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The Fate of the Bushmen

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Our route through Botswana was pleasingly obvious: we would enter via the north east border town of Kasane, traverse south west through the huge Chobe and Okovango National Parks, and then take a long straight road west through the Kalahari Desert and into Namibia. This path would take us through the wild north using off road tracks and safari trails,…

Once Mozambiquan, forever smitten

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Mozambique
 

(Photo: RWH)

In Mozambique, ghosts of Portuguese and Swahili settlers wander amongst faded colonial grandeur, unnoticed. The inhabitants of the remote north have quickly returned to the lives that they lived for hundreds of years before the colonists arrived. The only memories of the old times are the Portuguese language, the food and pastel mansions crumbling among the…

The Two Sides of Malawi

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It was with some urgency that we set out towards Malawi. The ‘Administrative, Budget and Planning Board’ that had been threatening for some months now to meet had finally congregated in the Tanzanian equivalent of a greasy spoon, yielding some worrying conclusions. We were seven months through a nine month trip. We still had 5,000 miles and five huge countries…

Dancing with Demons from the DRC

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A huge plate of chips-a-myeye weighed heavily as we stepped among the crumbs of broken concrete in another filthy trucker stop town. We arrived at our chintzy bed and breakfast, the “Triple J Hotel’s” [sic], and were about to turn in when Bas noticed music coming from a dimly lit building across the road. I was sent off to investigate…

Tanzania: Car Jackers!

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Many months later, fleeing from the dark, we would remember these dazzling steps along a sandy ridge in the Sudanese desert. At midday we had tramped away from the quivering road to an old fort on the dunes. Among the crumbling ruins we found a hovel concealed in the shadows of the fort’s walls. A man clothed in rough cloth…

Kenya: The Swahili Coast

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Like a worried war-time family gathered around the wireless, we crowded around a small window in a Greek hotel room to see a torrent of protesters surge around the Landie, hurling rocks and abuse at the riot police. In Tahrir Square we ate roasted sweet potatoes bearing inverted impressions of the anti-government pamphlets in which they were wrapped. In Sudan…

Bandits! (The Lake Turkana Road Part III)

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It was about on day two that the bushes on our rear suspension failed. Long suffering, these rubber buffers prevent a metal on metal clash in the suspension components. Although this didn’t halt our progress, it made us wince every time we hit a medium to large bump, which happened about every three seconds. It did nothing for our confidence…

Hypnotic Adventures (The Lake Turkana Road Part II)

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Just before you read the next installment, we would like to thank eveyone who has suported us by reading this blog, and by kind emails and messages. It has really meant a lot when the chips are down to know that people are thinking of us back home.
We are now well over half way, and have clovered over 15,000…

The Road Ahead…

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Back at home when we were planning this trip, I would occasionally be asked which parts I was most worried about. I would reply Sudan or Northern Kenya, Somaliland having been a late spontaneous diversion. My worries were mainly based on a lack of knowledge about what things were like on the ground in these places, and the true risks…

The Adventures of Salami Man (Part 2)

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The sun was almost extinct as we climbed the steps in front of Berbera police station to find an old man in a wicker chair. Two armed men in dusty berets flanked the Police Chief but he himself displayed no military attire. He wore only a swathe of burgundy fabric, richly embroidered and firmly swept around his bent body.…

The Adventures of Salami Man (Part 1)

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Ethiopia, the homeland of Haile Selassi, is the heartland of Rastafarianism. As such Addis Ababa it is still firmly in the thrall of the Reggae that Selassi brought back from his exile in Jamaica. Before Reggae however the music heritage lay in Jazz and Swing. In the first decades of the 20th century Addis moved to the sound of Abyssinian…

Guest Post: Megan’s Ethiopian Experience

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It was a slightly drunken promise but none the less it was an invitation to Africa. Taking advantage of an absent boss, stretching one weeks leave into two and just enough time to get jabbed, insured and booted. I was off to Ethiopia to meet the ramshackle doctors on their travels.
When I met them in Gondar it was the…

The Road to Khartoum

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It was with nervous excitement that we made our way from the village of Wadi Halfa, Sudan’s northern frontier town to the port, although we had come to the conclusion that this was a rather grand title for what was in fact a single jetty and crumbling customs building. Wedged into the back of a tuk tuk we watched Africa’s…

Aswan to Wadi Halfa: The Second Half-a

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Wadi Halfa is a Nubian town on the Sudanese shores of Lake Nasser. This huge man-made lake has divided the Nubian people and displaced them into southern Egypt and Northern Sudan. The deliberate inundation of the old city of Wadi Halfa is still a source of resentment and a favourite topic of nostalgic lamentation amongst the older tea drinkers of…

Aswan to Wadi Halfa: Half-a Tale of Two Cities

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It transpires that Aswan is a tourist hotspot. We discovered this when we tried to buy a kofta roll and paid five times the going rate for it. People visit in order to cruise the Nile and visit the colossal tombs at Abu Simbel. We arrived however to catch the ferry to Sudan. For this reason Aswan is also a…

Merry Christmas

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Merry Christmas everyone!
You can find our Christmas video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a56bHM4hfMM&list=HL1356340210&feature=mh_lolz
Yesterday we manoeuvred our car onto the Aswan ferry barge, at great cost to our nerves and some cost to nearby freight products that were crushed and mangled in the process of clambering onto the tiny area of roof space allocated for our car. An ordeal I think every…

Tea on Turbulent Tahrir

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Cairo – 10,472 miles
The taste of freedom was fresh on our palates as we approached Cairo, and our excitement offset any apprehension we should have felt on approaching this hotbed of political strife. The world’s media was honed in on this city as the crowds expressed their discontent with the current government. The Egyptian people famously ousted their leader…

Any Port in a Storm

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As we pulled our mud-caked vehicle alongside the twilight outline of the Flintstone’s Cave hostel in Goreme, Cappadocia we were greeted by welcoming staff and a few friendly Erasmus students.
“Looks like you’ve had fun, what have you been up to?” one enquired.
It would be a few days before the obscure images of the past 24 hours had cleared…

Istanbul, Street Dancing and Otoparking

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We drove from the Turkish border to Tekirdag, a slightly grisly port town on the south coast. We arrived late and went in search of food. In a café at one o’clock in the morning we met Tayfur. Tayfur is a French language student studying in Tekirdag who very kindly offered to accommodate all six of us on the floor…

Greece’s Woes

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It was with a reluctant parting of eyelids and a woollen head that I surfaced. My slumber had been prematurely interrupted by shouted chants and sounds of a ruckus in the street below. I stumbled woodenly to the open window, squinting in the sharp morning sunlight. At length my eyes focussed on the Thessaloniki magistrate’s court not fifty yards away,…

Disorders on Borders Part 2

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Two things stood out from our brief visit to Albania, the cars on the road and their drivers. I read somewhere that in Albania 80% of cars are Mercedes. Although this seems ridiculous, our experience told us it couldn’t be far from the truth. This is apparently due to a large scale smuggling operation after the government collapsed in the…

Disorders at Borders Part A

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I will have to continue this post as our only remaining Wallace has gone missing. He was last seen bartering with a wizened old man over the purchase of some antiquated padlocks. The price was settled at a bag of gold coin and Bas’ immortal soul. Bas certainly has an eye for a bargain. So with Bas otherwise engaged in an…

Bosnia, into Croatia and a new recruit (part one)

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If there is such a thing as simplicity in life, I have yet to find it. I had lamented over how previous life was filled to bursting with work, emails, social commitments, an over-stretched fleet of interests and ambitious future plans.
“On this great journey we can live day to day, we can read books and write and develop new…

Serb Your Enthusiasm

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‘You’ll pretty much just need your flip flops and board shorts Guy’… This was the advice given to me from my brother, Sebastian, prior to joining the three intrepid doctors for the first several months of the trip through Europe and Turkey. For some reason these words have echoed in my mind, in between the shivers and teeth jitters, during…

Venetian bowls

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I was astounded on first visiting the little boy’s room in Austria to find a toilet basin that appeared to have been installed backwards. Most Europeans are accustomed to a watery sink hole at the rear with a gentle, ergonomic upwards slope towards the rim at the front. However this new and alien specimen has its pool hard at the…

Austria: hospitality, sarcasm and the dangers of group psychology

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We left Bratislava across the Danube. I was excited to cross this great river that has always formed one of history’s most significant borders. Looking across the misty banks, I could picture anxious  roman legionnaires at the limits of civilisation, surveying the dark, endless unknown  from their walls. As we crossed over the space-age soviet bridge, I imagined we were…

Czechsas Chainsaw Massacre (Dan’s Adjective-Saturated Masterpiece)

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Well what is there to say about Prague? I suppose most of what went on in Prague must inevitably stay in Prague. There was our first burglary, brilliant Belgians, pedunk-a-dunk, free beer and two midgets in a cage. The rest is unutterable.
Weary, bleary eyed and slightly sheepish we left the capital of Czech and struck out towards Bratislava in…

Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany

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“It was the best of times, it was the würst of times” Daniel Nuth
That day we arrived in the city of Brugge in time for lunch and a wander around. The weather was melancholy, the indicators still didn’t work and the wobble we had noticed since replacing our transfer box was worryingly present.  On the plus side, the architecture…

Trying hard to depart…

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Our journey to Dover had two key stops: my parents’ house in Somerset and Dan’s father’s house in Maidenhead.  Dan and I took our cars up to Somerset and waited for Rich who would drive up once the landy had passed its MOT.
  We had been frantically dashing around for the past week trying to get everything ready. We…