A red-hot ride north – in your dreams, bru
SO THERE we were, Patty and I. In a LaFerrari, hightailing it for the border crossing at Vioolsdrift. It was built to be spanked, this Ferrari. And the various denizens of the blue light areas were all too busy counting the illgotten gains of their days on the take to care a fig about what was going down on the N7. Or up, depending which way you held the map.
That road to the desert invites you. It does not send a card or make a phone call, it just opens the door and smiles at you, like the doorman of an underground gambling den.
Patty. Like from a hamburger. I’m the brains and he’s the brawn, knuckles still bruised from his last mixed martial arts combat. But we both love the machine, brilliant in traditional red.
I had taken delivery that very morning. It was 10 minutes later that we decided to make for the border. This baby had to run. We had visions of the road to Windhoek and onwards to Katima, a black snake of a road, deadly in the sun as a mamba, through the desert and into the savannah.
But first, we had to deal with Vioolsdrift.
And as I said it, the border post hove into view. South Africa was over, gone, in the wink of an eye.
It felt like years since Patty said: “When you get this Ferrari on test, we hit Namibia!”
The LaFerrari fit snugly under the boom as we flashed over on to the Namibian side, where a sleepy border guard flapped a lazy hand at a large fly. We took it as our signal to carry on and I stepped on it. With the roar, the LaFerrari left the buildings and the bridge over the River Orange in the heatwaves from the sand. Freedom was ours.
But then an olive green truck threw sand and stones as it charged out of the dunes to the left. And a brown truck threw sand and stones as it charged out of the dunes on the right.
Colonel Bok jumped out of the brown truck stoically, his AK47 slung over a casual shoulder. We stopped. The LaFerrari can stop.
Soon, Patty and I were the meat in a Swapo sandwich. Lots of excited chatter ensued, especially our teeth, as the business ends of various AKs kept a beady bead on us while the heavies shuffled around the car, talking nuts. And bolts.
Soon we found ourselves sitting in the shade of the green truck, sucking on some serious rolled Cuban leaves.
“Come on, smoke it up!” commanded Colonel Bok and Sergeant Doekvoet as the fighters lined up for their turn to smoke some tyres.
Where they learnt to do donuts, I don’t know, but they had it down to a fine art. Then there was the drifting. We were drifting in and out of consciousness from the heavy nicotine with which we were being force-fed, while they were drifting around a boulder in the road.
But then a pink Russian Hind chopper appeared over the dune and a big machine gun spewed death from its door.
As the fighters fled helter skelter, Cubans and AKs flying, the chopper landed and Chuck Norris stepped out.
Patty and I vomited with joy as the last of the Cuban influence left us and colour returned to our tear-stained cheeks. The Aventador escaped unscathed. Of course. “Let’s getcha outta here,” the Texas Ranger drawled and under- slung the LaFerrari to the chopper. Before we knew it, we were airborne with a cargo of lion gallbladders which Chucky had confiscated from smugglers working the illicit Asian dried medicine trade.
Underneath us, the LaFerrari was swinging gently in the 150-knot breeze. Destination Angola.
The border post at Santa Clara was non-functional. As non-functional as I would have been if I had so many bullet holes in me. But it did not matter, because Chucky had the chopper at 100 feet, under the radar. Right where I always wanted to be. It seemed peace was about to win, when tracers flashed upwards from under us. We were drawing fire and it wasn’t the kind you wanted for the next braai.
As we went in to land, the LaFerrari scooping Kalahari sand, the culprit was identified as 32 Battalion rifleman Joe Links, who was separated from his platoon in 1981 and had never heard the war had ended.
Chucky handed Patty a pair of nunchakus to go sort the man out, while I made tea and sandwiches to sell to the spectators for more petrol money.
All too soon we had to turn back for Cape Town to give back the car. The adventure had come to an end.
I just can’t help wondering why even my nightmares have to involve cars?
IF ONLY: This is the LaFerrari of which I dream but have never driven, never mind to Namibia, says the reader.