On Friday, around noon, Louise and I packed the car and headed off on an adventure.  It was “supposed” to be a weekend of hiking and considerations of A Course in Miracles at a property in the hills of the scenic KwaZulu-Natal Midlands. 

Then reality set in.  Along the way we had issues with phones, picking up a movie, getting lost and, just when we thought all of our challenges were behind us, we encountered a pot-hole strewn road that looked more like a minefield than a road.  We managed to avoid most of the bad ones for quite a while and then – BAM – that sound and feel that you never want to experience while driving.  We limped to the side of the road and checked out our ruined rear tire.  Opened the trunk, or “boot” as they call it here in South Africa, emptied out all of the luggage, and discovered that we had no spare tire.  Turns out that wasn’t REALLY the problem because we had blown TWO tires AND cracked the rims so a spare would have been useless.  Now it’s getting dark, we’re in the middle of nowhere, and it’s a 30 km walk to the nearest town.  Skip ahead to when we did get to town, Newcastle, when we didn’t know what to do with the car or where to stay.  Later, we found out that BMW could take 3 weeks to get the rims.  Found the rims in junk yards and a tire guy that could put them on but my credit card was blocked.  My other card and two debit cards had been stolen two weeks before (see previous blog post).  Could have called the bank that issued the Visa card but my phone was mysteriously locked and the code to unlock it was back in Joburg.

So – were these “problems”?  We had set out to have an adventure and that’s just what was happening.  The fact is that we met some wonderful people.  Shane, the young black man from FM Towing.  Born and raised in Newcastle, Shane helped us through our uncertainty as to what we should do.  He drove us to a B&B and, when they had no vacancy, to the Newcastle Inn where we got a room and a place to leave our car. 

Mark, the General Manager of the hotel.  He arranged for someone to come jack up the car and remove the two damaged wheels.  Then he cancelled his golf game so he could drive me to BMW, two different junk yards, and to the tire place. 

Ahmed, a man from the U.S. currently living in Newcastle and working at one of the junk yards.  When he heard my U.S. accent, he gave me his card and told me to call him if I needed anything at all while sorting out our auto problems. 

Patrick, the owner of the Hi-Q tire shop.  Besides giving me a good deal on the tires and a front-end alignment when he didn’t have to, he also agreed to let us sort out my credit card problem over the weekend and pay the hotel on Monday since he would be closed for a national holiday.  Since we couldn’t fit our old tires/rims, which we needed for the insurance company, in our little car along with our luggage, Patrick offered to bring the tire that we couldn’t fit down to Joburg on his next trip. 

Jeremy, the event organizer.  Knowing that the road from Newcastle to our meeting place was also a horrible road, he came down to pick us up and then brought us back to the Newcastle Inn on Monday so we could leave our car in a safe parking lot rather than risk further damage.

So – did we encounter a series of “problems” or simply a different adventure than we had anticipated?  By the way, we still got to do some fabulous hiking and had two wonderful considerations of A Course In Miracles with new and old friends Chris, Anu, Jeremy, Sean, and Maria.  We also saw a movie about hiking the Camino de Santiago and had some great conversations about that with Anu, who had done it, and Sean and Maria who are doing it this year.

Life is a series of events.  Some are planned, some happen along the way.  All are opportunities for the expression of Love and the enjoyment of Life.  This was a great weekend!