With that, the Governor escorted me to the runway and bade me farewell. He asked that I notify him when I returned and I, again, thanked him profusely for his amazing generosity. I felt like I’d never be able to thank him enough in my lifetime. Although he is a very stoic military man, he hugged me before I got in the plane wished me the best of luck. As I boarded, I realized that I wouldn’t be the only passenger. A man and woman sat buckled up in their seats. The man introduced himself as Alfonso, Personal Aid to the Minister of Tourism for Angola. He informed me that he would be escorting me to Lobito, where the Minister would be waiting to meet with me at the Hotel Terminus, a four star hotel situated on the beachfront. This time I did laugh out loud.
I spent the next few hours sleeping on the plane as we headed for Lobito. In some way, I sort of expected to wake up and find that I was back in my tent on the side of the road and that this had all been just one crazy dream!
I woke up as we touched down in Lobito, to discover that this crazy dream happened to be my reality. Pedro met us at the airport and also accompanied us to the hotel where I’d be meeting with the Minister of Tourism. The short ride from the airport gave us some time to catch up on all that had transpired over the last few days. Pedro was extremely supportive and understanding. On arrival at the hotel, the Minister had not yet arrived and I was shown to a room where I would be staying for the next day or two. Later on that evening, the Minister arrived and we all had dinner together, including Pedro and his wife. The Minister also expressed his disappointment in the events that had transpired and offered his apologies. He asked me if I had decided what I wanted to do and I told him that I wanted to return back to South Africa to start over again. I had already spoken to my South African friends in Lobito and could hitch a ride with one of them back to Windhoek and catch a flight back to Johannesburg from there. Riding back to Windhoek would also give me a bit more time to come to terms to all that had happened and start formulating a plan of action for when I returned home.
The next two days were spent on the road, heading back to Windhoek, in a 4x4. A distance that took me weeks to cover on my bicycle, only took two days in a vehicle. As we drove to Windhoek, I could pinpoint every single spot where I had set up camp. It made me feel pretty nostalgic, although I didn’t say much. I didn’t feel like talking much. I had the $20 000 in my Camelbak which lay on the back seat of the 4x4. I got to feel what it’s like to be a smuggler as we crossed the border back into Namibia. I didn’t feel the need to declare the money, unless asked, as I felt it might cause unnecessary drama that I’d have to deal with. I had had enough drama ov