After crossing out of Swaziland and entering back into eastern South Africa, I cycled for 30-40 kilometers to the nearby city of Malelane, South Africa.
When I asked two local police officers sitting in their car if they knew where I might find a cheap guesthouse for the night, they escorted me in their vehicle to the Chill Inn, a nice little B&B on the outskirts of town. The guesthouse cost 300 Rand, which was about 50 Rand more than I had been paying all across South Africa, but I took the place. I was tired and needed a place to stay. I was given a large room with three beds in it. The room was directly across the hall from the main reception desk and there were giant open windows between the bedroom and the front desk. This meant that I could hear everything going on outside and everyone out there could hear me. I spent the rest of my time at the Chill Inn trying not to make a sound.
Two days after I arrived at the Chill Inn I went on a one day safari tour of Kruger National Park. The day after that I realized I was suffering with a severe case of food poisoning. My stomach was making all kinds of horrible noises, I was constantly running back and forth between my bed and the toilet, and a had the worst case of diarrhea I have ever had in my entire life.
I must have eaten or drunken something horrible. I think it may have been some of the water I ingested while I was in Swaziland.
Because I was so sick (I spent two full days in terrible pain and several more days simply recovering), I didn’t do hardly a think in Malelane. I rented more than a dozen movies from the local video rental shop and spent most of my days laying in bed watching DVDs on my computer. The rest of the time was spent on the toilet or in the bathroom.
The worst part about being in a guesthouse like the Chill Inn during a time when I was deathly ill was that I did not have my own bathroom. Instead, I was having to use a shared bathroom down the hall. This meant that every time I had to go to the toilet (which was very often), I had to leave my room, run down the hall, and then try and quietly use the shared bath without letting everyone else in the building know just how sick I truly was. It wasn’t easy. Nor was it fun.
One day when I was still sick at the Chill Inn, I went outside to get some food from the nearby supermarket, and when I returned I found that I had been locked out of the guesthouse. There was a large, electric, barbed-wire fence surrounding the property and even though I rang the doorbell multiple times, the woman watching the house was either on the toilet herself or she didn’t hear me. I was sick and not feeling well, so I wanted to get back into the house right away. So I decided to jump over the barbed metal fence… and in doing so got a large 3/4 inch metal barb in my leg. It hurt… a lot! The photo below doesn’t show just how deep the barb went into my leg. On the surface, the wound doesn’t look bad at all, but the barb went deep into the muscle and later affected how I was walking. It hurt for several days after the injury.
Even though I was sick almost the entire time I was in Malelane, I enjoyed the place. I could have easily stayed there longer, but I wanted to get out of that guesthouse. I didn’t like my room and I didn’t like having to ring the bell every time I wanted to come or go from the property. Luckily, the woman running the place was very understanding. She knew that I was sick and gladly let me stay well beyond the period of time that I had originally told her I would be staying.
While the original plan was to cycle from Malelane back to Johannesburg, I still wasn’t feeling goof – even after several days of rest and recuperation, so I bought a bus ticket and made plans to travel by bus to Pretoria, where I would stay for the last week or so before leaving South Africa and flying back to Poland.