The week started off with a new van. I thought about the travel I’d been doing, my likes and dislikes and realised that I needed a different type of van. So, I sold off the old one and bought a “new” one. What’s the new van? A Volkswagen Transporter LT28 from 2001. It has a good, strong motor and windows all around. The front is a bit more square, making it easier to clean which is important considering my travel mates. I do know that windows all around will mean that I will have a harder time with insulation. Which brought me to my first camping trip with it to test it out.
Before I left for the trip, I did some laundry. And why is this important? Because of something that happened that will easily explain the type of human interactions I have when traveling. There I am sitting in the laundromat listening to music. A guy walks in, puts everything in the machine, pays and… the machine won’t start. From here to there, I solve the issue and we are both very happy so we do a hand slap and I turn back with him standing there looking bewildered as I don’t continue into a fist bump. In that half second we understood who was the cool guy (him) and who was the nerd (me). We started talking and since he’s a mechanician I asked him a few questions. From there we discussed the travels I do and who I do them with. He stares at me wide eyed (something I’m used to) and says “Do you know what a mongoose is?” I knew this would lead to a great story so I happily reply “Yes, I do!” Him: “Let me tell you the story of a mongoose I raised back in Cote d’Ivoire.”
He proceeds to tell me the funniest story I could hope to hear involving a mongoose who was extremely smart. This mongoose used to sneak into the kitchen (side note: kitchens in Cote d’Ivoire are separate from the main house, which I found to be very interesting), climb into the rice pot, close the cover on itself and proceed to eat the rice. For months they had been wondering where the rice was going and why the rice left had a lot of sand/ earth mixed in it.
My new friend was a great storyteller and I was laughing hysterically.
Having started the day off so well, I then proceed to go back to the new van, start it up and off we go.
We stopped in Saint Lambert which is a beautiful little community, so green with lots of forest around and clean air. Every morning at 8:00 the Church bells would ring the hour and the half hours until the last ringing of the bells for the day at 20:00.
The reception was horrible which let me focus on hiking around, reading and just chilling in nature without the ability to do too much work. Something I badly needed after a few weeks of non stop connection as we solved some issues so we could move forward with some projects at work. It was pure bliss. It did get very cold at night (-3 C), but I have become a wiz at insulation so I was able to build something temporary. There were no sounds at night and even during the day, barely anything.
On the last day there, I left as I had some things to do back in the city, but you can be sure I will be going back there again. Sooner rather than later.