The Old Legs Tour of New Zealand – 25 February 2024 -D Day minus 5.

The Old Legs New Zealand Tour got off to a flying start for Jenny and I, but unfortunately only as far as Addis Ababa, which is where our wheels came off.
You might remember that we were booked on direct flights, first to Lusaka, then to Addis, then to Hong Kong, then to Auckland. Unfortunately, we missed the memo that our direct flight to Hong Kong was actually a direct flight to Manila, with Hong Kong as a secondary small print destination. For those who don’t know, Manila is in the Philippines and nowhere near Hong Kong.
Because we have an irrational fear of missing flights, Jenny and I made sure we were at the gate early, and waited patiently for the Manila flight to board, and then once they’d all disappeared through the gate, we waited patiently for our plane to board.
Jen and I were the only passengers in the queue. We high-fived and luxuriated at the prospect of stretching out on empty seats. But I can only pull off patiently for 10 minutes max. With no sign of the very slack airline ground crew supposed to check boarding passes, I went off to chivvy them up. I stopped a passing worker bee and asked if he knew when the Hong Kong flight would be boarding. He told me 30 minutes ago. After I finished sobbing, he referred me to the customer services desk.
Before I carry on with my sorry tale, for the record, please know that the boarding gate as reflected on the boarding passes issued in Harare was incorrect. Please also know that the times advertised at the boarding gates at Addis Ababa airport refer to the time of departure, i.e. the time when the plane actually takes off, as opposed to the boarding time, like every other normal airport in the whole world. If you think I’m coming over defensive here, it’s because I am. But I digress. Back to the cock up in Addis.
A very long story short, that Ethiopia is the only country in Africa never colonized is easily explained by Addis Ababa airport. Suffice to say the Ethiopian Airlines customer services desk was busy like a rugby scrum, but more heated and less polite. Jenny and I are now flying to New Zealand via South Korea instead of Hong Kong and will arrive fashionably 24 hours late.
Our luggage however, including my bike and my underpants, decided to stick to Plan A and should arrive in Hong Kong shortly, before continuing on to Auckland. I am typing this with fingers and toes crossed hoping they do not miss the Auckland flight. Jeremy Clarkson’s tried and tested system of underpants rotation only works for 4 days max, plus bikes are essential equipment for bike tours. And I also worry about people calling me Stinky Bum instead of Chicken Legs going forward.
In the meantime, Jen and I are booked into the Melka International Hotel which is conveniently situated in downtown Addis, convenient not so much for the airport, but for what has to be the loudest mosque in all of Ethiopia. Because I was well knackered when we arrived at our hotel 3 and a half hours after missing our flight, I fell into the deepest of sleeps, but only until the Imam next door called me to worship at some ungodly hour. I am thinking he must have heard me swearing.
Looking on the bright side through badly bloodshot eyes, I am excited about a full day exploring Addis Ababa. I served Jenny early morning Ethiopian coffee in bed, the best in the world apparently, apart from Brazilian, this according to the guy who served me, and then I promised her a full day of shopping no expense spared, mostly for warm clothing, because apparently Seoul will be bloody cold, and Jenny’s warm stuff is safely on it’s way to New Zealand, plus a pair of underpants for me, but not for Jenny. Because she has precious little faith in my ability to navigate the world seamlessly, it turns out Jenny sneak-packed a spare pair of panties. Which is like Jamie Oliver’s sneak packing a sandwich for herself, but not for him.
Offering to take one’s wife on a no expenses spared shopping might come across as trying to suck up, which it is. In between expletives last night, I heard Jenny muttering something about a Dick of the Day nomination. Hence the shopping spree.
Unfortunately, there’s that word again, it turns out Addis Ababa is closed on Sundays, as in not a single bloody shop open, apart from the gift shop in the hotel foyer. True story, not a single shop open, apart from a roadside butcher.
Magnanimously, I offered to buy Jenny a stunning and authentic and very warm fifty dollar Bob Marley bomber jacket in the hotel gift shop. Even though Bob is very important in the context of Ethiopia, Jenny said she can’t wear black jackets with Jamaican collar and cuffs and turned my largess down. So now I am back to being scared.
Alas, never let it be said the Old Legs Tour is not a competitive event and already lines are being drawn for the first Dick of the Day tribunal. Because Australia beat New Zealand in the first T20 match, Macca was deservedly in line to be the first to wear the wig and tutu in 2024. But now I’m worried that my team mates are fickle and about to turn on me, apart from the ones I have strong alliances with, like Jenny, Rob, Mango, Angie, Howard, Jonno and Macca. Strictly as a precaution, I reached out to Howard, about representing me at tribunal but he suggested I should look for someone with a low hourly rate.
Bicycles permitting, we are riding New Zealand from top to bottom to raise money and awareness for Zimbabwe pensioners. Epic adventures need epic sponsors.
Please be introduced to St Andrew’s Service Station in Hamilton, New Zealand where good friendly is the point difference.
Meet Topshaft Engineering, Zimbabwe’s leading designer, manufacturer and trusted repairer of agricultural machinery and equipment.
Please meet INSURANCE SERVICES, Zimbabwe’s Monthly Premium People, providing the best comprehensive and secure cover at the most competitive prices.
And last but not least, Seedling Express. Their seedlings are best quality at best prices and Good to Grow. And because their seedlings are strictly vegan, no animals are harmed in growing the seedlings, apart from disgusting slugs, and any other pests that might otherwise eat them.
What goes around is supposed to come around. Please support our sponsors where you can.
Until my next blog from New Zealand, provided of course, I get there, have fun, do good and do epic if you can – Eric Chicken Legs de Jong

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