different

Many thanks for both your Blogs. So good to get all your news. Wonderfully descriptive as always. Sounds quite different now with the heat and the lower altitude and less climbing. Plenty variation. You will be getting up soon to see the sunrise at Tikal. Amazing experiences you are having. Enjoy the Rest Day. Very hot here too, supposed to be 33 today! Saw a big raptor perched high in a tree on the greenbelt yesterday, but didn`t have binocs to identify it. Concert in St Grorge`s Cathedral was really lovely. We sat in a new part that had been built on and there was a lot of glass so we nearly melted! We had a good view though and I could see Sybil. Enjoy the last lap, and well done to both of you. Love, Mom

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