Sunday, February 13, 2011

Khartoum-Gondar

It is one hour ago since the bright sun slowly rise from Ethiopian highlands set a blaze the Khartoum vast sky, the gentle breeze from the desert blew the dust on the deserted street create the pleasant moment for the folks on the two wheels. Few men on the whites and woman on the blacks curious staring at mzungus chasing one another, how far are they going?

I bet that should be the question. Slowly traffic intensify, on the city outskirt lie bus livestock market most got and ships on sell, the small shacks, the man on the white robes and tabernacles moving around caring bay got or ship, negotiating or sometime shout to each other its total exotic scene. Some riders stop and tack few snaps for Swedish guy, Kistin photo wasn’t enough he actually end up buying small got and put it in the rear camera bag, “Got get a ride”.

As town lie behind comes few small town ships where you will greeted buy you children who never give the shirt if you like it or not they will say hello! Repeat for couple of time before we reach lunch it was you against the wind for certain extension of time. It is a stretch of eight days without rest day till we hit Gondar, Ethiopia. Every day was a new day with total different experience hot, dust, flat tires (max. 10 per person per day), bumping road, get lost and last but not on the list Sudanese’s particular kindness. Stranger pop in the village with explanation that they will camp here, within hours you farm it home of more than 60 people moving around just like they have been there for ages.


 Those with courage especial old folks brought coffee and chai which you may not be able to turn down though it is 30C hot. In one occasion there was a speech from local leader who couldn’t hide his emotion; Asalam alekhum wa barackatu…! It is our pleasure to host you in our village, though we didn’t prepare much for you are coming your most welcome. Next year we ask your management to let us know in advance for now we bring you few drinks”.

The cold drinks is un imaginable think which you can only dream or luckily get in the coke stop, this one was consisting mineral water, pineapple juice Pepsi and non alcoholic beer! The speech was in the English which require you rearrange those sentences in order to get proper mining. I’m worry that is you will let this guys no your coming perhaps they will slaughter couple of camel and you will not have space to put what you can’t take.

 It might be a bit of confusion ordinary people are natural kind to strangers or the basic fundament of their religion is to share what they have now the politician with their bad reputation us it by saying “we are always kind and welcome so…next time bring you family for vacation in Sudan!
The begin of Sudan contradict it end no beer, official progress such as permit for taking photos, persistence hot which eventual reach 47 C and wind plus the 3 days on bumping road make Ethiopia to sound like “Promising Land”. There was big up loud when I announce last ride meeting in Sudan and comment that bordered crossing is a slow process but soon when you’re in Ethiopia side just get “Dishen” a Ethiopian beer and take it ease.

We had lunch in the Sudan side 40km from boarder both Gallabat and Matema border post they among of slowest border I have ever come across, it is just one person recording all needed and unneeded information on large book. If you are from less known country or white and having South African passport they will pass it around discussing and if they will not satisfy themselves they might bomb you with questions as they ask this white South African guy “Where is South Africa?” After spend reasonable amount of time in the immigration where everyone leave on his time been stop is busy Matema small town for beers and injira or cycle 4 km to come.



As you seat you feet in the crossing line between these county which may share some almost forget past historical relation to today oil, labor, food product, etc you will have strong sees of difference. Form body morphology to dressing, if is not every building it vehicles and if not that is everyone on the cloth having a Red, Golden and Green colors. These colors have been adopted with most of African country and most of Africanism organizations plus Rastafarian movement. That is how we enter among of the oldest country in the world. It rolling hills, twisted landscape bushes full of birds and favorable climate together make the best riding day for most of the riders.

As well as second day except that this one become more challenge as it take you to the highest climb of the tour 2502m if that wasn’t enough there are fun kids who shout to you “You! You! Where you go?” if you will not replay wave and smile you likely to be hit by stone or get stick.

 Anyways their lovely kids who may be have been effected “We are the world” so they believe that they should be given everything money, clothes or shoes is what they will comfortably demand from you. Stone throwing is more like a game for them as I come across some of them playing it seriously.
It was a long day as I sweep then get on towards Gondar, it look more historical town with it old castle, several churches. It also a center for highland people Amaranya . Stay turn for next up to day as I’ll be collecting much fact about the legend Ethiopia.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Sudan “Land of Blacks”…wild & beauty

That is but contrary in the political. In the northern Sudan east of Nile there is nothing than beautiful calm desert. After spent sometime in the desert we come in contact with might Nile again possible to swim with only caution of crocodile.

Soon after crossing to Sudan with the welcome faces of ordinary Sudanese’s life have become ease once again the tense of Egypt which was built by both environment and social have reduced. In the rest day at Dongola riders are connected to their daily life with coke only, strictly no alcohol! So we take it ease find our comfort in the desert which now it become more sophisticated as it gives you all the hope and energy in the morning as it let the sun catch every one awareness and utter “it is beautiful day”. In the midday it is damn hot, it doesn’t forgive you neither the land. Your venerable so you try to protect yourself by adding sun lotion and drink lot but the war remain for sun and desert. Desert rise wind to cool itself , this might be within three of them and they can be conquered only by patient and that is how we make it to capital of Sudan, Khartoum.
Desert storm…
One thing which I didn’t talk about in the previous blog was a desert storm which hit us in the 2nd desert camp or so. This storm was a worse one so far made people awake till 11pm this is real lait for TDA, it also damage mansions and Sheratons, these are over size tents. Now I refer this storm with current situation in Cairo, it is a storm blew from west to east. It was successful in Tunis but what about Egypt? Where it will be next destination?
No one can imagine if we were still in Egypt since under normal situation we had polices stick with use till we get out. Now in Sudan, thanks referendum results are postponed to February at least we’ll be out of Khartoum on our way to Ethiopia.
In most of African countries it always advice not to discuss politics and I tried to avoid that but Africans we don’t have opportunity to meet often so when I meet with others African it become total impossible avoiding to talk about our problems. Most of Sudanese are na├»ve and no almost nothing unless they are recent southerner escaped war but for the war which have been there since 1955 , young generation who their family flew to north has little memory and interest may be the political trick of religion have good effect on them. In one occasion I had a long chart with Ethiopian and Eritrean, we are well connected since our syllabuses allow us to learn about each African country. The worst account was from Eritrean guy who tell about business of selling people which is still existing in horn of Africa don’t mention the dictatorship which no could predict it end. As usual such conversation doesn’t have conclusion instead has question, when this part of word will have at least suitable situation? How is responsible for changers?

Nubian...

As we stick with Nile moving from one historical town to another, the scenery is still stunning and wonderful, the green valley bordered with backed desert just divided by road. The bounty of the landscape is added by Nubian villages along the valley, some abandoned, some still in use. These plus Nubian people with their dressing who mostly you will, meet on the carts pulled by donkeys though it not pleasant to look how these people worked the animal here, in most occasion you will see people sitting under shade drinking chai, tea. It is like traveling back to centuries.
At Edfu we had few hours break as we made it in town early, it is harbor of Nile. There are plenty of Nile cruise ships stops here for break whereby passengers board horse cart across the town to the temple. In down town guys shout at me “my cousin” so blacks are cousin of Nubian!
Being tail, head or sides wind it was only dinner talking but eventually we made to Assuan. The most southern and beautiful city of Egypt with all the fancy such Novel hotel on the Nile and MacDonald all this absorb riders for few hours. In the next morning it was convoy though outstriket of Assuan, Assuan dams with magnificent view of Nile as it meander through the desert, our beloved Egypt end on the lake Naser.
It take almost two hours of straggling to get in the boat then two hours again of make sure everything was under control. The boat is the link between two similar but not the same country, Egypt is far to the modern while her cousin straggling in the primitive but with the same need. Arabs are merchants according to history and that is what I found out here. The commodity are range from food product such sugar, rice to electronics such TV, air condition all, cell phone, etc. all is all but “Made in China”. As usual outsider you will be amazed by the local culture and tradition, if you will say let me wait it going to take the whole day. May be somewhere else but here these guys carrying 20 t0 30kg or any sort of balk sack they only shout to each other, “I’m going in!” Yes I see but let me get out first”, “No”” Me first for the god sake this sack it is very heavy “. So it goes for hundred people or so. For western quality it this boat is peace of “shirt” , no one will be left behind, what called “second class” maybe it is not for more than 20 passengers so today most of as we will be in “Non class” on the deck with service of fresh air and wonderful sun set and rise. At 5pm we set off.
At 12am in the next day we was in Wadi Alfa harbor take some few hours going though custom and migration posses ride in convoy for few km to the camp.