Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Afskeid van Wadi Halfa, nou kom Egipte!

More!

Ek gaan nou my fiets pak en dan hawe toe ry. Vir die eerste keer sedert die begin van die toer gaan die KLR se wiele die grond verlaat. More laatmiddag kom die (moontlik) laaste Afrikaland aan die beurt. Wat van Libië? My agent is tans onopspoorbaar en die laaste email van hom begin April uit Libië het gelui dat ek van Tunisië se kant sou kom. Dit ten spyte van hoeveel keer dat ek geskryf het van EGIPTE!

Wat sou die lekkerte van reis gewees het sonder al die opwinding? Een toe deur = een nuwe oop deur.

Groete!

Good morning!

I am going to pack my bike now and ride to the harbour. For the first time sine the start of the tour the wheels of the KLR are going to leave the sand and dust of the barren earth here. Tomorrow late afternoon the last Africa country, Egypt, will welcome us. What about Libya? My agent there disappeared. In his last email beginning of April he wrote that I would be coming from the west, Tunisia. And how often did I write him that I would be coming from Egypt!

How boring would any tour be without these things? One closed door = one new opportunity.

Regards!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Wadi Halfa in beeld

Sonsopkoms oor Wadi Halfa / Sunrise at Wadi Halfa

Deel van die dorpie agter die berg / Part of the town behind the mountain


en voor die berg ... / and in front of the mountain ...

Ek spoor 'n alkohollose bier op / I find an alcohol-free beer.


Seun en pa Andela uit Johannesburg / Son and father Andela from Johannesburg.

Bruin Dinsdag in Wadi Halfa

More uit W H!

Laasnag het die wind weer erg gewaai en my tentjie heen en weer geruk.

Vanoggend het ek die papierwerk vir more se vertrek Egipte toe afgehandel. Nou is dit net die laaste dag omkry.

Vrydag was die temperatuur in Khartoem 53 grade! Saterdagnag was daar 'n sandstorm met byna 0 m sigbaarheid. Ek is bly ek het dit gemis.

Gister het ek saam met die Nubiërs gesit en tee drink. Ek het 'n overlander voertuig gesien nader kom. Suid-Afrikaners! 'n Pa en seun. Voor ek my kon voorstel, vra die pa of ek Lodie van Naboom is. Toe kom die snaaksste storie.

Waar hulle die vorige nag in die woestyn by die Nyl oornag het, kom 'n seuntjie na hulle toe aangestap. In sy hand het hy iets vasgehou wat hy vir hulle kom wys het. Dit was die muntstuk wat Krap vir my gemaak het met die SA vlag en my naam op. Dit was die seun van die mense wat aangebied het dat ek by hulle kon kom slaap. As dankie het ek die seun 'n muntstuk gegee.

So klein is die woestyn!

Mooi loop!


Good morning from Wadi Halfa!

Last night we had a windy night. The sand-laden wind played havoc with the tents.

This morning I completed the paper work for the departure to Egypt tomorrow. Now I have to get this last day over.

On Friday the temperature in Khartoum was 53 degrees! On Saturday night there was a sand storm with nearly 0 m visibility. I am glad that I've missed that!

Yesterday afternoon I sat with a few Nubian people, drinking tea. I saw an overlander vehicle approaching. South Africans! A father with his son. Before I could introduce myself the dad asked me whether I was Lodie from Naboom. Then he told the weirdest story.

Where they spent the night at the Nile in the desert on Saturday night a young boy came to them and showed them something. It was the coin that Krap had given me with the South African flag on it and my name! That was the family that invited me to stay over and where I had to decline! I gave the young boy a coin as sign of my appreciation.

So small is the desert!

Regards!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Bruin Maandag in Wadi Halfa

Middag uit die bruine, sand- en stofbedekte dorpie aan die Nubiese meer (of Lake Aswan). Ek bring my wagtyd tot ek Egipte toe kan vertrek deur met lees, skryf, koue water drink en ... ek het 'n plekkie met die soetste soet gebak ontdek!

Ek het nou net 7 stukkies gaan eet en ril nou so van soetigheid dat ek bly is ek het nie valstande nie.

Die reisgidse beskryf Wadi Halfa as 'n "hole" wat jy moet aandoen net kort voor die ferry vertrek. Ek geniet die plekkie al is dit so vuil dat ek gril. Dis miskien omdat ek alleen reis dat ek makliker toegang tot die plaaslike mense het. Hulle bly my enigste menslike kontak.

My enigste werk is om my fiets van een skadukol na die volgende een te skuif.

Vanoggend toe ek wakker geword het, het ek 'n eienaardige gemis in my gehad, na die klein Nubiese dorpies baie ver suid van hier aan die Nyl. Ek wens ek kon vanaand saam op die grond in 'n kring sit en my hande in die tamatieslaai en boontjiebredie indruk en daarna behaaglik my vingers skoon lek.

Aan my sus Ina wat vandag VSA toe vertrek, mooi loop, mooi bly, lekker werk. Ons gaan jou mis maar gaan definitief kom kuier!

Groete


Good day from a brown, dust- and sand-covered Wadi Halfa on the shore of the Nubian Lake (or Lake Aswan). I spend my days here by reading, writing, drinking cold water and doing nothing!

I discovered a place with the sweetest cake. I had 7 pieces now and am so sweet that only the thought of an 8th piece makes me sick!

Travel guides describe Wadi Halfa as a hole where one must spend as little time as possible. I enjoy my time here, even if this village is as dirty as it could get. Perhaps because I am travelling alone that I enjoy the humanity more than seeing the dirt on the surface.

My only duty is to move the bike from shade to shade.

This morning I woke up with a strange feeling of missing something. I was missing the soul and heart of the Nubian villages far south from here. I wish I could have been there tonight, sitting with the people in a circle on the ground, digging with my right hand into the tomato salad and bean stew and cleaning my fingers with my lips.

Tonight my sister Ina leaves for the USA. Go well and take care! We will miss you but we will come and visit!

Regards

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Laaste foto - stof


Na 'n poel van die sg. fesh-fesh sand / After a pool of the so-called fesh-fesh sand

Meer foto's

Tweede nag: Deel van die vroueskare / Second night: Part of the female crowd


Die Nyl / The Nile


My t-hemp word in die Nyl gewas / My t-shirts in the Nile

Donderdagoggend vroeg Op pad na Abu Dom / Early Thursday: On the road to Abu Dom

Kort voor my val Donderdagmiddag / Just before my fall on Thursday afternoon.


Aandete in die oase / Supper in the oasis.


Hitte skuiling / Heat protection.



(Lees asb. verby enige taal- of spelfout. Please excuse any grammatical or language errors in the report)

Ek is werklik bly ek het besluit om by my oorspronklike plan te hou. Ek sou skuldig gevoel het as ek Sondagoggend in die trein geklim het …

Die woestyn is agter die blad en ek het ‘n groot vrede in my hart.

Donderdag: Ek het drie-uur die oggend begin te ry. Ek wou ‘n hele klomp kilometer doen voor die son kon begin steek.

Ek het vooraf die roete van my blyplek tot buite die stad op die GPS ingegee. Ek is bly ek het dit gedoen. Dit was draaie en sirkel en deur shack-winkeltjies en krotbuurte en swak- of geen verligte strate. Sou ek dit in Johannesburg gedoen het?

Dit was 31 km tot ek uit die stad was. Die wind het gewaai en die lug was vuil van sand en stof.

Net buite die stad was twee polisie padblokkades, ‘n paar kilometer uitmekaar. Hulle het buitebande oor die pad gepak om die mense te dwing om om dit te ry. Beide kere het ek die bande eers op die laaste oomblik gesien en moes hard rem om nie daarteen te bots nie.

Donker bande op ‘n donker pad sonder enige verligting of borde. Net in Afrika.

Ek het redelik lank onder maanskyn gery. Dit het baie gehelp. Die son was nie rooi toe dit opgekom het nie, dit was vaalwit. Toe eers kon ek sien hoe troosteloos die woestyn is. Sand en vlaktes so ver as mens kan sien.

Die Nyl maak van Khartoem ‘n groot boog na die ooste en draai dan terug weste toe. Ek het vir 340 km reguit deur gesny die woestyn om weer die Nyl by Abu Dom te kry. (Ek wonder hoekom daar nie aasvoëls in Soedan is nie. Ek het baie dooie beeste en kamele gesien, en geen aasvoëls naby nie)

Ek was so teen een in Dongola. Die dorpie het ‘n lekker markie. Daar het ek drie bottels water en twee vrugtesappe gedrink en twee broodjies, met vleis gevul, geëet.

Die ferry oor die Nyl is naby aan die markie. Toe ek daar gekom het, het dit juis vasgemeer. Ek kon dadelik op.

Aan die anderkant is rye en rye blikwinkels. In die skadu van ‘n boom het so tien manne in wit gewade op matte gesit. Ek het daar gestop en saam siesta gemaak. Ek het tot half vier gelê en gewag dat die ergste hitte eers verby kon gaan.

Die pad was baie interessant. Dit het deur die een Nubiese dorpie na die ander geslinger. Orals in skaduwee het groot erdekruike gestaan met drinkwater vir reisigers. Ek het elke tien kilometer vir ‘n bietjie water gestop. Dit is water direk uit die Nyl en heerlik koel en soet.

Daar was toe al dele met diep sand, en ek kon voel hoe die fiets met die swaar bagasie baie anders in die sand hanteer as sonder of met min bagasie.

Naby die dorpie Argo het ek twee glase vars vrugtesap gekoop. Yskoud. Dit was al naby ses. Toe ek daar wegry, was my aandag nie volkome op die paadjie nie. Binne sekondes het die fiets gegly en het ek die hele paadjie volgeval. Hard ook.

Gelukkig was daar ‘n donkiewaentjie daar naby en het die man my gehelp om die fiets regop te kry. Alleen sou ek al die bagasie moes afpak. Die regtertas het losgeruk maar gelukkig was sy slot nie gebreek soos die tas in Kenia nie. Dankie sand!
Daar naby was ‘n mooi oase en ek het daar gestop en toestemming gevra om daar te kamp. Daar het die gasvryheid begin.

Ek en die eienaar het na sy kamele gaan kyk en na die baba kameeltjie. Sy melkkoeie was maar maer. Toe my tent staan, bring ‘n jong meisie vir my en hom elkeen ‘n glas met warm melk en iets daarby. Hy kon nie Engels praat nie en het beduie dat dit iets in die kop doen. Tot nou toe kon ek nog nie uitvind presies wat nie.

Toe gaan wys hy vir my hulle stort. Dis was net ‘n kraan maar daar was lopende water!

Toe ek klaar gestort het, het hulle klaar ‘n regte bed met beddegoed vir my langs die fiets onder die dadelpalms gesit! (Weens die muskiete het ek nog steeds in my tentjie geslaap)

Hul huislike lewe speel in die binnehof af. Daat staan die beddens en hul televisie.

Kort daarna het hulle die krapopwekker aangesit en kom hul televisie aan’t lewe. Ek moes gaan saamsit en kyk, al verstaan ek geen dooie woord nie. Kinders van die omgewing het gekom en grootmense ook. Televisietyd in die Nubiese woestyn.

Teen tienuur wou ek gaan slaap. Geen kans. Die buurvrou het my vir ete uitgenooi. Ons stap deur ‘n donker palmlaning tot by haar huis. Daar gaan die vroue in en die manne sit buite op beddens. (Almal slaap buite, mans en vroue geskei van mekaar. Ek wonder waar kom die kinders vandaan)

Niemand praat Engels nie, en my Arabies is soos my tegniese kennis.

Later kom ‘n groot skinkbord uit buite toe, vol met bakke van die heerlikste kos. Al die mans het hande gewas en toe met regterhande weggeval. Eerste keer dat ek tamatieslaai met die hand geëet het. Die vroue het apart geëet.

Die nag in die tentjie was hemels. Daar het ‘n koel luggie getrek. In die verte kon mens die sagte dreuning van ‘n waterpomp hoor, en nou en dan het ‘n hond geblaf.

Dit was ‘n klein stukkie paradys op aarde.

Ek het Vrydag vroeg opgestaan. Voor ek kon ry, was almal daar om totsiens te sê.

Ek het ‘n bietjie gesukkel om my pad uit te kry want juis toe het my GPS besluit om heeltyd vanself af te sit. Dit word van krag voorsien, en daar is krag, maar die ding volg toe sy eie kop en nie myne nie.

Net buite die oase het die woestyn oopgegaan voor my. Soos op Makgadigadi lê voertuigspore in alle rigtings. Ek kon elke keer net vinnig genoeg die rigting sien voor die GPS afgegaan het.

Die sand het begin diep en baie los word. ‘n Paar keer het die fiets vasgesit. Die KLR staan baie hoog, maar in die sand kon ek wydsbeen oor hom staan. Ek het dan op die grond wydsbeen oor hom gestaan en in eerste rat vetgegee. Sonder my gewig op hom kon hy hom uit die sand kry en as hy beweeg het, het ek vinnig gaan sit. Almal wat my fiets ken, weet hoe hoog hy is. Om wydsbeen oor hom te staan, is ‘n aanduiding hoe diep weggesak hy was.

Op een plek kon ek sommer aan die spore sien hoe diep die sand was. Moeilikheid. My enigste keuse was om volspoed in eerste rat links te swaai en ‘n boer se lappie lusern te begin oes. Dit het gehelp, en met lusern wat in alle rigtings gespat het, is ek om die plek.

In die volgende dorpie het ‘n ou man by die waterkruike gesit. Ek het my linkerhand gelig om te groet, maar voor ek klaar gegroet was, het ek klaar plat in die sand gelê. Die oomblik toe die linkerhand se stut van die stuurstang verdwyn het, het die sand die voorwiel na links gegooi.

Dit was ‘n baie vinnige val maar die opstaan was moeilik. My linkerbeen was onder die fiets vasgepen en ek kon nie uit onder die fiets nie. Ek kon uit die hoek van my oog sien hoe die ou man probeer regop kom. Ek het met my hande sand uitgegrawe en toe my been los was en ek regop kon staan, het die ou man ook regop gestaan.

Groet in die sand en jy sal val.

So kwart voor een het ek by drie waterkruike gestop. Onder die afdakkie was matte, en daar het ek tot half vier gelê en gewag dat die ergste hitte verbygaan.

By ‘n klein groepie “huise” het ek vieruur gestop om water te vra. Onmiddelik was almal rondom my. ‘n Seun het vir my ‘n stoel in die skadu gesit. Sy sussie het vir my ‘n bakkie dadels gebring (my eerste kos van die dag). Die dadels is kliphard en word dan in water geweek om hul sagter te kry. As my bakkie water leeg was, het hulle dadelik nog een gebring. Hulle het aan my gekarring om oor te slaap en klaar vir my my bed op die stoep gewys. My tee was baie warm, en binne sekondes was die seuntjie daar met ‘n tweede glas en het hulle begin om die tee heen en weer tussen die glase te skink om dit koeler te kry. Die een seun wou al selfs begin om my rystewels vir my los te maak!

Ongelukkig moes ek nog ‘n klompie kilometers aflê en moes hul uitnodiging van die hand wys.

Kwart oor ses het ek weer by ‘n dorpie / oase gekom. Daar was ‘n groter afdak by die waterkruike. Ek het my tentjie onder die afdak opgeslaan. Binne minute was ten minste twintig vroue daar. Een vir my tee gebring, ‘n ander een hul plat pannekoekies, twee soorte slaai en boontjies (stapelvoedsel).

Na my ete het ek Nyl toe gestap en heerlik in die koel water gewas en sommer ook my vuil Naboom2Germany t-hemp.

Ek het in die donker langs my tentjie gesit. Die windjie was bloedig warm. ‘n Jong man het langs my tentjie verskyn. “Stand up!”, het hy hard gesê. “Eat!” was sy volgende bevel. Ek moes maar volg. Daar, in ‘n opening, het vyf manne op hul matjie gesit. In hul middle was weer ‘n reuse skinkbord met slaaie, boontjies, brood, nagereg, en water vars uit die Nyl.

Met regterhande het ons almal geëet.

Ver bo ons kon ek ‘n vliegtuigdreuning hoor. Soos so baie kere vantevore het ek gewonder as die mense daar bo sou afkyk na die donker aarde onder hulle sou hulle ooit kon dink wat se lewe hom daar ver onder in die donkerte afspeel?

Sonder dat ons mekaar verstaan het, het ons saam geëet, later weer hul eie tee gedrink en na die stofgevulde hemel gekyk. Ook vanaand, terwyl ek hier sit en skryf, gaan die manne weer daar sit en eet. Ek wonder vir hoe lank nog hulle oor dié vreemdeling gaan gesels wat sy verskyning gemaak het en die volgende oggend vroeg weer verdwyn het.

Ek het Saterdag lank voor sonop begin te ry. Weer was die son nie rooi toe dit opkom nie. Die siekwit son maak my ongemoedelik.

Daar was baie sand in die lig. Dikwels het ek rotsberge eers gesien as ek baie naby aan hulle was.

In ‘n dorpie Abri het ek op die mark iets te ete gaan soek. Yskoue 7 Up (my eerste koue drinkdingetjie in twee dae) en vier stukkies gebakte vis uit die Nyl.

Toe was dit ure se ry. Die woestyn en die alleenheid het my gevang. Ek weet nie of dit was omdat dit Saterdag was nie maar daar was geen ander siel op pad nie! Ek het een 4x4 vroegoggend in ‘n dorpie gesien. Die res van die dag was dit doodstil. Dis dan wat gedagtes in mens se kop begin maal van “Wat as ..?”

Na my rugbyjare het ek ‘n drawwer geword, ‘n stadige een ook daarby. My vierde Comrades was my laaste een, en toe ek klaargemaak het, het ek ‘n paar lekker trane uitgepak. Toe ek op Wadi Halfa aangekom het, was ek so lekker moeg daar was nie eers energie om enige iets te voel nie. Ek het net gaan sit en ‘n yskoue Pepsi gedrink.

Nou is dit vier dae se wag tot die weeklike ferry kom wat ons van Wadi Halfa na Aswan in Egipte gaan neem. Ek bly in die beste hotel in die dorp. Onthou julle my beskrywing van die plek in Marsabit? Hier is dit dieselfde. Jy dra water aan vir jou stort, jy dra water aan vir die toilet, alles stink. Maar ek hoef nie meer deur sand en oor klippe te ry nie! So, ek gaan heerlik hier woon en rus.

My slotgedagte oor Soedan. Dis die hardste natuur, wreedste, wat ek nog ooit beleef het. Maar die mense … ek het nog nooit sulke vriendelike mense beleef soos in Soedan nie. So, Soedan kom bo-aan my lys van wonderlike ervarings tydens my toer.



I am really glad that I sticked to the original plan and rode to Wadi Halfa via Dongola. If I had to use the train it would have felt like cheating for me.

I’ve crossed the desert and I have a good feeling in my heart.

Thursday: I started riding at 03:00 AM. My plan was to cover as many kilometer as possible before sunrise.

I uploaded the route from my camping site in Khartoum to the Dongola road to the GPS. I was glad that I did it. It was not easy to get out of the city. It was through dark streets and shanties and townships until I was on the Dongola road. Whether I would have done the same in Johannesburg? I doubt it.

After 31 km I left the city behind me. The wind was howling and the air was thick with dust and sand.

Within a few kilometers of each other were two police road blocks. They used tyres to force the people to stop. Each time I saw the tyres just in time to get onto the brakes. It would have been so easy to hit those tyres in the dark.

Tyres in the dark on a dark road. Only in Africa.

For quite a time I rode with only the moon above me. The moonlight help a lot. At sunrise I expected a red sun like in southern Africa. Not here. It was a sick whitish colour. For the first time I could then see how the surrounding desert landscape looks like. Sand plains as far as one could see.

The Nile turns east at Khartoum and then north and later west again. For 340 km I cut through the desert to meet the Nile at Abu Dom again. (I saw many carcasses of cattle and camels. There were no vultures nearby. Are there any vultures in Sudan?)

I reached Dongola at one o’clock. In town is a lively market square. There I bought three bottles of cold water and two glasses fresh fruit juice. My first meal of the day was two small breads filled with meat and vegetables, like a Döner Kebab.

The ferry across the Nile was close to the market. As I got to the ferry it had just moored and I could get up.

On the eastern Nile bank were dozens of small shops and eateries. In the shade of a big tree I saw ten men clothed in white, lying on a large carpet. I joined them and lay there until 3.30 PM. The heat was then more bearable.

I loved riding through the Nubian villages. Often in the shade of a tree or in a shelter were three urns, filled with cool fresh water. The Nubians put out the water for the thirsty traveler passing there. The water comes directly from the Nile and I drank it as it was. I had a stop at least every ten kilometer to have a drink and cool down a bit.

Already on this section were patches of deep sand. I realized soon that with all the load the bike was carrying the behaviour of the bike was different from other sand riding I’ve done.

Close to the village Argo I again bought two glasses of cold fresh fruit juice. It was getting late. Leaving I didn’t pay attention to the track and had a nasty fall in the sand.

Fortunately a donkey cart passed and the gent on the cart helped me getting my bike up again. If he were not at hand I would have to unpack the bike to get it up. The right pannier was ripped of the bracket, but, contrary to Kenya the lock was not broken. It had advantages when one falls in sand!

Close by was a beautiful oasis. I stopped and asked permission to camp there. Immediately the Sudanese hospitality kicked in.

The farmer took me with to his camels and I could take a picture of a baby camel. His cows were thin. Back at my tent a young girl brought him and me two glasses of hot milk. Mixed with the milk was something that I could not identify. He couldn’t speak English. He showed to his head and tried to make it clear what the milk would do to our heads. I waited for an explosion but nothing happened. So, the mystery remains.

He took me to their outside shower. It was only a tap but with running water!

After my shower I had the next surprise. Next to my tent They put a real bed with bedding. It was a fairytale setup! (Due to the mosquitoes I still used my tent to sleep in.)

The Nubian families live in the courtyard of their houses. One goes through a door and instead of a house there is a big square where their beds and TV stand, and to the one side rooms and a kitchen.

They switched the generator on. The TV started flickering, nd then the neighbour children started coming to watch TV. Later many parents as well. Everyone sat flat on the ground. I had to go with, even if I couldn’t understand a single word. Watching their faces was reward enough. Social life in the Nubian desert.

At ten I excused mys elf to go to bed. O no! The neighbour got up and first invited me for supper at her home. We walked through a dark alley the 200 m to her house. The women go inside and the men sat on the beds outside. (Everywhere I came the people slept outside on beds, the men and women separated. I wondered where the children came from)

No one spoke English, and my knowledge of Arabic is as good as my technical knowledge.

After a while a lady brough a massive round plate, filled with various delicious dishes. The men washed their hands and then we started eating, with our right hands only. Again I had the privilege of eating a tomato salad only with my one hand. I never saw the women again, they stayed inside for the duration of our meal.

The night in my tent was idyllic. There was a cool breeze. In the distance one could hea the soft chug-chug of a water pump. Now and then a dog belled. And then the sky filled with stars …

It felt like paradise on earth.

The next morning I got up early. Before I could leave everyone came to say goodbye.

It was difficult finding my way through and around all the houses and small holdings. My GPS got its power from the bike, but for some strange reason the GPS kept on turning off that morning, although there was power.

Just outside the oasis the desert was lying, waiting. Like on Makgadigadi Pans tracks were running in all directions, making navigation not easier. I just had enough time to check my direction before the GPS turned itself off.

At certain spots the sand was really deep and loose. I got stuck a few times. The KLR is a very high bike. Bogged down I could stand over it with both my legs on the ground. Standing like this I gave full power in first gear. Without my weight it managed to free itself from the sand.

Once, coming around a bend in the track I could see disaster ahead. The tracks were deep and spread out over a distance of easily 200 m width. Getting stuck there would have been bad. Within a millisecond I decided to swing the bike to the left and with full power first gear I aimed at a piece of lupine. The KLR went through that lupine like a mower but at least the tyres got some grip and I managed through. With all the lupine stucked to the bike I could have fed a donkey.

Coming to the next village an old man was sitting in the shade of a tree. I lifted my left hand to greet him, but before he could return my greeting I was lying in the sand with the bike on me. My left hand acted as a kind of shock breaker against the sand, and the moment that anti force was removed from the handle bar the sand threw the bike (and me) to the left.

It happened so fast, but getting up was more difficult. My left leg was pinned down by the bike. I saw how the old man struggled to get up to come and help me. With my hands I dug my left free. When I was standing upright the old man was just on his feet, too late to help.

The lesson learnt is: Wave hello while in the sand and you’re down.

I stopped at three urns with drinking water at half past twelve. There were carpets and I spend the hottest part of the day relaxing there with enough water to drink.

I came to a few houses later the afternoon. I stopped and asked for some water. Bang! And the Sudenese hospitality kicked in. A young boy brought me a chair to a shade spot. A next one brought me something to eat (my first food for the day). They offered and showed me the bed where I could sleep if I preferred to stay over. A girl brought me tea, and another boy came with a second glas, started cooling the tea for me. The one boy even started opening my riding boots to help me!

Unfortunately I couldn’t stay over as I still had many kilometers to ride that day.

I got to an oasis just after six the evening. I pitched my tent at the water urns under a small thatched roof. Within minutes at least twenty women were standing there, offering my kind of assistance. One brought me tea, an other something to eat: Their flat pancakes, two kinds of salads, and a traditional bean meal.

After my supper I walked down to the Nile and washed myself. The cool water was wonderful after the day in the desert! I washed my Naboom2Germany t-shirt as it was becoming stinking.

That night, while sitting next to my tent in the darkness a young man appeared and barked: “Stand up! Eat!” I had no other choice than to follow him. Thirty meters from my tent five men were sitting on the ground on a carpet, in their middle again a massive round plate filled to the brim with delicious Nubian meals. We washed our hands and started eating.

While sitting their in the darkness with a hot wind coming from the north an aircraft passed high above us. I wondered so often in the past while flying over Africa what kind of human interaction was taking place eleven kilometer below me on the ground. That night I was part from that what was happening on the ground, while high above people were sipping their cocktails.

We could not communicate verbally, but we spoke to each other in many ways. We had the last tea together, and then I finally retired to my tent. Tonight I know they will sit there again, having their supper. I wonder when would be the last time that they would speak about the stranger that arrived there on his motorcycle and that was gone when the sun rose the next morning.

Saturday I left early, before sunrise. Again the sun was white. It was a discomforting sight.

There was a lot of sand and dust in the air. Often I saw mountains the first time as I got quite close to them.

In a small village Abri I bought four pieces of Nile fish for breakfast, and an ice cold 7 UP! It was my first cold drink since two days.

After that followed many hours of hot and hard riding over stones and through sand. What was worrying me was the fact that for a whole day I saw only one other vehicle. During those hours one’s head tends to start with silly mind games.

After I stopped playing rugby I became a jogger, a slow one too. My fourth Comrades was my last one. On finishing that I still had the energy for a few tears. As I got to Wadi Halfa I didn’t have any energy left to feel anything. I was just glad that I was through the desert. I sat down and had a cold Pepsi.

ON Wednesday the ferry to Egypt leaves. I stay in the best hotel in Wadi Halfa. Do you remember my description of that place in Marsabit. It is the same here. You have to fetch water to wash yourself. You have to fetch water for the toilet, a hole in the ground. It doesn’t bother me anymore. I can sit and relax and don’t have to ride through sand and over stones.

My feelings about Sudan: The nature is harsh and unforgiving. I have never experienced anything like this before. But the people, I have never met before such warm, caring and friendly people. They are from heaven. I will put Sudan on top of my list of best experiences ever.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

In Wadi Halfa aangekom



Vrydag / Friday


Saterdag / Saturday

Donderdag tot Saterdag

Ek is in Wadi Halfa. Ek is klaar met die woestyn!

Vandag ses weke terug het ek begin ry. Ses weke later met die Here se genade kan ek ook nou die Nubiese woestyn agter my sit.

Vir die eerste keer voel ek soos ‘n overlander.

My respek en agting vir die Kawasaki KLR het net verder gestyg. Sonder ophou het die fiets in eerste en tweede rat, in bloedige hitte, net een pad geken, en dis vorentoe. In situasies waar ek die fiets nie meer kon vorentoe en agtertoe beweeg het nie, het die fiets in eerste rat met brute krag hom uit die sand gehaal. Nie een keer het die fiets oorverhit nie.

Ek gaan in die volgende dae meer in detail skryf, vanaand is ek ‘n bietjie moeg. Hier is net ‘n klein opsomming.

Donderdag: Drie-uur die oggend uit Khartoem vertrek. Dit was ‘n bevryding. Omtrent 13:00 was ek by Dongola en het die Nyl met die ferry oorgesteek. Die Nubiese dorpies (of klein oases) was pragtig. Ek slaap die aand by ‘n kleinboer onder datelpalms. Hulle dra tot ‘n bed vir my uit om langs my fiets te slaap, as ek sou wou.

Vrydag: Die diep sandgedeeltes laat my vrees in my mond proe. Ek ontmoet die eerste keer in ses weke ander overlanders, ‘n Britse paartjie wat uit die noorde kom. Hulle vertel van ‘n ander motorfietsryer op pad suide toe wat in die woestyn staan, fiets oorverhit. Ek kry die ou nie, daar is baie spore. Slaap die aand weer by ‘n oase, was myself in die Nyl, drink net rou Nylwater. Bitter bitter warm.

Saterdag: Begin vyfuur te ry. Stofstorms die hele dag. Ek sal die dag as die eensaamste dag beskryf. Met my hele dag se ry deur die woestyn slegs een voertuig gesien. ‘n Mens se kop dwing om met allerhande kleingeloof vorendag te kom. Ek ry deur die middaghitte en kom vroegaand in Wadi Halfa aan. Hier kry ek Woensdag die ferry Egipte toe. Daar is geen landtoegang tot Egipte nie, slegs met die ferry.

Met die Here se genade is die woestyn en Afrika se grootste land agter my!

My selfoon werk glad nie hier nie. Ek kan dus geen sms’e stuur of ontvang nie. Kan een van my vriende of susters net my pa laat weet ek is veilig deur?

Groete!

Thurssday to Saturday

I’ve reached Wadi Halfa! The desert is behind me.

Today six weeks ago I started my trip. Now, six weeks later, thanks to God I can put a tick behind the Nubian desert. Mission accomplished.

For the first time I feel really like an overlander.

My respect for the Kawasaki KLR increases by the day. Without missing a beat the KLR just went on and on, first gear, second gear, back to first. It was hot. There is no word to describe the heat when one stopped and took off the helmet. There were situations in the deep sand where I could not move the bike anymore, neither forward or backwards. With sheer power in first gear the KLR got it out of the sand time and again. Not a single time did it overheat.

During the course of the following days I will write more in detail. Tonight I am tired and want only water and more water.

Here is a short summary:

Thursday: I left Khartoum at three AM. I was glad to get away from the city. I reached Dongola at 13:00 and crossed the Nile there, using the ferry. The Nubian villages, real small oasis’s, were beautiful. I spent the night with a local farmer and his family under palm trees. They even carried a bed outside for me and put it next to the motorcycle.

Friday: In the deep sand stretches I could taste fear in my mouth. For the first time I met other overlanders on the road, a British couple coming south. They told me of another motorcyclist standing in the desert with an overheated bike. I tried to find him, without success. There are many tracks going all directions. Slept again at an oasis and washed myself in the Nile. Started drinking raw Nile water. It was very very hot.

Saturday: Started at five AM. Sand storms the whole day. I would describe this day as my most lonely day in the desert. I saw only one other vehicle the whole day. Riding alone under these conditions your head starts playing all different mind games. I didn’t stop over the hottest part of the day, like the previous days. I got to Wadi Halfa early evening. Here I will catch the ferry to Egypt on Wednesday. It is the only way of getting to Egypt from Sudan.

I praise the Lord for keeping me safeduring these last few days. The Nubian desert and Africa’s biggest country are behind me.

My cell phone doesn’t work here so I cannot send or receive any sms messages. I would appreciate if any of my friends or sisters could let know my father that I am ok.

Regards!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Donderdag, 24 April, 2008

Loof die Here vir vandag se ry! 3uur vanoggend begin te ry, slaap vanaand onder palmbome 50 km verby my dagdoelwit. 1km voor einde harde val in sand, regtertas losgeruk.

Praise the Lord for riding today! Started at 3 AM, sleep tonight 50km further than planned, camping in small oasis. Nasty fall less than 1km before end. Right pannier came loose. Going to bed now. Hug to you all!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Woensdag - laaste dag in Khartoem.

Goeie middag vir hopenlik die laaste keer uit Khartoem!

Baie mense het gevra dat ek weer die moontlikheid aktiveer sodat hulle direk by die inskrywings kommentaar kan lewer. Ek het so gedoen. Sou daar 'n suspisieuse inskrywing met 'n internetskakel verskyn, ignoreer dit asb. Rina, sal jy asb. alle sulke valse kommentare verwyder? Baie dankie!

Ek het my registrasie vandag gekry en ry more vroeg 05:00 verder. Die hitte is byna ondraaglik. Ek het vir my my doelwitte duidelik gemaak. Ek is op die toer om te sien en te geniet. As die hitte seermaak warm is, gaan ek omdraai terug Khartoem toe en Sondag die twee dae lange treinrit Wadi Halfa toe aanpak. My toer is nie om rekords en ander domhede op te stel nie. As alles egter goed gaan, hoop ek om teen Maandagaand by Wadi Halfa aan te kom.

Of ek saans die krag gaan he om nog die laptop aan te sit vir 'n kort berig, sal ek moet sien. Die hitte ...

Groete, tot ons weer gesels!


Good day, hopefully for the last time from Khartoum!

A number of people asked whether I again could activate the comments on the blog. I have done so. Should you see any comments with a weird link, please ignore that. Rina, will you remove such comments please? Thank you so much.

I was registered today. So, I am leaving Khartoum early tomorrow at 05:00. The heat here is nearly unbearable. I formulated my objects again: I am on this tour to see and enjoy. If the heat is going to hurt me I am going to turn back to Khartoum and tackle the train on Sunday to Wadi Halfa. I am not on this tour to break records or do other stupidities. However, if I can cope I hope to reach Wadi Halfa on Monday night.

Whether I am going to have the energy to write a short report at night we'll have to wait and see. The heat ...

God bless, until we speak again.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Fotoalbum (5)


In die hitte het ek by die manne 'n laaste Pepsi in Ethiopie gedrink.
I had my last Pepsi in Ethiopia with these guys.


My motorfiets lyk klein tussen die stofopskoppende trokke.
My bike looks small between these dust creating trucks.

Fotoalbum (4)


Op pad uit die Hooglande na die Soedanese grens.
On the road leaving the Highlands to the Sudanese border.


Kan julle die beeste daar ver onder sien? Dit was hoog!
Can you see the cattle there far down below? It was high!

Fotoalbum (3)


Die foto het Anne Rebstock in die Ethiopiese Hooglande geneem.
Anne Rebstock took this photograph in the Ethiopian Highlands.

Fotoalbum (2)

'n Foto wat Anja Lubbe in die uitgedroogte vlaktes van Ethiopie geneem het.

A photograph that Anja Lubbe took in the dried out plains of Ethiopia.

Fotoalbum

Koffieseremonie voor my vertrek van Gondar op Saterdag 19 April.

Coffee ceremony before my departure from Gondar on Saturday 19 April.

Khartoem - Dinsdag

Ek het vanoggend vir 'n oomblik gedink ek is die enigste oorlewende
van 'n gasaanval deur 'n onbekende vyand op Khartoem gewees.

Die strate was dolleeg. Nerens was 'n mens of motor of taxi te sien
nie. En dit na gister se dolle gejaag deur oorvol strate.

Dis vandag 'n vakansiedag, sensusdag. Almal moet by hulle huise bly
tot die tellers daar was. As die tellers daar was, verf hulle 'n kode
op die deur.

Ek moes vandag by die registrasie gewees het. Niemand het my van die
vakansiedag gese (kappie) nie! (Toe ek 'n deelteken netnou wou maak
met die kombinasie sleutels het my hele boodskap verdwyn! Dis vers
twee die)

So, dis nog 'n verlore dag. Ek het nou die keuse: Of ek gaan sit en
"sulk" of ek maak die beste uit die Khartoem ondervinding. Wat ek aan
ryervaring verloor moet ek net aan kultuurervaring opmaak.

Ek moet volgende Woensdag uit Soedan wees. Dis oor die 800 km na die
Egiptiese grens toe waarvoor ek ten minste ses dae nodig gaan he en
dan mag niks verkeerd loop nie. Die ander alternatief is die beroemde
/ berugte woestyntrein met die mense wat op die dak sit en wat vir
twee dae voortskommel. Wat ook al, beide gaan 'n groot ervaring wees.

Ek het vanoggend myself bekyk. Ek verloor gewig! My gesig lyk maer. In
die hitte kan ek nie eet nie. Na Saterdag se grensete het ek
Maandagaand die eerste keer weer geeet. Ek was net nooit honger nie.

Ek heg twee foto's aan. Die een is van die brug oor die Blou Nyl vanaf
die kampeerplek. Die ander foto maak my 'n bietjie bekommerd. Kyk na
die regter rand van die band. Daar sit 'n swart brandstreep reg rondom.

Ek het eers gedink die band het aan die uitlaatpyp geskuur. Dit is
egter nie so nie. Met die temperatuur hier hoog in die veertigs
(gister was 47) is enige teer- of grondpad kokend warm. Ek vermoed die
intense hitte het die banddruk so verhoog dat die band toe deur die
uitlaappyphitte geskroei is. Wat dink die tegniese manne van die
probleem? Dit bekommer my 'n bietjie.

Laasnag het ons 'n groot sand- en windstorm gehad. Bome in die strate
is omgewaai met sand en stof orals. Ek is nou besig om klere te was om
alles skoon te kry. Die tentjie het sy man goed gestaan.

Nou ja, dit was 'n lekker lang gesels. Wie weet wanneer daar weer so
'n kans gaan wees.

Groete!

This morning I thought I was the only survivor of a gas attack by some
unknown enemy on Khartoum.

The streets were empty. Nowhere were any people or cars or taxis. And
that after the mad day yesterday with streets filled to capacity with
kamikaze drivers.

It is a public holiday today. It is census day. The Sudanese people
have to stay at home until they have been counted. When that has been
done, the counters paint a code on the door as proof.

The only problem is that I had to be at the registration today. No one
told me about the holiday day!

So, another day lost. I have a simple choice: I can sit and sulk or I
make the best of the Khartoum experience.

I have to be out of Sudan next Wednesday. The border is over 800 km
from here. I need 6 days to ride there. Then nothing may go wrong. The
alternative is the well known desert train with the people sitting on
the roof. It is a rough ride over two days.

This morning I had a good look at myself. I've lost quite a lot of
weight. Even my face looks thinner! After the border meal on Saturday
I ate the first time again on Monday night. I never was hungry.

I attached two photographs. The one is of the bridge over the Blue
Nile as seen from the camping site. The other one worries me. Look at
the right side of the tyre. There is a black burning mark round it.

I first thought the tyre touched the exhaust pipe. It didn't touch.
With the extreme high temperatures (yesterday was 47) any road, tarmac
or dirt, is scorching hot. I think that led to an increase in the tyre
pressure which narrowed the gap between the exhaust pipe and tyre. The
heat of the pipe scorched the tyre. What do the technical guys think?
It worries me.

Last night we had a huge wind and sand storm in Khartoum. Trees were
uprooted and sand everywhere. I am busy washing clothes to get it
clean again?

That was a lovely long chat now. Who knows when there will be chance again?

Regards!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Khartoem o Khartoem

My vlammetjie brand laag.

Ek is moeg vir sukkel, en vuilgoed wat orals lê en arrogante mense.

Alle vreemdelinge moet hulle binne drie dae in Khartoem registreer. My registrasie is vanoggend verwerp want daar was nie 'n brief van 'n Soedanese "sponsor" by nie, wat 'n Soedanese burger of instelling moet wees.

Ek is nou op soek na die eienaar van die kampeerplek. Maar, soos orals, lê almal êrens in 'n koelteplek en wag vir beter, koeler tye.

En intussen hardloop my tyd uit want ek wou al more begin ry het.


My motivation flame is burning low.

I am sick and tired of dirt on the streets, thousands of people around me, and arrogance.

All foreigners have to register in Kahrtoum within three days. This morning my registration was rejected because there was no letter of a Sudanese sponsor, which could be a Sudanese company or citizen.

I am trying to find the owner of the camping site, but this time of the day everyone is lying somewhere in shade waiting for better days or cooler wheather.

And my time is running out. I planned to start riding again tomorrow to get to the ferry in time.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Saterdag en Sondag



Selfpotret van 'n baie dors en moeg mens in Khartoem

Saterdag tot Sondag

Beginpunt: Gondar (Ethiopië)

Eindpunt: Khartoem (Soedan)

Afstand: Saterdag 234 km, Sondag 535 km

Ek het Saterdag voor sonop uit Gondar vertrek. Alles verniet. Al die vulstasies was sonder petrol. Ook die omliggende dorpe.

Vir die eerste keer het ek ten duurste swartmark petrol gekoop (byna R 30 per liter) net om weg te kom.

Anne en Anja se bestuurder, Wubeshet, het Donderdagaand met die afskeidsete vertel die pad grens toe is sleg en hy sal bid. Hy was reg. Dit was vir lang ente eerste en tweede rat en stof eet van rye vragmotors wat van voor gekom het.

Drie-uur Saterdag was ek by die grens, vuil en stinkend.

Toe beleef ek die wonderlikste grenservaring ooit.

Die Soedanese immigrasiebeampte bied my ‘n stoel aan.

‘n Ander een bied my ‘n beker koue drinkwater aan.

Ek moes iets by die fiets gaan haal. Toe ek terugkom, is my stoel deur ‘n ander beampte geneem. My beampte bied my toe sy stoel aan!

Toe ek dink ons is klaar, neem almal hul stoele en gaan sit in die skadu langs die geboutjie. Ek en my stoel word saamgeneem. Ek sit ook toe maar en kyk na die mense wat deur die grens kom.

Elke keer as ek in die kantoor inloer, wys die enigste werkende een vir my met sy vingers nog 5 minute.

Ons sit en kyk maar verder.

Toe staan al twaalf op en gaan binne toe. Ek bly sit. Dit was verkeerd. Hulle kom haal my. Op die tafels staan vier bakke kos en brode, en ons begin te eet. Hulle maak plek vir my en met die regterhande eet ons diep in die bakke in.

Na die ete bied hulle my twee bekers koue water aan. Ek drink maar altwee toe leeg.

Ek gaan sit weer op my stoel en wag. Verkeerd. Een kom haal my. “Pudding”, sê hy.

Ek kom binne en daar staan ‘n bak met geel bloemaans. Ken jule bloemaans? Ek weet nie hoe mens dit spel nie, maar julle sal verstaan.

Elkeen het ‘n lepel, ek kry ook een. En ons eet daardie bak leeg. Ek eet tot niks meer oor is nie.

Ek gaan sit weer op my stoel buite. Een van die beamptes kom aangestap met ‘n glas tee. Dis vir my. Ek drink toe nog die tee ook.

Toe niks meer te eet en drinke was nie, maak hulle toe my dokumente klaar en kon ek ry.

So, almal wat gesê het die Soedanese mense is die vriendelikste, julle is reg! Moet net nie haastig wees nie.

Ek is toe te laat by die grens weg om enigsins Gedarif in daglig te haal. In die eerste 30km van die grens het ek ten minste 3 masjiengeweerposte gesien en drie 14.7 lugafweerkanonne op voertuie in die bosse langs die pad. Ek het toe teen my planne besluit om wild te kampeer.

By die eerste statjie stop ek en vra toestemming om daar te kamp. ‘n Gryskop sê ek moet eers saam koffie drink. Ek kry toe drie koppietjies swart soet koffie. Toe ry een van die manne voor my uit en gaan wys vir my ‘n plekkie waar ek kan kamp. Daar gee hulle my nog ‘n emmer waswater en ‘n ekstra bed as ek buite sou wou slaap.

Toe my tentjie klaar staan, kom nog ‘n seun aan en vra in foutlose Engels wat ek sou wou drink. (Graag ‘n bier maar alle alkohol in Soedan is verbode). Ek vra ‘n koeldrank en hy sê ek moet net tien minute wag. Hy vlieg weg en tien minute later is hy terug met ‘n koue koeldrankie en broodjie. Hy wou nie ‘n sent daarvoor hê nie!

So het ek Saterdagaand na ‘n byna volmaan gelê en kyk tussen Soedanese grashutte, omring met menslikheid soos ek dit nog nie beleef het nie.

Sondag: Ek is met sonopkoms weg van my vriendelike gashere. Die rit Khartoem toe was hel, ‘n woestynhitte soos wat ek dit nog nooit beleef het nie. Teen die einde kon ek nie meer as 40 km ry sonder om nie eers te stop om iets te drink nie.

Ek is vanaand biltong, uitgedroog.

Groete uit Khartoem. Ek staan nou vir ‘n paar dae want ek moet eers hier registreer en dokumentasie regkry voor ek verder kan ry.


Rina, baie dankie vir die vertaling!)

Saturday to Sunday

Starting point: Gondar (Ethiopia)

Destination: Khartoum (Sudan)

Distance: Saturday 234 km, Sunday 535 km

I left Gondar on Saturday before sunrise, but all in vane. Al the petrol stations were without petrol and the surrounding towns were affected as well.

For the first time I had to buy costly black-market fuel (almost R 30 per litre) just to get on my way.

Anne and Anja’s driver, Wubeshet, told me at Thursday’s farewell dinner that the road to the border is bad and he’ll pray for me. He was right. For long distances I had to drive in first and second gear, eating dust and rows of trucks coming from ahead.

I arrived at the border Saturday at three, dirty and smelly.

I then experienced the most wonderful border crossing ever.

The Sudanese immigration officer offered me chair.

Another, a mug of cold drinking water.

I had to go and fetch something from my Kawa. When I returned my chair was taken by another officer. The immigration officer then offered me his chair!

When I thought we were finished, they all took their chairs and went to sit in the shade next to the building. My chair and I were taken along. I then also had to sit and look at the people coming through the border.

Every time I peeked into office, the only working officer showed me with his fingers that it will be another 5 minutes.

We sat and looked on.

All twelve then stood up and went inside. I remained seated. That was a mistake. They came to fetch me. On the table stood four bowls with food and plates. We stated eating. They made space for me and with our right hands we ate from the bowls.

After lunch they offered me two mugs of cold water. I emptied both.

I went to sit on my chair again. Mistake. One came to fetch me. “Pudding”, he said.

I enter and on the table is a bowl with yellow blancmange. Do you know blancmange? I am not sure of the spelling, but you’ll understand.

Each one of us got a spoon, I got one as well. And we emptied the bowl. I ate until nothing remained.

I went outside to sit on my chair again. One of the officers walks towards me with a glass of tee. It is for me. I drank that as well.

When there was nothing more to eat or drink, they finalised my documents and I was able to leave.

So everybody that said that the Sudanese people are the friendliest, you are right! Just don’t be in a hurry.

I left the border post too late to reach Gedarif in daylight. Within the first 30 km from the border post I saw three machinegun post and three 14.7 anti-aircraft defence on vehicles in the bushes next to the road. I decided against my plans to camp in the bush.

I stopped at the first village to ask permission to camp there. A grey haired man said that I must first drink coffee with them. I got three cups of sweet, black coffee. Then, one of the men then drove off ahead of me to show me a place where I can camp. There they gave me a bucket with water for washing and an extra bed if I were to sleep outside.

When my tent was pitched, a boy came and asked in perfect English what I wanted to drink. (A beer, but all alcohol is banned in Sudan). I asked for a softdrink and he said that I must wait just ten minutes. He took off and ten minutes later he was back with a cold softdrink and bread. He didn’t want a cent for it!

Saturday evening I lay looking at an almost full moon between Sudanese grass huts, surrounded by humanity as I have never experienced it before.

Sunday: I left my friendly hosts at sunrise. The drive to Khartoem was hell, a desert heat as I have never experienced before. Towards the end I couldn’t drive more than 40 km without stopping for a drink.

Tonight I am biltong, dehydrated.

Greetings from Khartoem. I am stranded here for a few days because I must register here and get documentation in order before I can travel further.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Nog steeds Gondar, Ethiopie

Naand!

Ek het laasnag baie siek gevoel met 'n hoofpyn wat my kop wou laat bars. Ek het toe besluit om eers later in die pad te val of, as dit nodig sou wees, glad nie vandag te ry nie. Toe ek teen tienuur besluit om wel die pad te vat, kon ek glad nie petrol kry nie want ... die krag is af! Nou hoop ek vir more oggend vroeg.

Die krag is nog steeds af, nou tien voor sewe Ethiopiese tyd, meer as 12 uur al.

Groete!

I am still in Gondar. Last night around midnight I woke up with a blinding headache. I felt so bad I decided to leave later today, and if necessary, not to ride at all today. At ten this morning I decided to leave. Then the next shock: No petrol, because the power is off since 7 this morning.

Now, twelve hours later, it is still off.

I hope for the best for tomorrow that I can get away.

Regards from Ethiopia, for the last time I hope!

Thursday, April 17, 2008


Die Paleiskompleks / The palace complex


Die kerk Medahme Alem / The church Medhame Alem


Gondar, Ethiopië

Vandag was dit ‘n kultuurdag.

Met ‘n gids het ons die paleiskompleks besoek wat deur Keiser Fasilidas (1632 – 1667) begin is. Die bouwerk was indrukwekkend. Dit kan met reg as die Camelot van Ethiopië beskryf word.

Daarna het ons die Badkompleks van dieselfde keiser besoek. Jaarliks vind hier nog ‘n groot byeenkoms van gelowiges plaas wat hulled an in die gewyde water bad as ‘n simboliese doop.

Laaste was die kerk Medhame Alem aan die beurt. Dit was die enigste van ten minste 44 kerke in Gondar wat tydens ‘n inval van Soedan in 1888 nie vernietig is nie. Dit word aan ‘n wonderwerk deur die Maagd Maria toegeskryf wat die invallers sou gestop het.

More gaan my toer voort. Anne en Anja gaan terug Addis Ababa toe vanwaar hulle Sondagaand terugvlieg Duitsland toe.

Laastens, baie dankie vir die baie e-posse wat ek kry. Ek kan op die oomblik nie daarop antwoord nie. Ek hoop dit gaan in Soedan beter met die internet.

Groete!

Gondar, Ethiopia

Today was a day spent on the cultural heritage of Gondar.

With a guide we visited the palace complex of the Emperor Fasilidas (1632 – 1667), who started the building of this impressive complex of castles. It is with good reason called the Camelot of Ethiopia.

After that we visited the Bath of Emperor Fasilidas. Annually a big religious gathering takes place here where the people bath themselves in the so-called holy water, an animation of the baptism of Jesus.

The last on our programme was the Medhame Alem church. It was the only of at least 44 churches in Gondar not destroyed during an invasion of Sudan during 1888. The people still believe a miracle in the form of the Virgin Mary stopped the Sudanese attackers.

Tomorrow my tour continues direction Sudan. Anne and Anja return to Addis Ababa, from where they will fly back to Germany on Sunday night.

Thanks you so much for all the emails I’ve received. I do appreciate! Unfortunately due to the slow internet I cannot reply on the mails now. I hope the internet in Sudan will be better.

Regards!



'n Blikkie Coke was vir hom onbekend / He didn't know how to open a tin of Coke - another world.


Beginpunt: Bahir Dar

Eindpunt: Gonder

Afstand: 174 km

Gonder is my laaste afsaalpunt in Ethiopië. Vrydag ry ek terug vanaf Gonder tot by die eerste dorpie en daar, net na die brug, draai die pad weg Soedan toe. ‘n Grondpad. Blykbaar is die pad nie in ‘n goeie toestand nie.

Die stof van Vrydag is nie goeie nuus nie. Sedert gister gebruik ek antibiotika vir ‘n erge verkoue / sinus. Dit is baie vererger deur die stof van veral Maandag. Ek sal nou moet begin om my kopdoek oor my neus en mond te bind om die baie sand en stof uit te hou. Ek het begin koors kry en dadelik gewonder of dit malaria kan wees.

Ek het gister ‘n fout gemaak toe ek geskryf het ek het nog net twee ander motorfietsryer ontmoet. My eerste ontmoeting was natuurlik Ekke en Audrey Kok by die Malawimeer.

Gonder is soos die ander Ethiopiese stede / groot dorpe. Dis vol mense, diere en klippe. Ek is verstom dat mense so kan leef. Wat kos dit om ‘n plek netjies, skoon, te hou?

Ek weet ek het in die begin geskryf ek wil die andersheid kom leer ken. Dikwels verstaan ek egter nie die andersheid nie. Moet vroue nog steeds groot erdekruike met water op hul rug dra? Is daar nie ‘n alternatief nie?

Is daar nog mense op die aarde wat nie weet hoe om ‘n blikkie Coke oop te maak nie? Ja, daar is. In Ethiopië.

Vandat ek in Gonder aangekom het, is die krag hier af. Hier noem hulle dit “power shading”. Die Ethiopiërs vertel trots dis as gevolg van hul groeiende ekonomie.

Waar het ek dit al vroeër gehoor?

Groete uit ‘n oorvol Ethiopië!

Gonder is my last stop in Ethiopia. On Friday I retrace my route until I come to the first town south of here. There, just after the bridge, the road turns west to Sudan. A dirt track. I heard the track is not in a good condition.

The dust of Friday is not good news. Since yesterday I am taking antibiotics to fight a bad cold / sinusitis, aggravated by die dust and sand of Monday. I have to start wearing my bandana over my mouth and nose to keep out as much as possible sand and dust.

Due to the fever my first thoughts were that it could be malaria.

I made an error yesterday when I wrote that I had met only two other people on bike. The first people I met were Ekke and Audrey Kok, whom I met at Lake Malawi.

Gonder is like most other cities and towns in Ethiopia. It is packed with people, animals and stones. I am surprised that people can live like that. What does it take to clean up?

I know I wrote in the beginning that I was doing this tour to get acquainted with the unknown. I struggle now and then to understand the logic of many things. Must women still carry those big urns filled with water on their backs? Is there no, better, alternative?

Are there still people on this earth that do not know how to open a tin of coke? Yes, they are. They live in Ethiopia.

Since my arrival in Gonder there was electricity. Here they call it “power shading”. The Ethiopians tell with a lot of pride their electricity cuts are caused my the growth in their economy.

Why does that sound so familiar?

Regards from an filled to capacity Ethiopia!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Bahir Dar - Dinsdag


Ethiopië

Het jy geweet?

Hoogste punt: Ras Dashen (4 620 m bo seespieël)

Laagste punt: Denakil (120 m onder seespieël)

Bevolking: 73 053 286 (skatting 2005)

Bevolkingsdigtheid: 65 persone per vk. kilometer

Vandag is ‘n rusdag in Bahir Dar vir my. Dis nie ‘n rusdag omdat ek moeg is nie, maar omdat ek nou fyn moet beplan om deur Soedan te kom.

Ek het slegs 14 dae tyd om deur Soedan, die grootste land op die Afrikakontinent, te ry. ‘n Mens kan nie per pad Egipte toe ry nie. Mens kan tot by Wadi Halfa ry en vandaar moet mens per veerboot oor die Aswanmeer na Egipte, Aswan, toe gaan. Die veerboot vaar slegs een keer per week, op Woensdae, van Wadi Halfa na Aswan toe.

Voor Wadi Halfa lê 400 km Nubiese (deel van die Sahara) woestyn, baie sand en blykbaar ‘n besonderse natuurskoon.

Ek kan dus vroegstens Vrydag in Soedan in, Sondag en Maandag in Khartoem bly, en Dinsdag vanaf Khartoem vertrek op die 800km lange rit Wadi Halfa toe. Vanaf Woensdag tot die Dinsdag daarop is dit die sandgedeelte, en dan op die Woensdag die veerboot.

Loop iets êrens skeef, verpas mens die veerboot, en word jy ‘n onwettige immigrant in Soedan omdat die visum se 14 dae verstryk het.

Dit is dus die rede hoekom ek al weer ‘n rusdag het. Woensdag het ek weer ‘n rydag, en Donderdag weer af.

Die Tanameer is die grootste meer op die Ethiopiese Hoogland en is op sy langste 85 km en beslaan ‘n oppervlakte van 3 600 vk. km. Op die foto is ‘n papirusboot op die Tanameer. Dit is ‘n oeroue manier van vervoer op die Nyl en dateer na die Bybelse tyd terug.

Terug na my fiets: Afstand tot nou gery: 6 993.8 km

Liters verbruik: 305.695

Gemiddeld: 22.88 km / liter

Die hoë gemiddeld is net daaraan toe te skryf dat ‘n mens hier nie vinnig kan ry nie.

Groete vanaf die Tanameer!

Ethiopia

Did you know?

Highest point: Ras Dashen (4 620 m above sea level)

Lowest point: Denakil (120 m below sea level)

Population: 73 053 286 (2005 estimate)

Population density: 65 persons per sq. kilometer

Today is a rest day in Bahir Dar. It is not because I am tired but because getting through Sudan within 14 days and catching the ferry to Aswan is a play with time and distances.

My visa for Sudan, the largest country on the African continent, is valid only for 14 days. One cannot cross into Egypt by motor vehicle; one has to use the ferry from Wadi Halfa to Aswan. That ferry leaves only once a week, on a Wednesday.

To get to Wadi Halfa, which is about 800 km north of Khartoum one has to cross the Nubian (part of the Sahara) desert. The last 400 km is going to be tough, sand, but spectacular. My plan is to enter Sudan on Friday, spend Sunday and Monday in Khartoum, and leave on the desert crossing on Tuesday. That should give me enough time to get to Wadi Halfa the next Tuesday afternoon. On Wednesday the ferry leaves.

That doesn’t leave much room for an error. Should anything happen one is going to miss the ferry and by doing so one is going to become an illegal immigrant in Sudan as the visa is going to expire.

That is the reason why I am sitting and waiting in Bahir Dar. On Wednesday I am riding again, and on Thursday it is … a rest day again!

Lake Tana is the largest lake on the Ethiopian Highlands. Its length is about 85 km and it covers an area of about 3 600 sq. km. On the photograph one can see a papyrus boat, one of the oldest means of transport on the Nile. It dates back to Biblical times.

Back to my bike: Distance traveled up until now: 6 993.8 km

Liters used: 305.695

Average: 22.88 km / liter

The high average is only because one cannot travel fast here.

Regards from Lake Tana!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Bahir Dar

Vertrek: Debre Markos (Ethiopië)
Eindpunt: Bahir Dar (Tanameer)
Afstand: 253 km

Nog 'n heerlike dag in Afrika is verby.

Ek sit op die oewer van die Tanameer, drink 'n yskoue 7 Up, skuins
voor my 'n reuse boom wat se skadu wyd oor die oewer en water val, en
kort-kort die roep van 'n visarend. Dis mooi hier.

Vandag se ry was maklik, stadig, en afdraend. Die KLR se
brandstofverbruik oor 253 km was net 'n bietjie meer as 8 liter.

Ek sit vandag 'n foto by van 'n vrou wat 'n swaar waterkruik op haar
rug dra. Die vroue hier werk hard, bitter hard. Ek is verstom oor die
afstande wat hulle met sulke kruike moet stap om water by hul hutte te
hê. Waar jy ook al dié beriggie lees, dink vir 'n kort oomblik aan so
baie manne en vroue in Afrika wat vandag bitter hard moes werk / ver
moes stap om iets by die huis te hê wat vir my en jou 'n
vanselfsprekenheid is.

Ek het vandag hier by die Tanameer maar die tweede motorfietsryer
ontmoet. Hy is uit Ierland, op pad Ierland toe met 'n BMW. Na
Noord-Kenia se woestynroete het sy motorfietsenjin opgepak, die gevolg
van konstante oorverhitting in die woestyn.

Ek groet julle uit die skaduwee van my groot boom op die oewer van die
Tanameer.


Another wonderful day in Africa is over.

I sit on the shore of Laka Tana in Ethiopia while drinking an ice-cold
7 Up and writing this short report. In front of me is a majestic big
tree. Now and then a fish eagle calls while soaring past, scanning the
surface of the lake for something to catch and eat.

The ride today was short, slow and easy. Die KLR used just over 8
liters for the 253 km to Bahir Dar.

I include a photograph of a woman carrying a heavy urn, filled with
water, on her back. To see how the women work here is heart-breaking.
They have to cover huge distances every day to go and fetch water and
carry it on their backs back home. When you read this short report
spend a thought to those men and women in Africa who had to work
bitter hard today to have something at their homes which is quite
second nature to us.

I met only the second motorcyclist today, an Irish guy on his way to
Ireland on his BMW. The engine of his BMW seized after reaching the
Ethiopian border, the result of constant overheating in the Northern
Kenya desert.

Regards from the shade of this wonderful tree at Lake Tana!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Sondag


Ethiopiese Hoogland


Die Blou Nyl / The Blue Nile


Beginpunt: Addis Adaba

Eindpunt: Debra Markos

Afstand: 295 km

Vandag was ‘n dag wat alles gebied het: Sonskyn, vir 140 km ‘n droom van ‘n teerpad, 155 km van alles wat nie ‘n droompad is nie, nl. grond, klip, teer, slaggate, golwe in die teer, stof en nogmaals stof.

Dit was Sondag en die mense was op straat: In hul hande kinders, bokke, skaappote en hoenders, koffie, gewere. Langs die pad ‘n paar keer manne wat met geboëe hoofde voor ‘n kerk in die verte gestaan het, biddend voor hulle nader gegaan het.

Donkies het met swaar gelaaide rûe voor hul eienaars uitgedraf. Maer perde en beeste het op kaal grond ‘n stukkie graskos probeer vind.

Die hoogtepunt was die Blou Nyl. ‘n Groot canyon het voor ons oopgegaan, met die pad wat slingerend afgesak het tot onder op die canyonvloer. Die Blou Nyl was eerder rooi, maar dit het nie saakgemaak nie. Die KLR is oor die Nyl vir die eerste keer. Om weer op die hoogland te kom was dit eerste en tweede rat en grond en stof vir baie lank. My longe het vanaand ‘n stukkie Ethiopië in hulle.

Behalwe vir die Blou Nylbedding was ons vir die res van die dag op ‘n hoogte tussen 2400 m en 2854 m bo seespieël. Maandag is dit die Tanameer, nog so 300 km van hier. Hopenlik he tons dan waswater.

Groete van die Ethiopiese Hooglande.

Start: Addis Adaba

Destination: Debra Markos

Distance: 295 km

Today we had everything that a traveler could wish for: Sunshine, the best tar road for 140 km, for 155 km everything that we didn’t have for the first 140 km: Gravel road, dust, dust, bit of tar, waves in the tar, potholes.

It was Sunday and humanity filled the roads. In their hands they had children, chickens, goats, sheep, coffee, guns. A few times men stood with bowed heads in front of a church, praying, before they went inside.

Donkeys, the worst-treated animals on the continent, were walking next to the road, carrying loads that were close to back-breaking weight. Horses and cattle, skinny like skeletons, tried to find something to eat on soil that had nothing but stones to offer.

The highlight of the day was the Blue Nile. A massive canyon opened up in front of us. Far below we could see the river, more red than blue. The road snaked down, it turned into gravel and dust and loose stones. The KLR crossed the Nile for the first time. To get back onto the highlands it was first or second gear all the way over gravel and through dust. Tonight my lungs have a red-brown coating, dirty Ethiopian dust.

We are traveling on a high altitude. Except for down at the river bed the rest of the day we were between 2400 m and 2854 m above sea level. On Monday it is again 300 km to ride to reach Lake Tana. Hopefully we will then have water to wash.

Greetings from the Ethiopian Highlands!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Laaste dag in Addis Ababe

Addis Ababa

Die Hollandse overlanders, die pa- en dogterspan Peter en Tessa, het
ook in Addis aangekom. Ons het mekaar laas net voor die begin van die
harde roete deur Noord-Kenia gesien.

Wildvreemdes word soos familie hier in die vreemde.

Hulle was ook reeds by die Soedanese ambassade. Daar is ons hoop van
mekaar nog gereeld op pad te sien, verpletter. Die ambassade verlang
van hulle 'n klomp ekstra dokumentasie wat ek glad nie eers nodig
gehad het nie. Daar is vir hulle gesê dit kan tot drie weke duur vir
hul visum.

Dis weer eens 'n bewys van die onkonsekwentheid wat dikwels met
visumtoekennings gepaard gaan, ook by Europese ambassades.

Ek begin Sondag weer te ry.

Ons het Addis Vrydag te voet gaan verken. Dis die enigste manier om
die gevoel van 'n stad te kry. Wat my gevoel is? Ek voel vuil na ek
deur die strate is. Stof en dieselwolke en die reuk van urine en
bedelaars en skuilings op die sypaadjies waar mense slaap. Om ook
regverdig te wees, in die beter gedeeltes hang die reuk van hul koffie
net so verleidelik in die lug as by enige koffiewinkel in Suid-Afrika.

'n Mens moet so versigtig wees om 'n land en sy mense nie na 'n
stadbeeld te tipeer nie. My ervaring van die deursnit Ethiopiër is die
van 'n gasvrye, pragtige mens. Sy omgewing en stad, is maar net die
gedwonge agtergrond vir sy menswees.

Ons het in Addis gestap soos ek dit nog nooit in Johannesburg kon doen nie.

Ons het gisteraand heerlik gaan uiteet. Vir 5 mense was die totale
rekening vir die hele aand ongeveer R 170.00. Dis net in Ethiopië waar
ek nog onder my begroting kon bly.

Vandag gaan ons die grootste mark in Afrika besoek, so sê die
gidsboeke van die mark hier. More is dit dan tyd om die reuk van die
stad te verruil vir die reuk van die onbekende.

Groete!


Addis Ababa

The Dutch overlanders, father and daughter Peter and Tessa, also
arrived in Addis. We saw each other the last time just before the
beginning of the hard route through Northern Kenya.

Strangers become like relatives on the long trek across Africa.

They already submitted their visa application for Sudan. Our hopes of
seeing each other again somewhere along the route were smashed by the
Sudanese Embassy. Peter and Tessa had to submit documents that they
hadn?t asked from me, and they were told their application could take
up to three weeks to finalise.

It is once again proof of how inconsistent embassies, also European
embassies, handle visa applications.

I?ll start riding again on Sunday.

On Friday we tried to get the feel of Addis on foot. It is the only
way to get beneath the surface. What did we discover? Very
contradicting experiences. I felt dirty having walked the streets of
the city. It was dirt and dust and diesel fumes and the smell of urine
and shelters that people called home on the pavements. One has to be
fair, however. In the better parts of the city the smell of coffee was
as inviting as at any good coffee shop in South Africa.

One has to be careful not to use a city experience and brand the
people of a country according to that. I experienced the Ethiopian
people as very friendly and hospitable. It would be unfair to say
Addis Ababa is Ethiopia.

We walked the streets of Addis Ababa, feeling more secure than perhaps
in Johannesburg.

We all had dinner together last night. The total account for 5 people
was about R 170.00. It was only in Ethiopia where I haven?t exceeded
my budget.

Today we are going to visit a market here, according to many travel
guides the biggest market in Africa. And then, tomorrow, I will
exchange the feeling of the city for the lure of the unknown road
ahead of me.

Regards from A A!