Making Friends. Sick In Bed.

I think I’ve got malaria. I want to just sleep. I’m shivering. I can’t eat. At the Belegez Pension I’m curled up in my small cozy room while I can hear my new friends chatting, milling about and making phone calls. I guess bad news came to Gareth & Helen. Seems the brake caliper was never shipped. And they’ve been waiting here for more than a week. He’s thinking of putting the bike on a truck to Addis where the possibility of finding a part or getting one shipped more promptly might be better.

My bike is doing better. But I’m not sure by how much. The fork seal is still leaking and the bike is overheating at slow speeds and mid-RPMs. The road to the Sudan border is rock, gravel and dirt and winds around low elevation mountains and then through a fertile valley. There are no gas (benzine) stations for the entire journey and the customs office, where I need to clear my bike, is about 40km before the border. And I’m told it’s tough to find. One guy I met got a late start from Sudan border and took two days to get to Gonder. But Gareth and Helen say it’ll take a day.

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In Gondar most people get around in a mini bus where the side door is always open. I took a ride through town to hang with the locals.


There’s something to be said about those Ethiopian women.

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I’m just not sure how, but in Gondar they must love their satellite TV. This building racks up a record count of 8 dishes. Hmmmm.

I really should stay another day here to let my fever run its course. Maybe get my blood checked. I hate to be a harbinger of doom, but if I don’t leave in the morning my whole schedule for Sudan is compromised. Why couldn’t they give me a normal transit visa? That’s right. I’m an American. With the lords of the desert on my side, I’m going to make that ferry to Egypt.

Then there are the other things to get in order:

1) book reservations for ferry
2) pick up FedEx package with new carnet de passage
3) get cash at Western Union
4) confirm with DHL that tire is en route to Cairo
5) within three days register with Sudanese Police
6) find overlanders going to Egypt via the Nile Route to follow and ask to carry extra water and fuel for me

I’m sure there are other things, but those are the most important.

Gareth and Helen had come down from Europe through the Middle East. Gareth shared tips and penciled out maps on how the best way to get into Israel and avoiding passport stamps so I could continue on through Syria. He also gave me a name of a competent mechanic and his friend in Cairo. I figured that would be where I’d change my tire and fix the fork seal if I didn’t have the time in Khartoum.

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Gareth actively demonstrates how to pick up a heavy motorcycle single-handedly.

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Gareth and Helen, two Kiwis who’d had enough of London and big business in the big city. They bought two motorcycles and headed back to New Zealand. A month before they left was the first time Helen rode a motorcycle. But the time I’d met here she’d ridden through the middle east, Egypt and The Sudan. Bravo Helen!

Then in the courtyard of our pension, Gareth illustrated what he felt was a sure-fire technic for picking up a heavy motorcycle single-handed, without any help. You see, I’m concerned about riding in the sand. Not so much about the sand, but about picking up Doc all loaded up. The bike is heavy. And I can’t pick it up without assistance. So getting stuck in the Nubian desert with limited water and the beating heat of midday didn’t sound appealing. This is why it’s important to rind someone riding or driving. In that desolate part of Sudan, you’d be better off with a companion — some one to help, or help me if needed.

But I needed rest. I rested and I worried — hoping that I just caught something on that cold boat ride on Lake Tana instead of the worse case: malaria.

3 replies
  1. GaryDawson
    GaryDawson says:

    One thing that I think is really cool is how many people you meet that seem to be vagabonding too! It is heartening for those of us that are (at least temporarily) stuck in one place in our lives. Later Allan!
    Gary in Eugene

  2. WorldRider
    WorldRider says:

    yes gary. it’s amazing how many people are out there on journeys of their own, vagabonding, cruising, backpacking, flying and there’s a small but very niche community of folks that are doing it. and when you meet a like-minded soul, it’s immediate friendship and sharing… i love this part of my trip

  3. WorldRider
    WorldRider says:

    there’s a correction. Tim Amos correctly identified that there are actually nine (9) satellite dishes on that building. thanks Tim!


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