5698 km gery, 10 305 km om te gaan!

(English below)

5 698 km gery, nog 10 305 km om te gaan!

Dinsdag 29 Junie: Khartoem –Wad Medani

Ek het vroegoggend afskeid van Khartoem én lugverkoeling geneem. Dit was gelukkig net minder as 200 km se ry Wad Medani toe. Die wind was sterk uit die weste en het die heeltyd wolke stof en sand aangewaai. Ek het eenkeer oor die gesigskerm van my valhelm gevee. My vingers het stofstrepe getrek! My blyplek in Wad Medani was die ou Continental Hotel. Die enigste bestaande glorie aan die hotel was die naam. Dit is ‘n ou gebou, bietjie vervalle, en my kamer het net een venster gehad wat nie kon oopmaak nie. Dit was die heeltyd donker in die kamer, behalwe vir een gloeilampie teen die muur wat hard prober het om die donkerte minder te maak.

Oorkant die Continental was ‘n restaurant van ‘n Turk. Daar eet mens die beste pizza in die woestyn, vars gebak uit die oond.

Die middedorp het interessant gelyk en ek het my kamera geneem en soontoe gestap. Die strate was vol sand, vullis, afval, donkiekarre, vrugte- en groentestalletjies, en spoegende, sittende mans. Ek het ‘n foto van ‘n waentjie, gepak met groente en kruie, geneem. Die eienaar het water oor dit uitgesprinkel om dit in die hitte vars te hou. Die volgende oomblik het iets my teen die bors getref, ‘n groot geelwortel! Die gooier was ‘n man wat ek al ‘n paar keer naby my gesien het as ek gestop het om na iets te kyk. Hy het óf witmense gehaat óf hy was nie lekker in die kop nie. Gelukkig was dit nie ‘n skoen nie. J Die bakker daar naby het my ‘n stuk vars brood as vergoeding gegee en aanmekaar verskoning vir die man se optrede gemaak. Ek was net bly dat dit ‘n geelwortel was en nie ‘n groot klip nie.

Woensdag 30 Junie: Wad Medani – Soedan/Ethiopiese grens

Ek het met sonop begin ry. In die verlede was dié stuk pad baie warm en baie vervelig. Hoe verder ek suidoos gery het, hoe groter het my verbasing geword: Orals het water gestaan! Dit het in die woestyn gereën! Mense het met donkiekarre gekom en die geel modderwater in groot tenks begin skep. Vroue het langs die pad met plastiese bottels vol van die geel modderwater geloop. Beeste, donkies en kamele het van oral oor na die water gestroom om te suip. Ek het net weereens besef hoe ongelooflik goed en maklik ons dit in Suid-Afrika het. Ek is bly my lewe is nie ‘n woestynlewe nie!

Wat het die mense met die geel water gaan doen? Vir drinkwater gestoor? Ek wonder.

Voor Gedaref het ek gestop en by ‘n vrou ‘n koppie koffie gekoop. Daar was vlieë oral. Rou vleis het voor haar stalletjie gehang. Op my tafeltjie langs my koppietjie koffie het ‘n stukkie rou vleis gelê, oortrek met vlieë. Ek het nie kans gesien om dit af te vee nie en eerder maar net ‘n foto daarvan geneem.

Ek het in Gedaref gestop om ‘n internetkafee te soek. Ek moes ‘n dagboekinskrywing en foto’s aan die koerant stuur. Na lank gestap het ek uiteindelik ‘n plekkie gekry waar die internet gewerk het.

Toe ek klaar was, het ek met een van die agterstrate deur Gedaref gery om op die pad grens toe te kom. Links van my het ‘n paar kinders gespeel. Skielik was daar ‘n harde klap teen die koffer links. Een van die klein blikskotteltjies het so werklik my met ‘n klip gegooi en net die tas getref! Die volwassenes wat dit gesien het, het dadelik na die kinders gehardloop en ek kon sien hoe hulle met die kinders geraas het. Ek dink dit was maar kinderkattekwaad en dat die gooier nie werklik gedink het dat hy sou my tref nie.

Laatmiddag het ek die grens na Ethiopië oorgesteek. Ek het so ‘n kilometer van die grens by ‘n weird weird plekkie gekamp. Die toilette het so gestink dat ek die hele aand en nag vasgebyt het.

Donderdag 1 Julie: Ethiopiese grens – Gonder

Ek het na sonop begin ry. Dit was bewolk en koel. Twee jaar gelede was die pad ongeteer en het ek ‘n hele dag lank aan die pad vanaf Gonder tot by die grens gery. Nou was die hele pad geteer.

Dit was ‘n droompad vir die KLR, baie draaie en klim. Die grens lê op ongeveer 400 m bo seevlak en Gonder oor die 2 200m. Die draaie was ‘n droom met ‘n motorfiets. Die KLR het soos ‘n bergbok net geklim en geklim. Ek was verstom oor hoe die mense daardie bergpas uitgeloop het. Voor hulle was hul donkies, volgelaai met alles wat hulle in die dorpie aan die voet van die pas gekoop het.

En dan die vroue. Wat sou Afrika sonder sy vroue gedoen het? Vroue het op baie plekke nog aan die pad gewerk. Hulle het groot klippe op houtrakke gedra, die swaarste fisiese arbeid denkbaar, terwyl baie manne in die dorpies gesit en op niks gewag het.

Vroue en donkies, Afrika se redding van en beskerming teen die lui mans van Afrika. Beide van hulle verdien ‘n standbeeld in goud.

Ek het die opry teen daardie skitterende bergpas met die videokamera afgeneem, net om gisteraand uit te vind dat ‘n vet insek teen die lens vasgevlieg en sy binnegoed oor die lens verdeel het. Alles wat ek afgeneem het, was dof en uit fokus. Ek moes alles uitvee.

Soos 2008 en 2009 het ek weer gesukkel om petrol in Gonder te kry. Die vulstasies voor Gonder was alles leeg. In die stadjie self het ek wel petrol by ‘n twyfelagtige plekkie gekry. Hier moes ek in 2008 R 25.00 per liter op die swartmark betaal.

En dan, op hierdie goeie dag om 16:20 het ek iets gedoen wat ek ‘n week terug nie as moontlik sou beskou het nie. Ek het ‘n langbroek en sweater aangetrek so koel was dit op die Ethiopiese Hooglande.

Vrydag 2 Julie:  Gonder

Die Hollandse egpaar wat ek in Aswan ontmoet en saam op die ferry was, het gisteraand ‘n sms gestuur om te hoor waar ek was. Ons het vandag lekker saam gekuier en vanmiddag die Holland wedstryd by ‘n hotel gaan kyk. My geld was op Brasilië. Ek haal my hoed af vir die Hollanders. Hulle het werklik verggees gewys.

En dan die Ghanawedstryd die aand. Wat ‘n wedstryd! ‘n Span wat nie sy kanse gebruik nie, verdien om te verloor.

Saterdag gaan my reis verder suid. Ek beplan om tot in Bahir Dar aan die pragtige Tanameer te ry en die aand daar oor te bly en, hopenlik, die Duitsland wedstryd te sien.

Ek wil julle binnekort nog ‘n storie vertel. Gaan kyk ‘n op my webblad www.naboom2germany.co.za by my ou blog, die 2008 blog, oor my reis met die KLR oor Afrika tot by die Russiese grens. By die Julie inskrywings van daardie jaar, ongeveer 10 Julie as my geheue my nie in die steek laat nie, is ‘n inskrywing oor die Pitout-sussies. Lees dit gerus weer.

Groete, en geniet die laaste week van die sokkerskouspel!

English

5 698 km travelled, still 10 305 km to go!

Tuesday 29 June: Khartoum – Wad Medani

It was early morning as I said my farewells to Khartoum and air conditioning. The ride today was just short of 200 km until the town of Wad Medani. A strong wind from the west blew. The sand and dust came again rolling over the desert plains. One I touched the visor of my helmet. My fingers drew long dusty lines across the visor!

I stayed at the Continental Hotel in Wad Medani. The only smart thing that remained of the old hotel was its name. It is an old building, and neglected. My room had one window, which one couldn’t open. Against the wall was a single bulb, trying its best to beat the darkness in the room.

Opposite the street was a restaurant that belonged to a Turkish gent. There one can eat the best pizza in the desert, fresh oven-made.

The CBD of the town looked interesting and I took my camera and walked into town. The streets were sandy, lined with the normal rubbish one finds all over Africa. Donkey carts and fruit and vegetable stands completed the picture with men sitting, spitting and drinking chai. I took a photograph of a cart filled with vegetables. The owner was busy sprinkling water over it to keep it fresh. Suddenly something hit me against the chest, a massive carrot! The guy that threw the carrot at me did I see a couple of times as I stopped to have a look at something. He either hated foreigners or he wasn’t totally sane. In any case, it could have been a shoe, which would have been more of an insult. The people all apologised for his behaviour, and the owner of a bakery offered me a fresh loaf of bread as compensation.

Wednesday 30 June: Wad Medani – Sudan / Ethiopian border

I started riding just after sunrise. In the past I always had struggled on this piece of road as it had been a monotonous and boiling hot ride. The road stretched out in a south-easterly direction. I couldn’t believe my eyes. In many places water was visible. It had rained in the desert! Donkey carts with huge containers on it stood at the edge of the stretches of water. People were filling those containers with the muddy yellow water. Women walked next to the road with plastic containers hanging from them, filled with the yellow water. Camels, cattle and donkeys came in huge numbers to the water to quench their thirst. I realised again how comfortable we live. I am glad that I don’t live in a desert like those poor souls.

I wonder what they have done with the water. Would they store it as drinking water?

I stopped about 70 km before Gedaref to buy coffee from a lady. Huge pieces of meat were hanging in front of her coffee stand. Flies covered the walls and small tables and the empty “clean” cups standing next to her. I have never seen so many flies before as that morning. Next to my small cup of coffee lay a piece of raw meat, also covered by flies. I didn’t want to touch that piece of meat and rather took a photograph of it.

I had to stop in Gedaref to find an internet cafe as I had to send a report and photographs to the Burger / Beeld newspaper in South Africa. After walking quite a while I at last found a place with working internet, even if it was very slow.

After I finished sending the report I left, using some of the backstreets of the town to get to the main road to the border. Children were playing next to the road. Suddenly there was a loud bang against the left pannier. One of those children threw a stone at it me and it hit the pannier! The adults walking next to the road saw that and immediately chased the children away. I believe they were only playing and never thought that the stone would actually hit me.

Late afternoon I crossed the border into Ethiopia. About a kilometre from the border I camped at a very, very weird place. The toilets were stinking and I decided to hold out as long as possible and not to use it.

I managed until the next morning.

Thursday 1 July: Ethiopian border – Gonder

I started riding just after sunrise. The heaven was covered with a thick cloud cover and it was cool. Two years ago the road was still a bad gravel road. It then took me a whole day to ride from Gonder to the border. Now it was a good tarmac road all the way.

The road was built for motorcycles. There were many curves and the road was climbing up to the highlands of Ethiopia. The border is at about 400 m above sea level. I was soon at over 2 200 m above sea level. The KLR was in its element and was eating the kilometres and altitude meters without a problem. I was astonished to see how many people were walking those mountain passes, carrying heavy bags on their backs, while their donkeys were trotting ahead, carrying even heavier loads.

The many women working at sections of the road struck me. They were carrying heavy loads of big rocks to the ditch that they were building. That was work more suited for strong men, but where were the men? They were sitting in the villages, drinking coffee and waited for nothing to happen.

Africa should build memorials for the women of Africa, and the donkeys. The women are the salvage of our continent and the breakwater against the laziness of so many men.

I filmed the ride up the mountains with my video camera. Last night I discovered that a fat insect splashed itself against the lens. I had to delete all the footage of the day. What a pity.

Like in 2008 and 2009 I struggled to find petrol in Gonder. The three filling stations before coming to Gonder were empty. I was lucky to find some petrol at a very dubious filling station in town. It was in this town that I had to pay R 25 a litre on the black market for 10 litres of petrol back in 2008.

And then, on this good Thursday afternoon at 16:20 I did something that a week ago I wouldn’t dare even dreaming of. I put on my sweater and jeans as it was actually cold in Gonder!

Friday 2 July:  Gonder

The Dutch couple that I met in Aswan and that was with on the ferry to Sudan had sent me a text message last night, asking me where I was. We spent the day together and watched the match of Holland at a hotel on a mountain overlooking Gonder. My money was on Brazil but the Dutch team surprised us all. Frank couldn’t stop smiling since the final whistle blew.

What a game the Ghana game turned out to be! If a team doesn’t use all the opportunities thrown at it it doesn’t deserve to win.

I’ll continue my trip south on Saturday. I plan to ride to the beautiful town of Bahir Dar on the shore of Lake Tana. I look forward to watching the Germany game on TV.

I am going to tell you an interesting story soon. To get the background of it you have to read a certain blog post on my old blog (2008 trip) on my website www.naboom2germany.co.za  (.) The post was about the Pitout sisters and was done on 10 July 2008, if I remember correctly. Read that post again.

Enjoy the last week of the football extravaganza in South Africa!

About Lodie

Africa, Africa, Africa!
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