I was up by 4:30 am, but had to cool my heels until the people started stirring sometime around 6 am. True to their word, my angels gave me a push, got the truck started, and gave me very careful instructions on how to get out of the Kalahari. It would be about 100 km of rough driving before I could reached the paved road, but there were no confusing intersections, so they sent me with their blessings and assurances that “you cannot miss it”. Hah!
And so for the last time I crossed through the Kalahari, uneventfully as it happens, but with the bone chilling sensation that if I made a mistake I would be stuck for hours waiting for someone to come along. Reaching the paved road was an enormous relief, and within half an hour I was entering Maun, with the plan of finding a mechanic. But just as I was turning into the main street the truck simply quit. Dead. Nada. A couple of friendlies tried to push start me, but to no avail. Apparently the battery had held just a tiny bit of charge up to that point, but when it became truly dead entering Maun the engine simply couldn’t start. How is that for good luck? This could have happened while I was still in the Kalahari!
As my good luck would have it, there was an auto parts store a few hundred meters away, so I disconnected the battery, and just went and bought a new one. Of course that would not take care of the starter problem, but if I could push start it again maybe I could reach a garage (bracing myself for a long and expensive repair). The fellows at the auto store pointed to a young man that was just hanging around and told me he was a free lance mechanic, so I hired him on the spot to look at the truck. We went back, mounted the battery, and . . . the starter did its job and the engine purred like a contented lion! The adventure had finished, and as they say all is well that ends well. Time to look for more trouble.