The last 3 days have been awesome off road and sealed, extremely hilly with climbs seeing us cover over 5000m. The Simien Mountians of Ethiopia are truly beautiful. Riding the hills is horrendous, going up that is. I tend to wonder whether it is actually legal to have that much fun coming down the hils on seriously rocky dirt and hairpin bends at 43.6 kph. Seriously great fun. That has been the most fun I’ve had all trip.
The villages get scary as they are usually at the bottom of a decent meaning your speed out of town is slower than little kids can run, this is the “get you” moment, or they stand on top of the road cut aways and pound rocks at you as you pass.
Kids 7, Me nil…. I have been pulled off my bike, 2 rocks to the head, 2 to the legs, stolen bike tube and leavers, however they dropped them really fast as I ran down the road like a maniac screaming at them. The bike has many more brusies than I.
Arrived Axum yesterday arvo but again not before getting lost as the little blitters were wearing the markers as neck ties and I missed the turn off. Thankfully I only did an extra 8 km unlike one of our guys who did 40….. 20k before he asked for directions oooops….
Whilst in Gondar visiting the Neurologist I was given the registration card. Date 23 January 2006 although it reads the 23/5/2006. Not quite sure about that cause I was coming back that arvo even though the date was really 31/1/2014.
Now although Ethiopia seems decades ahead of Sudan in every way, its days start at 6am so that infact is 00.00, lunch is at 6am and dinner is at 12…. oh but that is not the best part. Whilst sitting at the boarder I noticed a calander hanging on the wall reading 2005. Had a chuckle to my self thinking woo thats a bit out of date. Well as it turns out it was only a month out of date. The date today in Ethiopia is the 27th January 2006…. the difference in the days it that Ethiopia have 13 months of sunshine …apparently. …. so have less days in the month. And because nobody informed them that Christ had been crucified until 8 years after the fact, they are 8 yrs behind everone else on the planet.
Now how’s this…. Sudan – very black and white, that is in people and the atmosphere, mainly white cloth robes, very little colour seen anywhere except the odd blue door on a mud house, or a mosque in blue or green. No happiness showen, no music, no paintings. Women are seen but not alot and when they are it is usually only their eyes, children are rarly seen especially in the bigger villages. It is a very dead, depressing country. Men are seen every were through the desert and villages on donkeys, and camels, hearding sheep, goats, camels and cattle or just squatting in the middle of the desert because they can….. whilst on their mobiles.
Ethiopia on the other hand was a total change from immediately crossing the boarder. Lots of children which I initially thought was great… lots of music, colour, women and in normal clothes and they spoke to you, happiness in the streets but the mobile service is still in 2006. Go figure….. Ethiopia is nothing like portrayed on TV adds. So far the countryside reminds me so much of Australia, love it.
This next week is going to kill us with 4 horrendous days of riding the toughest terrain. This year the course has been harder than any previous years due to Cairo being canceled. Its like an ultra marathon every day except on the bike. No other year has seen the majority of the group out of EFI in the first week and the days have not got easier. Looking forward to hooking up on the old route and my back returning to normal, thank gosh they dont drug test……