Leaving Khartoum 7672miles
And Andy, who knows everything there is to know about Scottish land ownership has flitted to Addis Ababa and offers accommodation.
I tried leaving today, packed up said all my goodbyes to Rachel and headed off. The Ethiopian Embassy only (!) took two hours to find (no addresses) and then they were closed. But they'll be open tomorrow! Keep grinning. So now I'm back in the iCaff waiting to see how best to blag another night on Rachel's balcony!
I find I'll miss Khartoum! I've been here two weeks and I know the neighbours' kids. I wish I could find them some chalk for their pavement drawings. I wanted to buy them a football! I know all the good iCaffs and I get familiar shouts and huge extravagant hand-slapping handshakes that start away high in the air from people who know and recognise me and the bike. I think I'm even getting used to the heat as well.
Rachel and I thought we'd perfected the Khartoum night out last night when we went for BBQ chicken at the restaurant we found that first night, with cold drinks from across the street, and then got ice-creams on the way home! Delightful, but later we concluded there must surely be even more.
I'd like to stay and help Midhat fix his old BM. And then there's the leaving a place again. I was getting used to leaving places a while back. It must be the lack of momentum again. Having familiar things around in Rachel's flat and having her familiar face to 'come home' to, has become 'comfortable'.
Alas, these aren't the comforts of RTW travel, and I must get over all that nonsense! Amazing, though, how easy it is to fall back into the familiar and easy ways, and how easy it is to become established in a new place. Of course part of the truth is that I have become comfortable here quite secure in the knowledge that I am passing through. Rachel has to stay for seven months, and I'm far less certain I'd have become quite so comfortable with that prospect in mind. I'm less sure, also, whether I'd have become so comfortable had I arrived and tried to set up here on my own. It would have happened, I know, it might just have been a good bit slower. I've lived in foreign cities alone before, but none quite so basic as this one. And never without any language at all.
So, definitely away tomorrow, a night in Gedaref, then the dirt road to the border. Hopefully quickly through that (but the Nicks spent some hours in jail there!) and then up to Gondar in the cool Ethiopian Highlands. I read in one of the guide books that there's a famous brewery to be visited in that town! I might be in need of a wee rest by then!
Apologies, by the way, for the lack of photos. Rachel put them onto disc but we can't find a computer that'll open it! Now she's going to try and get them copied and send them on to me in Nairobi. There aren't any photos for Sudan anyway, they're not allowed (well . . .).
Wish me luck - I will need it this time - any religious types, please feel entirely free to do your thing!