Kenya 10 – 27/06/2012
Multumim d-lor politisti, pentru ca ne lasati sa intram. A 20-a frontiera africana trecuta fara carnet de passage si fara probleme, de o motocicleta cu romani la bord. 50 de dolari pentru 30 de zile de om, 20 pentru 30 de zile de masina. ‘Nu ti-e frica de animale salbatice?’, m-a intrebat vamesul. ‘Nu, prietene, sunt Mowgli de Romania’, i-am raspuns eu in gand. Dar nu era vreme pentru stat la taclale, soarele urma sa apuna in 40 de minute, si ne aflam in vecinatatea parcului national Tsavo, populat de elefanti si lei. Asa ca pe primul petec plat de pamant ne-am asternut cortul si in doi timpi si trei miscari aveam adapost pentru noapte. Patru kenyene s-au oprit sa chicoteasca la straini si la calul lor de metal. Pauline avea extensii buclate si gropite dulci, Ruth nu rupea aproape deloc engleza, Janet radea intruna, iar Beatrice avea o camasa roz si un zambet de milioane. ‘Nu vreti sa veniti la mine acasa?’ ne-a oferit ea. Ne-am uitat unul la celalalt – unul din bonusurile aventurii moto in Africa e sa petrecm timp cu localnicii. Dar eram mult prea obositi, si deja instalati pe cea mai buna suprafata posibila. Iar in cateva minute urma sa se innopteze. ‘E departe rau?’ a intrebat Ana. ‘E colea’, a aratat o fata in directia tufelor de la marginea drumului. ‘Si puteti sa faceti o baie’. Acum, pe bune, cum sa refuzam asa ceva? Ne-am strans catrafusele, si am pornit: Ana pe jos cu fetele, eu pe moto. Pana la casa lui Beatrice fetele au ras in continuu, toti cei 2,5 km. Satenilor care ramaneau muti de uimire la vederea noastra le-am fost prezentati ca ‘musafiri’. Uite ce culcus adorabil am primit in satul Timbila, pe raul Lumi. Gazdele noastre ne-au spus ca elefantii si leii vin adesea pana la gardul de flori, dar, hakuna matata, daca lighioanele vin peste noapte o sa aiba ei grija de noi, si le vor indeparta batand in oale si cratiti.
Thank you officers, for letting us in. The 20th African border penetrated by a vehicle carrying no Carnet and the first Romanians around Africa. Get all the details on how to skip CpD here. 50 bucks paid for 30 days of man and 20 for 30 days of bike. ‘You’re not afraid of wild animals?’ said the customs officer. ‘No, dude, I’m the Romanian Mowgli’ I said to myself. But there was no time for that, sun was about to set in 40 minutes and we were in the proximity of Tsavo National park, roamed by elephants and lions. We claimed the first flat empty spot, and dang, we had a bedroom. Four Kenyan ladies stopped to giggle at the strange squatters. Pauline had curly extensions and cute dimples, Ruth didn’t speak much English, Janet couldn’t stop laughing and Beatrice was sporting a pink shirt and a cracking smile. ‘Do you want to come to my house?’ she offered. We looked at each other – you know, staying with locals is what we love best in this adventure. But we were too tired to be the village superstars that night. Our camp was already set on the best surface possible. And it would be pitch dark within minutes. ‘Is it far’, asked Ana. ‘It’s just there’, the girls pointed to the nearby shrubbery. ‘And you could wash your body’. Now, how could we refuse that? We packed, and off we went: Ana on foot with the chatty gang, me on the motorbike. For the 2,5 km to Beatrice’s compound the giggling didn’t stop. To the surprised villagers we kept being introduced as ‘visitors’. Look what a lovely spot we had in Timbila village, on the river Lumi. Our hosts told us that elephants and even lions come often close to the compound, but hakuna matata, they will use pots and pans to make the big noise and scare the beast away.
Beatrice are 28 de ani si vine din Mombasa. O mai cheama si Mwanaidi, numele ei traditional. Casnica, dar si femeie de afaceri: cumpara ardei gras de la tarani si il duce la piata. Cele doua fetite, Eunice (8) si Faith (3) sunt singurii copii pe care ii va avea, pentru ca acum a trecut pe anticonceptionale, ca mai toate prietenele ei. Bea ne-a gatit kitere (sau ghitere), felul kenyan cel mai raspandit, practic fasole cu porumb. Dupa ce am impartit toti trei un blid, ni s-a adus o galeata de apa pentru dus, pe care l-am facut in curte. Familia are televizor, laptop, chiar si un stick pentru internet, asa ca ne-am uitat impreuna la ‘Megastar Kenya’ si am sporovait una-alta. Era minunat. Pentru ca am mentionat ca ne place chapati, dimineata Beatrice a dat fuga la magazin dupa faina, si i-a aratat Anei cum sa le coaca.
28 years old Beatrice is from Mombasa. Her traditional name is Mwanaidi. She is a busy housewife, but also a trader, buying hoho (bell peppers) from farmers and selling them on the market. She has 2 daughters: Eunice (8) and Faith (3). Now she is on birth control, as are her best friends. Beatrice cooked the kenyan staple kitere (also spelled ghitere), which is maize and beans. After dinner she fetched us a bucket of water for shower. We lingered a while longer watching ‘Kenya’s Got Talent’. It felt awesome to be there. As the night before we had mentioned that we liked chapati, in the morning Beatrice organized a chapati workshop for breakfast.
Sotul lui Beatrice, Gadiel, s-a nascut pe un pat de frunze de bananier, asa ca mama lui i-a pus numele Madundu, ceea ce inseamna chiar asta. Am aflat ca Gadiel este adjunctul sefului de sat, iar el si-a dorit cu tot dinandinsul sa faca o poza in uniforma oficiala.
Bea’s husband, Gadiel was born on a bed of banana leaves, which inspired his mother to also name him Madundu (which means banana leaves). He turned out to be the village chief deputy, so he insisted on taking a photo in his official uniform.
Gandeste-te ca am avut de-a face cu zeci de oameni ca Gadiel in Zair, Camerun, Nigeria. Uniforma, armele, barierele cu tepuse intimideaza, dar multi din oamenii astia, ne-am dat seama de mult, sunt familisti, cu frica lui Dumnezeu, ca si prietenul nostru kenyan. In comuna Taveta, ca in majoritatea teritoriilor rurale din Kenya, SIDA si saracia fac ravagii. Multi oameni prefera mariajul traditional, pentru a evita sa plateasca dota, si asta incurajeaza libertinajul sexual, facand futile eforturile de a limita explozia demografica si a contaminarii cu HIV.
Imagine we had to deal with dozens of people like him in Zaire, Cameroon, Nigeria. Uniforms, guns, spiked barriers inspire fear, but many of these people must have been like Gadiel, honest, God fearing, simple family men. In this chiefdom (Taveta), as in many other parts of Kenya (and Africa as well), the deputies struggle with staggering HIV levels, poor school attendance and ever dwindling buffer zone between wildlife and human settlements. Also many villagers tend to favor the traditional marriage (to avoid dowry) which allows several sex partners, making birth and AIDS control almost impossible.
Am downloadat pozele in laptopul lui Gadiel si am imprimat cateva. Dupa ce ne-am baut ceaiul cu lapte (chai maziwa in swahili), ne-am luat cu regret ramas bun. Trebuia sa ii dam bice pana in Nairobi, unde urma sa aflam daca mai aveam vreo sansa la viza de Ethiopia, sau nu.
In their compound, our kenyan friends have electricity, TV, laptop, even a dongle to connect to the internet. We downloaded the pics to their PC, also printed out a couple. After more chai maziwa (spiced tea with milk) we regretfully said our good byes and got back in the saddle. We needed to be in Nairobi asap, to sort out the dreaded Ethiopia visa.
Nu demult mergeam pe drumuri similare in Mozambique. Un praf rosu, incins si adanc, asternut pe hopurile de pamant care taie in doua o padure aproape neagra de verde.
Not long ago, we had spent days riding similar roads in Mozambique. Deep red dust covered the narrow stretch of land cut across an impossibly green forest.
Curand am lasat in urma ultima coliba de chirpici. Animalele salbatice insa tot nu s-au aratat, asa ca am prins viteza.
Soon enough we left the last huts behind. Game was the only thing that could slow our pace down, but it remained elusive.
Abia la asfalt a aparut prima zebra, apoi a doua si a treia si tot asa, bietele animale molfaind prin pungile de gunoi care aliniau drumul.
Only when we hit tarmac we spotted the first wildlife: zebras grazing in the debris of human consumerism.
Parcul Tsavo e traversat de cea mai aglomerata artera din Kenya: autostrada Mombasa. Nenumarate camioane duc marfa din port in interiorul continentului. Noroc ca am avut de tranzitat doar 50 de km de nebunie. O cladire abandonata ne-a atras atentia, asa ca am tras pe stanga sa exploram nitel.
Tsavo National Park is transited by Kenya’s busiest road: Mombasa Highway. One constant stream of trucks, transporting goods from the coast to half a dozen countries. There was only one option to both drive and live, so we stayed on it for only 50 km. An abandoned building caught our attention, so we stopped to explore a bit.
Structura bine executata, detalii faine, spatii interesante – candva acesta a fost probabil un restaurant de succes. Pe atunci animalele inca nu fusesera alungate de om, si carciuma asta era o oaza in pustietate.
The concrete structure well executed, solid details, interesting spatial design – this once busy restaurant must have been a welcome stop for travelers in the middle of nowhere. Probably in the heydays of this place wildlife was still around.
Cum am inceput sa urcam catre platoul de 1660 m unde este situat Nairobi, aerul a inceput sa devina mai rece si mai aspru. In uimitor de moderna capitala am ajuns in plin ambuteiaj. Intr-un fel ne aduceam aminte de Lagos, dar aceasta era o versiune mult mai spalata si mai disciplinata a naucitoarei metropole nigeriene. Numele Maasai al orasului era candva Enkare Nairobi, adica ‘apa inghetata’. In fosta mlastina, inginerii britanici si muncitorii africani si indieni de la caile ferate au instalat la sfasitul sec. al XIX lea o tabara de lucru. Treptat, tabara a devenit oras, apoi capitala, dar climatul a ramas la fel de neprietenos. Desi ne aflam la cateva sute de km de ecuator, pentru ca venisem odata cu iarna, nu erau mai mult de 14-15 grade. Macar iarna nu ploua. Dar cum vremea se schimba peste tot in lume, nu am avut noroc, si a turnat aproape in continuu. Crede-ma, sa dormi in frig intr-un cort umed, pe pamantul care musteste de apa, nu e de gluma. Uite cine a aparut sa ne inveseleasca:
As we climbed the last plateau before the escarpments of the Rift Valley, to the 1660 m altitude where Nairobi is situated, air begun to cool off. In the astonishingly modern capital of Kenya and economic centre of East Africa we hit the afternoon traffic jam. In a way we had a deja vu, remembering Lagos, but this was a clean, disciplined, far less congested version of the Nigerian metropolis. The Maasai name for the city was Enkare Nairobi, which means ‘cold water’. Once nothing more than a swamp, Nairobi became a necessary base camp for the british engineers and their african and indian workers, who were busy building the railway. Even if the Equator is a few hundreds of kays away, the weather is never pleasant. We arrived with winter, so it was very cold, averaging 14-15 degrees. But Nairobi winters are dry. If only we should be that lucky… With the climate changing all over the world, rains have become less predictable, so we had them falling almost on a daily basis. Believe us, camping on wet mud and grass and shivering in the tent is not fun. Our pep: this cute chameleon we nicknamed Pinocchio
Daca intr-un an abia intalnisem alte 7 echipe de calatori, dintre care toti, in afara de doi, erau deja la casele lor, in Nairobi eram dintr-o data coplesiti de numarul mare al strainilor. Curtea in care campam era plina pana la refuz cu masini, camioane, motoare, spatiile comune zumzaiau de backpackeri. Era aici chiar si un muzician nomad din Japonia. Yusuke a calatorit cu transportul in comun pana in Kenya, unde s-a hotarat sa isi ia o bicla. Muzica lui, in care povesteste despre oamenii pe care ii intalneste pe drum, ne-a resuscitat inspiratia pentru propria noastra ‘cautare’.
If in over one year we had barely met 7 teams of travelers, of which all but two were already home, in Nairobi we suddenly were in over-lander’s world. The compound we were staying in was choking with cars, trucks and bikes, the shared spaces busy with backpackers and even a Japanese nomad musician. Yusuke backpacked all the way to Kenya, where he decided to buy a bicycle. His songs about what he had encountered on the road provided us with fresh inspiration for our own quest.
Unul din cantecele despre Mongolia parca ne-a citit gandurile:
‘Du-te/ Du-te mai departe/ Pana cand aerul/ Este nou
Si ajungi intr-o alta lume’
One of his songs about Mongolia pretty much describes how we feel:
‘Walk/ Walk everywhere/ Until the air/ Is New
And you reach the other side’
Ne-am ocupat si de motocicleta
We had to deal with the bike
In Mozambique, taiasem un schimbator de viteze de scuter chinezesc in locul celui stricat. Inca se tinea bine.
The gear lever I had manufactured in Mozambique from a chinese scooter was still in great shape
Am avut de alergat si pentru vize: Ethiopia si Sudan. Multumita ambasadei sudaneze, a trebuit sa depistam misiunea romaneasca, pentru o scrisoare oficiala. Ocazie cu care i-am cunoscut pe Cristian si Antonia Diaconu, oameni extraordinar de calzi si ospitalieri.
And sort our Ethiopia and Sudan visas. Thanks to the Sudanese embassy that requested a letter from our own embassy, we met the wonderfully gracious and friendly people who work at the Romanian mission.
Nu am putea multumi indeajuns romanilor care ne-au primit, sfatuit si ospatat cu mancare ca acasa.
We couldn’t thank enough for all the support, good advice, care and awesome food. Check out the Romanian braai.
Vizele au mers mai usor decat ne-am fi asteptat. E adevarat ca multa lume e refuzata, dar cu povestea noastra cu traversatul Zairului din cauza Angolei imposibile am cucerit increderea consulului, asa ca in cateva zile aveam stickerele in pasapoarte. In viata insa, daca castigi, mai si pierzi; dupa 50,000 de km in Africa, prima pana!
The visas proved to be less tricky that expected. We had an interview with the Ethiopian consul who was persuaded by our Congo extravaganza; a few days later we had the stickers in our passports. As always, you win some, you lose some, so while driving in the city we had our first flat tyre in over 50,000 km!
Un motociclist kenyan ne-a urmarit povestea pe advrider si a vrut sa ne cunoasca. Am iesit cu Geoffrey la un festin kenyan, adica ‘nyama choma’. Adica gratar in swahili.
Geoffrey, a biker who has been following our story on advrider, invited us for a Kenyan feast. A good meal means here ‘nyama choma’, which is swahili for ‘meat on the fire’.
Am sacrificat animalul
Look what this guy was chopping for our party of seven:
Si cateva legume simbolice: banane prajite si varza
Let’s say that it was not all meat: there was some fried banana and cabbage involved as well
Gasca noastra eclectica: noi, Geoffrey, Jack, Andrew, Kaizer si Joe.
Our eclectic gang (us, Geoffrey, Jack, Andrew, Kaizer and Joe) debated everything from arts to politics. Kenya is rapidly growing into a powerhouse that bears less and less resemblance to its less developed African neighbors.
Joe Barasa este ilustrator la Shujaaz.FM, o revista de comics editata in sheng (jargonul tinerilor), Shujaaz inseamna in swahili ‘eroi’. Shujaaz.FM constuie o serie de povesti centrate pe un personaj care promoveaza spiritul pro-activ in randul tinerilor. Comunicata in diferite medii online, print si radio, Shujaaz.FM este gandita sa mobilizeze si motiveze tinerii din Kenya.
Joe Barasa is a self-taught illustrator, currently working for Shujaaz.FM, a monthly comic book written in sheng (the contemporary slang language of Kenyan youth). Shujaaz means ‘heroes’ in Kiswahili. It is a series of stories shared on different media platforms: a 32 page comic book published online and printed monthly in the Saturday Nation newspaper, Kenya’s biggest publication; also broadcasted via daily FM radio programmes on more than 17 FM radio stations around Kenya. The agenda of this pioneering magazine is to feed the young generation with information and empowering ideas, to motivate them to become proactive and responsible within their communities.
Era musai sa plecam din Nairobi, indiferent de vreme. Plouase oricum toata ziua si toata noaptea dinaintea plecarii, eram infrigurati la maxim, iar in cort totul, de la saltele la sac de dormit, era ud. Am zvantat ce am putut, dar abia am iesit din oras ca am avut a doua pana de cauciuc.
We had to leave Nairobi, come rain come shine. It had rained all day and all night before our departure, we were chilled to the bone, tent, mattresses, sleeping bag all wet or damp, so we had to dry them a bit before setting off. We didn’t go too far though because of a second flat tyre.
La cateva minute dupa ce am rezolvat problema a dat potopul. Nu aveam ce face: nu se vedea nimic din faimoasa panorama catre valea marelui rift, aerul era rece si ploaia necrutatoare. Ce rost ar fi avut sa incercam sa facem poze la ceva ce nici nu vedeam cu un aparat stricat? Abia in Naivasha ploaia s-a mai calmat si am oprit la o baraca cu ceai si gogosi. Cred ca ceaiul ala ne-a salvat de la hipotermie. Ne-am pus cortul pe malul lacului, si toata noaptea hipopotamii au mormait si molfait la iarba.
Minutes after I managed to solve that, rain started again. Soon it was pouring cold waters, and we were driving on the famous stretch that should offer 360 vistas over the Rift Valley. We couldn’t see squat, so why stop in the downpour to try to take photos of grey fog and whatever else was there with a broken camera that doesn’t focus properly? We hold on to our horses and endured the torture. In Naivasha the rain had become a more merciful drizzle, so we stopped in front of a shack for hot tea and andazi. I think that tea must have saved us from a serious case of hypothermia. We pitched on the shores of the lake, where all night we could hear the hippos grunting and grass-munching, their chunky bodies barely visible from the swampy field.
Daca in Congo a fost greu sa mergem zile intregi in ploaie, macar apa nu era bocna. De data asta insa, era si foarte frig, asa ca am hotarat sa ne scurtam vizita, ingraduind o oprire scurta la colonia de flamingo de pe lacul Naivasha.
This was no Congo, so riding for days with cold water in our boots was out of the question. We decided to cut our visit even shorter, and because there was a bit of sunshine, stopped to see the flamingo colony that inhabits lake Naivasha
Sa nu crezi ca asta e vreo rezervatie sau asa ceva. Lacul Naivasha, desi e unul dintre putinele cu apa dulce de-a lungul Vaii Riftului, este un dezastru ecologic. Horticultura il ucide treptat. Fermele de flori pompeaza apa din lac si deverseaza pesticide in habitatul unor specii amenintate cu disparitia. Colonia de flamingo a scazut la un procent infim din cele cateva milioane de exemplare de odinoara. E ciudat sa te gandesti la asta atunci cand cumperi un buchet de trandafiri in Europa, nu-i asa?
You’d be wrong to believe this is some kind of pristine wildlife heaven. Lake Naivasha, one of the few fresh water lakes in the Rift Valley, is an environmental disaster. A huge flower farming operation has long been established around the lake, pumping waters and spilling all sort of hazardous chemicals back into the habitat of endangered birds. Some years the water levels in Naivasha have been so low that one could walk for 150 meters from the shore. The flamingo colony is a shadow of its former past. Unfortunately the flower industry is flourishing, and when it’ll be finished with Naivasha, it’ll find another lake to deplete. It’s a strange thing to think about when buying roses in Europe, isn’t it?
Imprejurimile Naivashei contin inca o populatie sanatoasa de antilope, porci salbatici si zebre. Am petrecut restul zilei trecand ecuatorul de cateva ori
The area around Naivasha is still home to a fairly healthy population of antelopes, warthogs and zebras. We spent the rest of the day – that was mostly dry – crossing several times the Equator
Lacul Elementeita are apa sarata, dar e la fel de putin protejat ca si Naivasha – odinioara si aici existau flamingo
Lake Elementeita, another soda lake of the Rift, and another desolate sight, once home to a vast colony of flamingos
Ultima nyama choma, cu garnitura de kenyegi (piure de cartori cu spanac si porumb)
A last nyama choma, with a side of kenyegi (mashed potatoes with spinach and corn)
In zona muntelui Kenya am vazut ca se apropia iar furtuna
As we reached Mt. Kenya, the weather turned rogue once again
Nici gand sa ne oprim in Nanyuki: ploaia ar fi venit de buna-seama, asa ca i-am dat bice, sa parasim muntele si vremea proasta. Spre noapte am ajuns intr-un sat unde oamenii se adunasera la ceai in jurul singurului televizor, la un film kung fu. In mod miraculos, am gasit si un loc sa dormim pe gratis, in curtea unui hotel inca in santier. Nu exista dus, doar niste toalete infernal de murdare, doar oamenii erau extrem de draguti si ne-au adus chiar hartie igienica. Si pentru ca hotelul nu era inca gata, am avut liniste sub cerul in sfarsit fara nori.
There was no way we could stop in Nanyuki, as planned. We pushed thru the night, to escape the highlands and the rain, until we arrived in a village where people had congregated to watch a kung fu movie in the only tea’n doughnut joint. Miraculously, by the river we found an unfinished lodge where the owner allowed us to camp for free. There were no facilities, the toilets were appalling, but the people were extremely friendly, putting up toilet paper for us in the loos. And because the place was still under construction, we were alone under a clear sky.
Asfalt uscat dupa doua saptamani de ploi si frig – viata era din nou frumoasa, chiar daca ne indreptam catre temutul drum Marsabit – Moyale, cosmarul overlanderilor de pe ruta de est. Bucuria a tinut inca 140 de km dupa Isiolo, si am sarbatorit cat de des s-a putut, cu clasicele gogosi si ceai.
With no rain after two weeks of it, smiles started rolling, happiness unjammed and we were feeling A-OK. Who cared we were heading towards East Africa’s worst road? For the moment we were rolling on chinese tarmac, filling up on cheap tea and more doughnuts, enjoying the treat that lasted even 140 km after Isiolo.
Pentru ca o gasca de vulturi isi luau pranzul, le-am urmat exemplul. In tufe, plin de suricate.
While a bunch of vultures enjoyed their lunch we stopped to snack as well. Mongooses were creeping up from everywhere.
Furnicarul asta fusese probabil victima unui autovehicul, dar vulturii erau macelari profesionisti
Probably killed by a speeding car, the anteater had been professionally butchered in search of the best bits
Cum am intrat in tinutul Samburu s-a terminat si asfaltul, si a inceput nebunia. Corugatiile sunt atat de dese incat chiar si la viteze mici simti cum geme fiecare centimetru de motocicleta si om.
As we entered the land of the colorful Samburu people, the asphalt ended, and the rattling begun. This has been described as the overlander’s nightmare and for travelers who do only the East route it must be so. Corrugations are profuse and so dense that even at low speed you can feel every bit in you motorbike suffer.
Peisajul insa e superb: muntii ca niste naluce la buza campiei care e inghitita incet incet de desert. Putine colibe, dar nu putini oameni, spectaculos investmantati cu bijuterii in cele mai stralucitoare culori. Din pacate toti alergau sa ne ceara apa sau bani, si nu aveam decat jumatate de litru ramas pentru noi doi. Ajunsi in sfarsit in Marsabit, ne-am continuat drumul catre vest, prin desertul Chalbi. Eram asteptati in Maykona pentru o vizita de una-doua zile, dar imediat dupa ce am iesit din oras situatia e devenit dramatica.
The scenery is superb: mountains creep beyond the veld that progressively becomes a horizonless desert. A handful of mud and dung huts of the nomads who inhabit this hostile environment. Many people came running, asking for water or money. We barely had half a liter left to sheer between us two, so there was not enough to spare. We felt terribly guilty, but we absolutely had to arrive in Marsabit that afternoon, as we planned to continue west, across the Chalbi desert, to Maykona. Once in Marsabit we stopped briefly for tea and the usual doughnuts. But as soon as we left town, the road deteriorated so much, that we started to question the entire plan.
Ne aminteam raportul lui tsiklonaut de pe ruta Turkana, si drumul asta incepea sa arate cam la fel. Portiunile cele mai bune erau dure, dar atat de pline de corugatii incat simteam cum ne dezintegram molecula cu molecula. Restul drumului era un carusel imprevizibil, un strat gros, instabil, de pietris si bolovani. Pe alocuri ne trezeam in mijlocul unui banc de nisip, sau in ceva ce ar putea fi descris ca o mlastina de pietre. Un vant uscat si fierbinte matura pustietatea pe care abia daca se zarea o umbra.
We remembered the dramatic report of tsiklonaut from the Turkana route and this was starting to look more and more like what he described. The best stretches were relatively hard, but so corrugated that we could feel our bodies splintering to molecules. The rest of the road was an unpredictable carousel of loose gravel and rocks. Sometimes we would find ourselves suddenly riding on soft sand, then on our absolute favorite, something that could be best described as a swamp of boulders. A hot dry wind kept blowing across the veld that barely allowed a shadow.
In 30 de km eram rupti de oboseala si bausem ingrijorator de multa apa. Nu aveam nici o sansa sa ajungem in Maykona pana la lasarea noptii. Si ca sa ajungem in Ethiopia, ar fi trebuit ca in dimineata plecarii sa facem, pe langa cei 250 de offroad dintre Marsabit si Moyale, inca o data acesti 75 de km de iad. Ce rost avea toata nebunia?
30 km and we were spent. With our current speed we we unlikely to arrive in Maykona before night, we were going to visit to somebody there. But that meant that to go to Ethiopia, we would have to do this 75 km of pure hell again, on top before the Marsabit to Moyale ride. Was is all worth it?
Ne-am racorit creierii la umbra – si am cugetat drept
Once our brain cells cooled down a bit; we could think more clearly
Asa ca noaptea ne-a gasit inapoi in Marsabit, campati in curtea colegiului tehnici catolic, la cina si telenovele venezuelene cu gazda noastra, parintele Francisc.
So the night found us back in Marsabit, camping in the compound of the Catholic Technical Highschool, and dining on kenyagi with our generous host, father Francisc. After watching together venezuelan telenovelas, we said good night, only to reunite for tea in the early hours of the next day.
Bucata Marsabit – Moyale nu a fost pe masura legendei
The Marsabit to Moyale failed to live up to the terror. It went down like that:
Sigur, nu ne-am oprit sa facem poze pe portiunile cu adevarat dificile, care semanau cu drumul prin desertul Chalbi. Pietris profund, pe alocuri amestecat cu nisip, dar numai pe circa 50 de km; pentru ca chinezii, la un moment dat eliminati din proiect, au revenit in forta si cilindreaza zi si noapte. Deviatiile sunt obligatorii pentru a menaja vehiculul, in rest trebuie sa stai cu ochii in patru.
Of course we didn’t stop to take pics on the worst parts, which were quite similar to the Chalbi road. Loose rocks or a deep layer of gravel mixed with sand, but the really rough parts only last for about 50 km. The Chinese – almost ousted from this project – are back working on the road as we are writing this. Some stretches have been leveled and you want to take all the deviations to spare your vehicle and yourself a lot of trouble. Of course that you have to be on the ball, looking out for those moats and potholes, careful to spot a shadow for a ditch.
Ne-au depasit vaste turme de camile si oi manate de nomazi Borana
We encountered vast herds of camels and sheep and many Borana nomads
La un foarte rezonabil 2 p.m. ajungeam in oraselul Moyale. Supravietuisem greului, in circa 6 ore si jumatate. Nu e asa de simplu pe cat ar reiesi din ce am pozat noi, dar nu e nici atat de groaznic precum se spune.
At a very reasonable 2 p.m. we were in the congested little town of Moyale. Now my bike now had been there, rode that and lived to tell the tale. As we had stopped many times to drink water, and once to snack, we estimate to have crossed the 250 km in 6,5 hours. Of course it isn’t as relaxing as it looks, but it is definitely not as bad as they say.
Urma sa platim amarnic insa aroganta de a ne crede trecuti puntea. Dupa ploi, frig si desert, ne indreptam catre muntii etiopieni, in miezul torentilor.
But if after suffering cold rains and a baking desert we had been arrogant enough to believe the hard part was over, soon we would regret it. We were heading to the highlands of Ethiopia, where the wet season was just peaking.