We return to South Africa, our decompression chamber before heading back to Asia. And what better place to clear our system of the excess hydrogen accumulated during our deep dive in the Dark Continent than the small town of Clarens, in the Eastern Free State.
Clarens seems to live in an enchanted bubble, far from the crime-ridden cities of South Africa, hidden in a small valley surrounded by the strange rock formations of the Maluti mountains. It has an old fashioned town square and small streets full of quaint cafes and art galleries. The smell of freshly baked pastries hangs over the village in the mornings and people greet each other courteously in the shops and streets.
In the evenings, we sit around the fireplace in cosy inns to keep the winter chill at bay. The AK 47 toting tribes of South Omo, the voodoo rituals in the middle of the night, the otherworldly landscapes of the Namib – all seem so far away, as if we’d woken up from a long dream.
After a week here, we don’t want to leave. Prisoners of our own making in that almost too perfect village. All that is missing is “No.2″ ambling down the street, swinging his umbrella and saying “be seeing you..”