Saturday, July 19, 2008

One road, one desert, one rib

Hello All, We write from Khartoum where we've just received a message from the Canadian government advising all citizens to leave the country. No matter, we planned to depart anyway!

What a week it's been. We finally loosed the bikes from customs in Alexandia on Saturday, July 15. We raced into the desert that night and camped by the side of the road. When we woke up we saw the remains of a rather horrible bus crash. One can only imagine it had something to do with the Egyptian habit of driving at night without headlights. The next day we rode 18 hours to Aswan at the bottom of Egypt. We were slowed by a popped tire and by police convoys which insisted on escorting us, often at half the speed we normally ride. We made the ferry the next day, but not before having to swear a false oath to the police that we lost our front license plates, which we were never given, "while walking around Aswan." Absurdity and bureacracy walk hand in hand.

We arrived in the Sudan on Tuesday and waited until Wednesday for our bikes to arrive on another boat. We then left late afternoon to begin the long ride to Khartoum. The ride across the Sudanese Sahara is something to behold. It begins like a moonscape, all round black mountains and large rocks and occassion patches of sand. And deep washboard. This is best ridden at speed, but it takes some nerve. We camped after 150 kms with some other folks we'd met on the ferry.

We set out Thursday to make the 250 km run to Dongola, after which it is 500 kms of pavement to Khartoum. We had hoped to do it in a day. Here's a summation of why we did not:

1.) Heat approaching 50 degrees.
2.) Deep sand everywhere.
3.) Peter goes over his handlebars and crashes hard on his side.
4.) Peter gets taped up by a local doctor type who makes a clack with his tongue and a chicken-bone-breaking motion with his hands everytime he points to Peter's ribs.
5.) Sam rides Peter's bike to Dongola and hitches a taxi back.
6.) Peter hitches a taxi to Dongola while Sam and Steffan (a German we met) ride the last 30 kms of sand in the dark.
7.) Peter gets an x-ray in Dongola and the doctor assures him he sees no fracture. Unfortunately, the x-ray doesn't include the rib in question.
8.) Sam and Steffan find Peter sleeping in the hospital. He was taken back in after the police kicked him out from outside and a local attendant took pity.

We rode to Khartoum yesterday on a road built by Osama bin Laden. He's a builder, you know. And last night we stayed at the Blue Nile Sailing Club. Now, we live for Ethiopia. It's really been something so far and we're short on words and time to describe it all. But we will in good time.

Keep looking ahead.


Tyson said...

Hey guys, glad to read that you're back on the road. We spent two nights at Bougainvilla. We're heading for Ethiopia tomorrow. Hopefully we'll meet up again soon.
Rubber Side Down,

Charles said...

Hmmm. The first real post at the start of the trip and already Peter's needed medical attention. If you're trying to worry us, you've succeeded. Peter: I'm a religious man, as you know, but I've never really prayed. Must I learn how?

Anonymous said...

Barely through 2 countries and already heaps of stories. I knew you boys would not dissapoint. Keep up the adventure and stay safe. Remember, jab then twist.

Wade said...

Well, seems you guys are off to a great start, hope the rest of the continent is as adventurous as the beginning...May the grace of God go with you.



Anonymous said...

Hi Peter. . .
Great job on keeping us posted, but I am a week late in catching up ( today is July 27 th)

Trust the rib is OK, but you will have to be careful that you don't puncture a lung.

SAM - take care of this dude for us - we want you both back in not more than one piece.

Sounds like you are both doing A-OK, so keep up a great job.

Ride Safe !

God be with you - we are praying for your safe return.

Uncle Bill - North Bay

Juan Betancor said...

Sam, be carefull and good luck with everything. Come to Madrid afterwards for a serios "caƱa".


Larisa said...

Hey guys,
We're waiting for the continue of the story! Keep posting and be carefull!
Good luck!


Dan said...

Very cool! My wife and I visited Cairo in April of 09. Great city. I posted some pictures on my blog.

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