Friday, 2 September 2011

The Road fromHell

Getting ready to head off to the airport and son John asks how I feel.  Answer is a touch excited and also a touch apprehensive.  The latter feeling added to by the post I came across yesterday from our "Namibian Expedition Team", who wrote about a bit of the road they call "the Road from Hell", in their post here.  Especially the bit about the "shifta bandits".  John says I should make sure I have no obvious jewelry -- "take off you wedding band" he says, not having noticed that I haven't worn one for about eight years..., and we discuss if I should take off the only piece I do wear, a necklace with a "good luck" Chinese character, which I argue should stay, as it's something I can give to the shiftas.... hmmmm....
Here's an extract from the post....
The second half of the journey moves into the rough stuff – over the equator at Nanyuki and past Mt. Kenya, Archers Post and Marsabit and into the rocky track trough the northern desert region known as the Road from Hell due to the suspension breaking road and the shifta bandits that roam the region. Upon reaching the Ethiopian border at Moyale the worst is over and we are back on tarred roads, albeit now driving on the right hand side of the road just to add to the confusion of overloaded trucks and buses along the route to Awassa and Addis Ababa.
After four days in Addis applying for Sudanese visas (and flying up to Lalibela to see the amazing underground stone churches) the African Odyssey drives through the Ethiopian highlands to Bahir Dar and Gondar and then, following the Blue Nile across the border into Sudan and on to Khartoum – no beer or whisky at the famous British gunboat which is now part of the Nile Sailing Club in Khartoum, due to the ban on alcohol in the Sudan, but perhaps a cup of tea in the old British tradition. 
Three days (with overnight camping) in the Nubian Desert finally brings us to Wadi Halfa where we load the cars onto the ferry for the crossing of the Aswan High Dam to Aswan in Egypt. Now that beer is back on the bar lists the African Odyssey will no doubt have a party but the officialdom and hassle of customs regulations surrounding the importing of a car into Egypt (hence the four days in Aswan) will apparently test the patience of many a driver as the cars have to be inspected, customs forms filled out and temporary Egyptian number plates fitted with (no doubt) many palms having to be greased to assist the process!
Once leaving Aswan the end is in sight as we travel on to Luxor and the Valley of the Kings for the compulsory and ancient Egyptian history lessons antiquities viewing and then on to the Red Sea town of Hurghada for two days rest and relaxation at the beach before the final push into the greatest traffic jam in the world in Cairo.