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 bent 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.