#2 Jonny: Mozambique… It has now been a month and over 2,000 km since we left Cape Town. We have been pacing through at an average of 120 km per day, and hence we’ve already made it to Mozambique. Today it is a blazing day in the capital, Maputo, and I have stayed on alone here for a few days, while the team continues the cycle northwards. I’m here chasing up leads in the journalistic and human rights worlds, trying to get information on modern slavery in Mozambique. Before we go into all that, let me first introduce you to the others. We had a big “group discussion” (read “bitch”) about each other two nights ago. I had spent the previous couple of days fuming about my perceived treatment as a dim-witted moron, incapable of simple tasks such as washing and packing up. Well it turns out this stemmed from the fact that I am, apparently, wholly unreliable. As anyone who knows me well knows, I am a loner. I used to believe this was by chance, not by choice. But I have, in the past weeks, come to appreciate that this is my own doing. As explained to me in an emotional outburst by group leader and arch-irritant Nick Stanhope, I live in a “Jonny-world”, where my only concern is myself, and never the group. I came to realize that he has a point. This, for whatever the reason, is the case, and I am, in others’ eyes, a selfish, lazy twat. I’m not pulling my skinny weight. A prime example was the fact that I left a bicycle at home in London, and it had to be sent out to me in South Africa. There will inevitably continue to be problems that arise from living in close quarters while performing a lengthy, gruelling activity. As the recorder of the trip, this raises all sorts of problems, since most of the action naturally occurs off screen, when the camera is away. I am training up Rob, who seems to have the fewest problems with me, on the cameras , in order that he might record the many arguments at the centre of which I may be found. Becks is a girl. She could accept it, but she appears to be choosing not to. She sees herself as equal in strength, resilience, and emotional independence to her fiancé, Rob. As inspiring as she is in this respect, because she is the most daring, mentally strong and independent woman I have ever had the pleasure to meet, she is not the equal to the pain-loving machine that is ‘The Hadmanstein’. Nor should she be, but unfortunately she gets disappointed and disheartened by this fact. There are times when she cannot complete the day’s cycle, and this creates all sorts of problems. In a startlingly different response to my own, she attempts to do as much as possible, cooking, cleaning, indeed helping in all manner of ways. But this is a futile attempt, because, at least in her own mind, she is not pulling her weight. She is primarily here to cycle, so feels like a burden when she doesn’t. This surfaces in one of two forms – half the time, she is angry at herself, and this leads to fights with Rob. Otherwise, she is quite emotional, and she and Rob spend much of the time cuddling. Nick and I spend most of the waking hours of the day bickering, sniping, and being sarcastic with one another. The rest of the time we are the best of friends, sharing many common interests in Africa, human rights issues, and humour. These moments, however, are like rare islands in a ferocious sea. Jono, the impenetrable, perpetually smoking and biltong-eating trucker, may usually be found swearing at other drivers. Who knows what goes on in his mind, behind those shades? As the support team, we share the vehicle a lot, trying to put up with each others taste in music – I like my growling blues and moody jazz, while he likes Queen and Elton John. He recently expressed a penchant for R. Kelly. Alas, there is no common ground. To catch all the latest news, help out with sponsorship or see more photos from the trip, visit the site: www.capetowntolondon.co.ukARCHIVE: 1st Week MT2003