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    Klik hier om een link te hebben waarmee u dit artikel later terug kunt lezen.Paul's Journey, end of 2nd leg.



    Its Eastern Sunday and I write this from the terrace of the GM’s lodge  in Gisenyi on the Lake Kivu.

    This is really Paradise, the quietness,  its nature, the birds , absolutely fantastic and I enjoy every moment of it.

    I am very thankfull  to those of the brewery that made it possible for me.

    Yesterday, Saturday I visited the brewery here and it recalled many memories from the time in 1991 that I worked there.  Since than I visited he brewery once a year when I was the Accountmanager of the region.

    Of course, some things have changed but not too many since competition is there now and margins are smaller than before.

    Riding over these roads is a treat.  From Kigali I had 155 km through the mountains with continuous bends and hairpins.  Fantastic for a bike rider.  This is the ultimate.  No potholes and hardly any traffic.

    The scenery is often breathtaking with the high hills and very deep valleys, banana and tea plantations.

    It is all so perfect without the usual rubbish ,dirt and plastic that one meets in the other countries, here none of it.  Even the villages and cities are clean like it must be.

    Plastic bags are forbidden since a few years and it seems to help.   Kenia has just started the ban.

    There is not much to report since all goes smooth and I enjoy doing nothing.

    There is a new road to Kibuye , a 85 km south from here along the Lake and so tomorrow I will do a tour to there.  Seems a perfect road.

    When  I worked here we went there with the brewery boat to waterrski in the bay of Kibuye.

    Yesterday I cleaned my airfilter for the first time since Cairo and that was very neccessary.  The desert sand from Egypt and Sudan was there , fieis and other debris.  I should have cleaned it earlier but was too lazy .

    Fortunately I installed another washable type, a K&N filter.  Expensive but worth the investment since I did not spot that anything had leaked  into the engine.

    I cleaned it all out and washed the filter with Dreft, dieid it and resprayed it with a  special sealant that I brought along.

    I leave here on Tuesday 3rd April and will park the bike at the TD ’s house in Kigali and go from there to the airport and head for home .  Will return on the 7th of May and hope the rains will have reduced so to face the bad stretch of road again going to Dodoma in Tanzania .

    From there it will be Zambia, Botwana and finally South Africa.   Wiil , possibly, be in SA around 20th of May.    Goes all too fast.

    Because everything is so good  and perfect here I have nothing further to report and will be back again around the 7th May.  Will let you know by mail so you can pick up reading again.


    Cheers,  Paul.

    01-04-2018 om 15:33 geschreven door Paul Kemp  

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    Hi everyone,


    First of all I have to mention something that I should have mentioned before.

    Since the blog is a public site and anyone can read it I sustain from making statements or opinions on politics, economics, environment etc and I do not put in anybody’s name to avoid offending someone or a local body and end up being accused of it . 


    On Mondaymorning I took off to Kigali and the roads were very good so did a 650km till Ushirombo, a hole in the countryside with a Kigali Hotel but no services.  Beer was there so one worry less but no restaurant. Asked the girl that was there to cook for me, just a chicken with rice and she did.  Gave her money and she took off to somewhere, possibly a market if any.  After some time she was back and I heard a loud chicken noise in the kitchen so she went for a life one since frozen  Brazilian hormone chickens have not yet arrived in this place.  The noise was quickly done and an hour or so later I had my chicken with rice and Beer.

    I slept reasonably well and had no mosquitos since I sprayed the room intensively.

    Next morning I took off at 7 AM for another 400 km to Kigali of which still 230 in Tanzania.

    The road was perfect and I saw signs of STRABAG who are road builders in Africa and I thought this can be a good or a bad sign.  They have either finished the whole stretch or only partly.

    Unfortiunately it was the latter.

    Had 130 km perfect road, 20 km of road works and 80 km of horrendous damaged road that I could not go faster than 10 to 20 km /hr and the bike almost died on the way.  Potholes in all sizes and shapes and after 10  AM one does not see them anymore since the sun goes straight up and there are no shadows.

    You just hit them and wonder whats wrong with my eyes, I just do not see them.

    After 4 gruelling hours with pain in my left arm due to constant use of the cluthch I arrived in Rusumu, the border with Rwanda.   

    All went well apart from the fact that my East African visa for 3 countries had expired, they said, since I went from a member state = Kenia  to Tanzania, thats not and on to Rwanda.  Had to buy a new one for 100 dollars. So what , on such a trip spending money for what you need muust be the least of ones worries.

    The road to Kigali started off quite well and I felt a happy man after the road I had previously.

    However it did not take 30 km and there were the roadworks again but , fortunately it was dry and thus no mud.

    This lasted to entrance Akagera park where Bralirwa grows maize and that I visited twice , also with Linda.

    They have nice tented lodges where you are woken up by fisheagles in the morning when they start greeting eachother or they might have a quarrel like we also do sometimes.

    So that was another 30 km of difficult road and I wondered if I had not locked up myself in Kigali since the heavy rain month will be April till half May.  Of course it can vary and also in intensity.

    I have to ride these same roads back again , a 1000km stretch to Dodoma to get to Zambia.  No other road for me.

    To let the rains pass by I extended my stay at home and thus Iwill fly home on Tuesday 3rd April and come back only on Monday 7th May.  Ample time to revamp my cooking skills and might do a stroll with the Morgan to France / Spain to see some friends and watch   nature waking up after the winter.  

    Hope rains will have lessened and roads are not too muddy when I return here.

    Unfortunately it is  also the road from where all goods to Rwanda go over.  I saw hundreds of lorries and especially all fuel for Rwanda comes from Tanzania over that road.   They damage the roads and make them worse when it rains.

    Anyway I will see what happens and go from there.

    Arriving Kigali was like homecoming cause I always liked it since I was here in 1990 as DT of Gisenyi brewery.  That place  at Lake Kivu is like paradise but rather lonely. We were 3  expats in the brewery and there were some sisters and fathers + 5 Belgian paratroopers  in Gisenyi.  Also had a curfue from 6  PM to 6 AM  and 200 soldiers around  the brewery to protect it from  a possible rebel attack who lived on the slopes of the vulcanos and killed so many gorillas in that time.

    The brewery was  a strategic object since it generates a large portion of the internal revenu through the excise duties.  When the government was short of money they undiscriminately increased these taxes.

    The GM always had a lot of work to settle such problems.

    So I got to Kigali and it was very hot and I did not feel like running in dense traffic with a fire under my butt.  I had identified a hotel downtown .In fact,  I wanted to stay in the Mille Collines where I Aaways used to stay for the brewery visits but is now above budget.

    However I could not find the intended hotel and drove up and down  the streets and while doing that I saw the Mille Collines.  Said, what the heck, I do one night there and will see from there what to do.

    Got to the counter and they offered a promotion for almost half price hence it is not just 1 night, No, I stay here till I go.   Like the place as ever.

    Have not yet been in contact with the brewery so do not yet know if they could store the bike during my absence.  Since it rains evreyday I prefer it to be inside.

    Tomorrow I will see a former collegue who I know from Ethiopia.

    I have another option and that is a underground carpark next to the hotel.  Went threre and they will charge just 80 Euros for 33 days.  Is dry and guarded , a good alternative if need be.

    A visit to Rwanda cannot go without a vist to Giseny and the brewery.  Hope the rains can allow me to go on Friday and return Monday.  Although rains are not the problem.  Have had enough of that in Europe and when I lived in Africa.  A good rainsuit keeps you entirely dry but for me its the state of the road that counts.   I will check tomorrow.

    Its now Wednesday so I might texst again when in Giseny on the shores of Lake Kivu with a nice grilled chicken and a beer.  Eating such chicken at the beach ( yes there are sand beaches ) used to be a challenge since there are big birds ( like Hawks ) flying around and they will snatch your meat from the plate if you loose a bit of attention by turning your head.  They dive and bye bye chicken.

    Giseny is on the border with the DRC and on the other side  is the town Goma that was not so long ago ( approx 15 years ) almost completely covered in lava from the nearby vulcanos.  I thought from the Nyiragongo.  The lava covered the airport and ran through the mainstreet to the lake where it started cooling down which took months.

    It is a magestic sight when you sit on the veranda of the house ( all along the shore ) with the vieuw on the vulcanos = Virunga park and they are working , lightening up the sky when they spit.

    On these vulcanoes are the famous mountain gorillas and I visited them with Linda in 2012.  Fantastic experience but nowadays rather pricy.

    May be I will stay in my former house, now a guesthouse like  Linda and I did in 2012 and 2014.

    Also there in the trees there were , or maybe still are, fish eagles.  However during my time in 1990 I was warned not to go into the garden without a cap or hat since the male of the couple would attack me and seriously scartch my bold head.   Only for bold men since one of my former collegues, also bold and thus called Kojak, was an amateur  photographer and when the eagles had offspring he went up a ladder to the nest to photograph the small ones.  You can imagine that papa did not like that and did not allow him by attacking him.  From that moment all bold men be warned.  Do not know if  they are still there and alive since I talk of 1990.

    I now go to cover my bike with its pyjama that I brought along.  Did not cover yesterday with the hope that the rains would  clean the bike a bit from the worst mud but I think the mud is stronger than the rain.  Its the red mud that is used for brickmaking so gets hard  when it dries.

    Thereafter I go for a beer.  Its beer time !!!

    Cheers,  Paul.

    28-03-2018 om 16:47 geschreven door Paul Kemp  

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    Now Sundayevening I write this from a hotel in Dodoma, the capital of Tanzania.

    Yes, I have done some miles so I will start at the beginning of Saturday 24th.

    After 2 days in that beautiful lodge I had to pack and go again.  Unfortunately the 2 days had rains in the afternoon and the road to the lodge from the main road is only a dirt road so there was some mud when I left.  I almost crwled back to the road  for about one km since I had no urge to go rubbers up again and get more damage.

    Anyway , I made it safely but the clean boots were like before, totally covered in mud.

    I headed for Nakuru since I had planned that and to go further to Uganda from there.   But, since I had cancelled the Uganda/Rwanda trip I decided to drop Nakuru and head for Nairobi and onwards to the border.

    All went well till Nairobi which is not a tiny village but a city that starts at 45 km before reaching the centre.  Luckily It was Saturday so all civil servants do not show up and its a bit more quiet on the road.  Sunday is even better.  

    But badluck struck again by choosing th wrong road and ended up in the melee of downtown Nairobi.  Nice to experience but to ride a hot bike in that heat makes your helmet slip off your head with all the sweat that runs down.  But I got through with the help of some traffic policemen who are very friendly and helpfull.    Got out of Nairobi on the road to the border  with Namanga.

    Soon the road  was for me alone and I flew on.  In the whole of Kenia I have seen hardly any pothole.

    Fine roads and that helps for the confidence.  Of course, I hate these bad stretches as in Ethiopia.

    I reached the border by 2 PM and its a super modern border with all-in 1 building , both  Kenia and Tanzania together.   So it went all very fast and within 1 hr I was on the road again.   I wanted to take a hotel at the border but the customs officers said to go to Arusha at another 100 km.

    Did so and it was a good thing.   On the way along Kilimanjaro  through the Serengeti I met a herd of approx 20 Girafs and a large herd of zebras.   All next to the road and it was as if you could touch them.

    Those 100 km were quickly done this way and very pleasantly.   Arriving Arusha I had no idea for a hotel but the tourist lodges can be very pricy so I was carefull.  Found a big hotel and I was the only customer.

    Wonder how they survive.   So I got all the attention of the personnel and enjoyed the beer, the super mixed grill and the SA wine.  What more do you want after a good 400 kms ?

    All was not that clean and on the way to the toilet in the night I met some crawling creatures that we call cockroaches and I greated them since they reminded me of my years  living in Africa and sometimes battling with large cockroach families that invaded the house at night  with a favour for the towels and hence they jumped out and ran down my back when I used the towel.  Funny feeling but women do not really appreciate that and so I always fought with these animals that hide during the day in the septic tanks of the houses.

    Did not sleep that great but felt fine so I took off at 8 AM to Dodoma at 400 kms and I was there before 2 PM.    Plenty hotels and chose a simple one but it has good wifi, a restaurant, looks clean and has cold Heineken.

    The trip went that fast since I rode one of th nicest roads I ever travelled in Africa.  A brandnew road through the hills and valleys of the Rift  and not a soul or animal to be seen.  I enjoyed every second of it and it was a pity I ended up so quick in Dodoma.

    Reaching Dodoma I wondered what to do.

    2 options I have and thats to continue to Zambia and on to SA but I will do that within 10 days and that was not my plan.

    With these nice roads here in Tanzania I can also bend to Rwanda and return to the Original plan but not coming from Uganda but from Tanzania to Rwanda.

    Took the decision and so I will take off tomorrow to Kigali which is good for a 1000 kms.

    If the road is good It will take me 2 days, but rain and traffic can prolonge that.  No hurry.

    Hope the food is good tonight and that I sleep well.

    Tiil next.

    25-03-2018 om 16:55 geschreven door Paul Kemp  

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    Hi everyone,


    Marsabit in the morning of Thursday 22nd was really depressive with heavy clouds into town and drizzle.

    Wondered if that was for the day.  

    Took off at 8 AM and an hour later going downhill into very flat but rocky land I dove into the Sunshine and warmed up lke a coldblooded animal.

    For 250 km there seemed to be nothing although when one looks well there is more than the eye can see.

    STill everywhere are people and in this cae I saw huts of nomads that wonder around with their camels, cattle , sheep and goats.  Such herds can be quite numerous and they are  often the rich people.

    The women wear golden shells in their ears and have amber necklaces as well as silver armbands.

    Wonder where they get their water from since its as dry as St Nicholas a….!

    The riding was great, brandnew road and not a soul to  see.  Saw one bus and 2 landcruisers passing by so I enjoyed myself.  Still when its quiet like that one should never loose attention as always since animals can dive up from behind rocks and potholes can always occur or oil on the road from an accident.  Yes, even on a deserted straight road one sees vehicles turned over as if it was put there on purpose.

    After that arid area till Isiolo It became more like Kenia and it became more beautifull by the km.

    I ended up right on the equator in Nanyuki and drove another 6 km to a lodge that I had booked.  Marvelous place with new lodges, fine cuisine, cold beer, huge bed etc, so I enjoy myself after the ….holes in Ethiopia nad Northern Kenia.

    I am now here for the second day and it just rained cats and dogs or more elephants and hippos.  Heavy rain coming from Mount Kenia.  Also yesterday It rained heavily.

    I must realise that it becomes the heavy rainy season and I will enter right in the middle of it in Uganda and Rwanda.

    Seen the problems with the bike , the possible bad roads in Uganda, the heavy rains everywhere  I decided to-day not to make the detour to Uganda and Rwanda but go straight to Tanzania via Nairobi, Arusha on to Dodoma, Mbeya, Zambia.

    To morrow I still go to Nakuru and Sunday around Nairobi towards the border with Tanzania.

    Will see how far I get since the rains might come up and I do not want to ride in such heavy showers and on slippery roads.  Have all the time in the world.

    My homegoing from Kigali is thus also cancelled and I will see when I hit Lusaka and possibly fly home for 2 weeks from there.

    In that time rains start to disappear in the Southern part and on return I will have no more of that till after the winter in October , a time that I should have left SA either home or elsewhere.

    Depends on the state of the  bike , although it can be repaired in SA or I buy another one and ship it out to the next continent that I want to explore.

    Hope it all works out well and that the bike will hold .  I turn thumbs for that.

    Till next talk.

    All the best.

    23-03-2018 om 14:11 geschreven door Paul Kemp  

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    Back again

    But it took a few days for various reasons that you will read from here.

    Its now Thursdayafternoon and I am actually in a beautiful lodge at the feet of  Mount Kenia near Nanyuki right on the equator.  Yes,  done some miles since Sunday and it almost all went well .

    Let’s start Monday 19th.

    Took off from Awasa where I had that nice Godolias hotel with a very good bed so slept ok.

    Soon outside Awasa roadworks began and they did not stop for 160 km’s.  It was a gruelling day with a road without tarmac but stones on the slopes of the hills and mud in the lower parts.  And it was sticky red mud from which the locals make bricks to build walls and houses.

    Of course after several hours of struggling with the bike I fell in the mud. The tyres were full and turned into slicks without any grip.  So I lay there with the bike on the right hand side and I could feel to be covered by the mud.   Onlookers were plentfull and after I crawled up they helped me to get the bike straight after which I took off again and fullfilled the 160 km’s.  It seemed never to end.

    Than suddenly I had a brandnew road in front of me all the way to Yabelo for another 150 km’s.

    It was a super treat and I rode like a madman.

    Unfortunately the fall has damaged the bike further. Already In Egypt the footboard plate broke off from the frame but it also holds the rearbrake and the lower attachment of the engine guard.  Now the latter has no more stenght on the lower end so when I fell the E guard bent backwards and is out of line.

    Brake still works but I fear for another time “ rubbers up “  and it could be end of journey.

    Again that day i was amazed with the huge number of young people just roaming along the road, doing nothing apart from jelling at me.  Seems none have work and I wonder what they are gonna do with the doubling of numbers within the next 30 yrs.

    I foresee disaster.  Millions of them will run North so better  prepare.

    Actually there were problems in Ethiopia with the Oromia people.  Not just a smal tribe but a total of 36 million people who live south of Addis.  They are not happy with the government who seems unwilling to take them seriously so they strike and paralyse the country by blocking the roads.  This happened  on the 5th, 6th and 7th March.  Luckily this was noticed by my travelagent who switched those days to the North iso Harar and that was a good decision otherwise we would have been stuck in Harar for 3 days.

    The government says all is under control but further actions might come including setting the petroltankers coming from Sudan to Gondar ablaze.  May be you remember I noticed so many burned out tankers on that road but could not know the cause.   Now it seems it happened before .

    Also the government blocked the internet in the Oromia area and so I had none for several days.

    In Yabelo I went to the only motel around but it was no luxury for 44 dollars.  Dirty and infested with mosquitos, holes in the mosquito net and windows that cannot be clssed.  I sprayed alomost a whole can but was still attacked in the night while it does not favour a good night rest.

    Ok, the omelet and the coffee in the morning were ok so I took off at 8 AM to Moyale , the bordertown between ETH and Kenia.  The town is real Oromia area so the guide we had kept me uptodate by Phone on the political situation since last week 10  Oromia people were shot down in Moyale by security forces that are sent there to do the job.  They are from another ethic and do not speak the same language.

    You always see that when troubles arise in Africa and their own brothers must stop them and shoot them.  Always another tribe.

    In Moyale I set myself up in the Koket Borena hotel.   Again very basic , bit cleaner than the previous one and the food was good and the beer was cold so what else  do you want.  Yes, a good night sleep, but again the airforce was around and the net very porous with holes as big as tennisballs.

    Of course, I survived but did not feel really fresh on Wednesdaymorning and it was not the beer !!

    Drove to the border and there all went smooth both on ETH and Kenia side.

    It all took approx 1,5 hours so by 10 AM I hit the road to Marsabit, once one of the most notorious roads in the world and that’s only 2 years ago.    See Youtube for horrible movies about that road from Moyale to Marsabit or reverse.

    Now it is a highway and there was nobody on that road apart from the animals.

    I flew to Marsabit in 3 hrs for 250 km’s.     Great riding in a beautiful landscape.

    Arrived Marsabit at 13.30 hrs and found a place to sleep.   Did not want to continue since rain was on the way and the next hotel too far in Isiolo.

    I booked into the Imperial hotel but I wonder why its called that way.  Nothing Imperial was to be noticed or seen.

    But it was clean and the food was good.  Had a favourite and that’s fried goat meat.  Very tasty and you must chew that meat, not suck like the saltwater injected meat in Europe.

    All was available in town, money from an ATM ( flappetap ) and fuel from Shell.

    The town is surrounded by big vulcano craters and they are so well intact that it looks as if they still worked recently.

    The wheather was cold and wet so I did not walk far and hallelujah,a deception.  NO BEER !!

    The hotel had also a mosque so beer is not allowed.

    Since I am not a muslim I crossed the road to Jim’s liquor store and bought some Tusker’s that I gulped happily away in my room.   Of course the cans were wrapped in newspaper like you see in all Muslim countries like Algeria and Egypt.

    Fell asleep  by 08.30 PM  since there was nothing to see, experience or to talk to, just nothing.

    Tomorrow I continue.

    22-03-2018 om 14:31 geschreven door Paul Kemp  

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    Klik hier om een link te hebben waarmee u dit artikel later terug kunt lezen.Paul's Journey, 2nd leg.



    As mailed to you I took off on Saturday  17th to the brewery to collect the bike.   All was in order in spite of finding rat droppings on the saddle.   I know from experience that they like the wiring since I found once an earlier HD  version in 1986 in Lusaka, after my leave, with bitten plastics on the ground and a tail hanging from the headlamp.  I found a whole nest in it and was not happy to have to rewire all that was consumed.

    Now I tried the electrics and all was working, so no damage.

    Changed the oil which after only 5000 km was as black as coal.  Normally the change is at 8000 km but I thought it better to do that now since I am going to hit the hight temps in Southern Ethiopia, Kenia and Uganda.  I bring the oil from Belgium in my luggage which is not allowed but I think its not a crime in itself. The bike was even allowed to have some fuel in it when flying to Cairo.

    When I removed the oilfilter with a special wreng cause it is in a horrible place I slipped and cut my little left finger.  It looked as if , after a while,there was more blood than oil splasihing around.  The bleeding is a good thing since it prevents bacreria from coming in.  Went to the clinic to have it cleaned and treated and after that it was fine.   Needless to say that I have to watch it everyday in this climate but the wound is now already closed.  Thanks for that.

    After the service I drove with a taxi as navigator to the west of Addis to a hotel to take off on Sunday early to Awasa via the old road that was said to be better than the usual Modjio road.  We drove the latter back from the Bale Mountains and it was not great and had a mile of road works with so much dust that on a bike this can be very dangerous.  The dust does not go well with the eyes.

    Therefore the old road choice over Tuya and on to Ziway where it joins the Modjo road to Shashemene.

    The recommneded hotel was a disaster and the worst of all hotels I had in Ethiopia.   A bed as hard as a plank so my hips are not happy with me.  They get already battered everyday in the saddle from the bumpy roads and they do their work since 1949.

    Food  a disaster, bathroom a dirty, smelly hole and no light to be able to read anything.

    Hence I thanked Booking , in my own way, for the recommendation

    This morning I took off at 7.00 to find first fuel because the further you get away from the capital the less fuel is available.

    I have 3 extra cans , total, 14 liters so in grand total 33 liters  which is good for 650 km and if I do not speed as a fool it goes over 700 km.

    In fact 2 are cans and one is a water bag made from strong canvas that is known among overlanders as usuable for fuel also.  So far no leaks and its not yet dissolved.  Handy to store since its partly pliable with the fuel inside.

    Took off to the old road and only after 2 km hit a road work of a mile while it had rained the evening before.   Helleluyah, mud all over the place and this red laterite clay sticks like the best glue or comparable to starch.  A HD weighing 500 kg with round profile road tyres is not the handiest machine to get through that mud.  I feared for gettting stuck or just slipping away which happens at too low speed.  So put a bit speed up and it all becomes even more dangerous since braking is a no go.  I have to hold my feet almost on the ground , in case off, and have only the front brake that one should nerver use in these circumstances.   I almost fell when my right foot hit a large rock but I could balance it out.

    At a moment I saw that the other most left  side of the road was drier and I managed to cross but met directly another threat.  The upcomng traffic has no mercy since II am on the wrong side.  They will never slow down or give way so you better watch it wich I did and finally got out. 

    Thanks to the one who recommended this road.

    After this thrilling start whereby I took quite some mud on the bike and myself along it was not a good road but few traffic and that helps to avoid the potholes, donkeys, cows and goats.  They are predictable for me but certainly not people who cross only when they see me coming.

    After 5 hours for 280 km (not bad ) I hit my target Awasa at 12.30 hrs and found a very, very good hotel for the same price as the bad one. Just 30 dollars.   Super clean hotel and well maintaned and a super nice soft bed so my hips get a treat coming night and can rest to be ready for some bumping again tomorrow.  Plan to reach Yabelo at 310 km and just 200 km from the border town of Moyale which is for Tuesday.

    Forecast for tomorrow is  thunderstorms but, generally, these come in the afternoon and I might reach Yabelo before 14.00 hrs.  I have rain gear but it all becomes more risky.

    I informed you that I would not have Internet for the remaining days in Southern Ethiopia.  Reason be that it is disconnected for reasons that I will not explain in e-mail.  Only Awasa is a different zone and hence I have Internet here.  Certainly not in Yabelo and Moyale.  Will come back on this once having internet across the border into Kenia.

    Hope to have a good night sleep and a good dinner which is almost due  so good bye for now and will be back in cyberspace when possible.


    Cheers and all the best.


    18-03-2018 om 16:05 geschreven door Paul Kemp  

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    Hi dear readers,


    Yes, I am home in the metropole of Bost and its a good feeling.

    Although on Monday I was still riding in the heat to the brewery and yesterday I did already some shopping at AH since I certainly needed a haring, pindakaas and stroop wafels + ingredients for my favourite Indonesian dishes and all within 18 hours from eachother.

    So I was allowed to parc the bike in the brewery where they emptied a container for me which, of course, I appreciate enormously.  If you parc it somewhere and still have your doubts about its safety it is a source for sleepless nights. 

    What would I do without it on this trip ?   The bike is the axle where it all turns around so I have to treat it like a baby with utmost care.

    For that reason I went this morning to my HD dealer in Geel ( 60 km from here ) to tell tham that the bike had performed to utmost satisfaction and about the ailments with the broken plate and loose windscreen.  Also I had questions about how to clean the special K&N airfilter, oil change in the bush  and the making of the skidplate for underneath ( anti stone protection for the sump and oiltank ).

    Bought 4 liters of HD engine oil , 20W50. To  be take nto Addis and change the oil before taking off.

    Already its better to do that while still in the brewery for when something goes wrong or in need for a tool or something else.    Safer than doimg it in the bush.

    Normally one changes the oil at 8000km but now after 5300 km it looks like tar because of the hard conditions it went through, so better to change it now.  The wheather ahead is going to be hot in Kenia, Uganda and Rwanda so I am cautious about it.

    My time here till 2nd march is filled with usual activities like everyday shopping, cooking, going to the dentist,new  reading glasses,  meeting friends and family but on top of that my birthday on the 21st, Linda’s 60 th  birthday on the 26 and the awaiting of the birth of Linda’s granddaugther due for around the 15th Feb.

    From the 2nd  of March till 16th Linda and I will tour Ethiopia in the northern part.  Doing both N and S is too much for 12 days.  May be we also visit Harar,  the old walled city with the hyenas in the streets at night.  

    I have requested a travel bureau in Addis to put an itinerary together for those 12 days and it will come end of this week.  Curious to see what they will propose.

    Linda flies back on the 17th march early morning and I will go to the bike to do the service , load up and do my first leg to Asela at only 160 km from Addis.     Will tell why once I go.

    The next part of the trip is to Rwanda from where I will,,again, go home for a good 2 weeks.  Its only approxx 3000 km but it will be the wet part.

    When you do Africa from North to South you will always meet the Tropical Conversion Zone wich is the rainbelt that goes up and down Africa with the changing seasons.   It is approxx 1000 km in width from N to S  and the lenght is the width of Africa from W to East or in reverse.

    It goes up from below the equator from  approx March to October and down to under the equator  from approx Oct to March.

    It now starts to move from Southern Africa ( = SA, Zim, Zambia, Angola) up to DRC, Tanzania , Rwanda, Uganda, Kenia, Ethiopia.

    Thus ,I go south from Ethiopia in mid March to Kenia, Uganda and Rwanda and I will meet the rain belt , TCZ, in those countries.  In general the rains fall in the afternoon so I will adjust the daytrips to early morning  till around 2 pm.  Enough anyway .   The roads might not be  so good with those rains .

    After my next stop in Rwanda and going back on the road to Tanzania on the 1st May the TCZ has moved so far up that Tanzania will be dry again.  Same for the whole of Southern Africa  that will enjoy winter from that moment.   The riding will than move to midday to avoid the cold mornings and the  riding in the dark after 5pm.

    During the 4 weeks that I crossed Egypt, Sudan and half Ethiopia I had my dark moments due to difficult conditions like the horrible accommodation in the dirty lakandas but I went on by saying , Paul, this is what you wanted so you got it now and have to deal with all you meet.   I did and got where I wanted to be, in fact, 10 days earlier than expected.

    But now that it’s all behind me you start to remember the pleasant moments and forget about the difficult ones and that’ s good.   Keep up the morale for the next challenge.

    Sjaak Lucassen ( ) told me that problems do not exist on such a trip, only challenges.   Look what he did and is planning for next. 


    As stated before the blogs will now reduce to very low levels till 18th March.  May be one per week for the Sundaymorning when Linda is still asleep and  I have collected the pistolekes from the bakery and have time left befor e the late breakfast.


    Yes, regarding Linda.  The weekend after I left she went to see one of her sisters in Antwerp and stayed  overnight cause I was not there to keep her warm anyway.

    As usual at home she went for her 10 km run in the morning but , of course, in unknown terrain.

    At one moment she got stuck in a large rope hidden in fallen leaves and fell hitting her elbow on the hard surface.   In the beginning she thought it was not so bad but the next day she had a big operation here in Tienen to rebuild her arm with steel plates and half a hardware store in srews.  

    That store earns good money on her since last year she had the same thing with her collarbone that broke in pieces after falling with the course bike and now has 13 SS screws.  You can see the heads from outside.

    During my trip she never told me about it which I must appreciate since I do not know what I would have done.  It was also during my darkest moments in the South of Egypt so I , possibly, would have gone home and than you do not know what will you do next.  Go back or call it off.

    So, I am  now grateful she did not mention.   Of course, other super good people helped her where and when they  could so she was in good hands.   Thanks for that !!


    Till next readings.

    07-02-2018 om 18:08 geschreven door Paul Kemp  

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    Hello readers,


    Have hit already Addis Abeba and have , finally, found a good, normal hotel as I am used to.   Hopefully the wifi works ok so I can upload the blog to-day being Thursday 1st Feb.

    Last one was Sunday 28th Jan at the Mayleko lodge in Gondar.  It was reasonable and my opinion was different from the halleluja remarks in the guestbook.  Often made by rather ignorent  tourists who like anything different from home even if it is as unpleasant as can be. 

    Those tourisst see a country from a bus ( cocon )  , surrounded by a whole group of peers and protected by an organisation and guides.  They meet only people who know that the tourists will drop money and thus they are all friendly.

    For me that is totally different.  Travelling on my own I have to mix with the locals and do what they do, look for shelter, look for food, look for fuel etc hence I am very much vulnerable and they know that.  Than you notice that the locals are not always that friendly ,especially the teeners and twentiers.   The elderly show respect but not the young ones.  Than the very young ones, they roam the streets in gangs and  appoach you agressively for money.  Ones you do not give anything, they throw stones, even while riding.  I have read and heard of overlanders, travelling by bike, car or bicycle and being harrassed and stoned on many occasions while the parents were laughing at a distance.  Therefore I meet overlanders who love Ethiopia and others who hate it.   Yesterday I got a stone against my arm but the thick leather jacket protects me , same for the helmet and front screen.

    It is amazing to see the number of youth gangs  hanging around everywhere and doing nothing just looking for an opportunity to go into, like an old overlander on a big bike stopping in front of them and being vulnerable.  Once I was tempted to give one a proper knock in the face since he was very agressive but , fortunately , the traffic moved on and problem solved.

    Therefore I hate riding in  these traffic jams in a large city like Addis Abeba or the larger towns where traffic often comes to a standstill at markets and busstations, both at the official ones but more at those famous unofficial stops which can be anywhere.

    I wonder what the future will bring for these youngsters.  I think that sooner or later these gangs will turn violent against any possible money source.   Let’ s watch it , I am sure to be right.


    Anyway, nothing thrilling happened in Gondar.  Went to buy an SIM card and looked for an Insurance company for a Yellow card but they did not speak English and all failed.  Tomorrow I go here in Addis  to get one, if they understand what I want.


    From Gondar I wanted to go slow to Addis in 3 days for 800 km.   First to Bahir Dar at 188 km.   I hit BD by 10.30 after a beauty of a road.  Super steering through the bends over the hills and mountains up to 3500 m high on a perfect new tarmac.  Can’t be better !

    So I hit the throttle and went 200 km further at Debre Markos and found a grumpy hotel but manageable.

    Slow wifi but was  able to change my return flight to Brussels and pay the company. 

    That road was also good but older so watch for the occasional bad holes and sudden disastrious speed humps, too high to go over but they are in sections so I can drive in between , but only when you see them in time and I almost failed.   Hitting one means flying off the bike and hoping that all will turn out well but I doubt that.

    Therefore I tell myself constantly not to ride as in Europe but this  is Africa.  Slow down and survive or  else….!

    Yesterday , Tuesday I took off by 07.30  for 300 km to Addis.  The first 100 km were fine but than hell broke loose.  I came to the edge of a plateau and looked down where I could not see the bottom of the valley.  At least a km in height to go down by mountain roads, steep and only dirty hairpins.  But that’s no trouble for me, the Stelvio is my friend, but here the tarmac was transformed into a lunapark.  Deep cuts by the lorries and tarmac pushed up in the bends, broken tarnac, big stones to fill the holes , etc.  It was unbelieveable.  Of course the heat in summer breaks a new road up immediately with overloaded lorries going up  and down.

    So I went slowly down and it was steep,  I put the bike in neutral, why,  to safe fuel,  I was low on fuel and nowhere a fuelstation and I did not foresee anyone soon.  Also I did not know once being in the valley what would be next, a nice flat road out of the vallley or grimping up the  mountain on the other side with the same height, bends and bad, very bad road.   I had to guess but did not dare.

    I just concentrated on the going down job and that was enough.  Felt sorry again for the bike and had to be carefull not to hit a  high stone with my engine sump or low lying oilpan which are unprotected.. My 1980 HD had an engine guard underneath since not all roads in the US were tarred but now they do not have it anymore.   Stupid of me not to make one.  I will  do now when I am in Holland after measuring the bike here.  I will have a alu plate cut with some slots to fix it with hoseclamps to the frame tubes.  Better that than nothing.   Sure I will meet more stones on the way.


    Anyway, I was coming down the mountain with lorries going very slow so no problem but those damned busses fly anywhere.  Carefull  Paul !!

    Once I hit the bottom of the valley there was nothing, no village no fuel , just nothing.

    Soon I noticed that  I did not go out of the valley the low way but again , as feared , straight up the other side with the same conditions, but now also lorries at standstill which cannot make it and block everything.  In that case a bike is an advantage since I only need one track.

    I also feared for my fuel since going up a mountain with more than half a ton in weight takes some fuel so I did it very carefully and not to many revs to keep the consumption under control.  Also the altitude will consume more fuel.

    I got up the mountain meeting monkeys and , halleluja,  a bit better road donated by the Japaneese.

    Thanks them for that !!

    Now I was on a high plateau again and hoped for no more valleys but only for fuel.

    No station I met had benzin so I had to find it the African way.  I stopped by a Tuk Tuk and asked the driver for fuel.  He said nothing, no fuel in town.  Than I asked him for the jerrycan fuel station and he asked if I had money.  After confrirmation he took off and I followed.  He brought me to the end of the village to an unfinished building as you see all over Afica and he shouted whereafter a man came out with a jerrycan and sold me 5 liters of clean fuel for one dollar a liter.  3X the price but still just a dollar for one.

    I took off and through good and bad roads I approached Addis and found fuel at 25 km before Addis having left about a quater of a litre , not enough to reach Addis but again I was saved by the bell.

    On the way I had one problem that I wanted to pee but you get no chance to find a lonely spot to do it.

    There is just no 10 meters without a person along the road and that for 300 km.  The moment you stop immediately they come out from the woodwork and start staring at you or like the very young ones asking for money.  Bad sign !!

    I think those stupid  tourists in those buses  give these nice little brown eyed kids what they look for and spoii them all along.

    For Addis I had planned to set me up in the Taitu hotel,  See their site which looks better than reality.

    Its the oldest in town and it shows  Must have been a pleasant Majestic place once but not anymore.

    Now derelict and run down completely.  I feared for many cockroaches but did not see one.

    I took a room since the bad roads had worn me out , especially the left arm that controls the non hydraulic  clutch, just an oldfashioned cable to pull on..  Makes you Biceps like in the gym !!

    I had some geaorgeous Wahlias and an undercooked pizza and no tele or proper wifi and the place was deserted by 20.00 hrs so I hit the sack at 20.30 and slept well until some noisemakers woke me up at 04.30 AM.. Still did almost 8 hrs of sleep and that’s a lot for me.

    I told the reception woman that I would stay if it was nice but go if it was nio and so I went.

    Booked with the smartphone another hotel closer to the airport and more expensive at 65 dollars a day.  Must be better.

    And it is.  Nice hotel with good wifi that needed VPN and was installed by the porter, a young lad, who was willing to help the old  helpless baba .  Works great.

    I had planned to fly home on the 15th Feb  and return 2nd March with Linda for a 2 weeks holiday here , not with the bike but car, plane or other.

    Now I am here already the 1st.  I changed my flight to  next week iso the 15th  straight to Brussels with ETH.  Nice 9 hrs flight direct.

    But I have to parc the bike somewhere.     I contacted my former collegue who has built this brewery while I was Account Manager also for Ethiopia.

    He has built it and now continues enlarging it since sales seem to boom.

    He said he would ask the brewery manager who I know quite well since I had to interview him for this job.

    But all works out well and they allow me to parc the bike in the brewery, possibly, in a containerr.  I will Phone the Installation manager tonight to work out when and where.

    So I will rest here to go home Mondaynight and come back only on the 2nd with Linda.

    She flies back home the 17th and I will continu my journey as from that moment to Kenia and so on.

    May be one more blog and than I stop it till second half of March.

    I find it sometimes a pity to write in English since it is not my motherlanguage.  In Dutch I can express myself much better to make statements, jokes or other wise.   But , of course, I do it for my English spaeking friends who are not fluent in Dutch.

    I also need some new reading glasses .  These HEMA ones I use now are too old and overdue.

    On the other hand glasses must be cheap since i eat them, sit on them, loose them etc.

    Am now very thursty but I have a little fridge on my right hand side and without getting up I have a Wahlia at hand, no glass please and  prosit  and till the next one.


    02-02-2018 om 00:00 geschreven door Paul Kemp  

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    Hello Back in the Blog.


    It is now Sunday and I am sitting in the Mayleko  Lodge in Gondar,  Ethiopia.  Yes, a bit further than anticipated but, you know, once I go its hard to stop.   Only tiredness is a killer and will stop me.

    Also I was curious how it would be at the border.  Hopefully no horrible procedural nonsens again.  Have had enough of that.

    On Friday I still wanted to stay resting in Khartoum but on that morning I looked out of the window at 7 and saw no traffic.  Hey, its week end here. They go to the mosque.   A good day to ride with less traffic and so I took off at 8.30 to Wad Madani at 188.  That was my plan, nice short 3 hr drive .   No I get there and it was onky 11.30.

    Decision was fast, PULL the throttle and go for the next 236 to Gedaref.

    Road was ok, enough fuel  and no troubles.  I arrived there at 15.30 hrs.   Search for the “ BEST “ hotel in town and found the El Watemaliki.  Big old east european style block .   Hardly any guests and only chicken to eat again.   Nicely charcoaled so no stomach problems.

    The next day Saturday I took of for the 160 km to the border.  70 km was excellent, next 50 km was horrendous and I felt so sorry for the bike everytime I did not see a bloody pothole.   It wears you out also but you cannot get careless.  The bike might break in 2 if you hit a big one at speed.

    I arrive at the very busy border not with people crossing but just hanging around, possibly looking for a stupid like me and ripp me off.  But they do not know me and very quickly notice that there’s no chance for that.  Also all my valuables are packed on my body so they should cut me up to get to it.

    Another rule is to have , at least, your CC and cash + passport on your body so you can go anywhere if and when neccessary. More important than your underwear , I say.

    On the Sudanese side I was directed to a hut for the customs.  They checked chassis nr and engine nr, looked a bit in the luggage and signed the Carnet de Passage.  15 minutes and off to Immigration and security.  No problems , all-in order and 15 min later I had a stamped PP and off to the Ethiopian side.


    Directed first to immigration.  Also in a shed you do not want to keep your pigs in and just as dirty.

    2 young chaps helped me and stamped the PP within 5 minutes. Holland and football always works.    Van Basten and Gullit for the elderly and Robin van P.and Robbe for the yoiung ones .  Off to the other side of the road with even more gruelling accommodations for customs.  Nice young lady helped me to fill the Carnet while she said that it is not really required in ETH.  I checked that later in the list of countries and she was right.  Now I have to have it stamped again at the exit in Moyale.

    She checked all bike numbers, luggage and after 15 minites I took off into Ethipia.  I can tell you I was happy that  the border s… t. as at Wadi Halfa was over.   Both sides within an hour.   Super !!


    Had planned to go to Gondar since there is no hotel before that.  Was rather worn out , because of some border stress and the road to G seemed endless.  But the riding was great, nice mountain roads like in the heart of Spain.   The winding roads and with good tarmac.   Hardly any traffic but many fuel lorries.  I saw six fuel combinations, that is lorry + trailer completely burned out and not long ago.

    Wonder wich side they carry the fuel, to or from Sudan or just for the border town. 

    Approaching the town you get the usual increase of people on the road but more than that are the animals roaming on the road.  You must be very carefull not to hit a cow, goat, dog or sheep.  The people seem to live all along such road.  Going to Addis this might be confirmed.  You just ride all the way through towns.  In fact in Belgium is the same .  Houses are built there all  along a Steenweg.


    I had booked a lodge that, I thought , was on the entrance to town.  Could not find it, traffic was horrible with all those tuk tuks that jump like flies.  I asked a student for a good hotel with wifi.  He directed me up a hill to the Goha hotel and I put me up there.  Good choice but wifi mediocre .   Beautifull  view over the city.

    I decided to move to the lodge that I had booked for 1st Feb and drove to the road back to the border.  Google Maps showed as if it was there.  Went for 30 km on that beautifull road and did not find it.  Rode back to the junction south of Gondar and asked a police woman who directed me nicely on the parallel road to the airport and 2 km further found  the lodge.  Less impressive than they show it on the site.

    Wifi was off since there was no power.  They asked for 90 dollars while B. com indicated 45 dollars for a standard room.

    They called the woman owner in Addis and she agreed for me to have a luxury room for 70 and I agreed.  Wifi is back now so I can enjoy myself with the laptop.

    Tomorrow I go for an insurance card, so called yellow card like our green card for all the coming countries up to SA.   Handy but no value since an accident is a matter of cash. But I must have an Insurance to avoid hassle at a police roadblock.

    Also needed a local SIM card and biscuits cause the ones from AH are finished.   Stll a pot of Calve but the Kanjer stroopwafels ended today.   Pity, I love them and give plenty energy together with a real coca cola.

    Plan is to ride on as from Tuesday for the 750 km to Addis in 3 days, maybe.

    To be continued.


    One other thing that has really struck me all along from Cairo to the Sudanese border  with Ethiopia is the plastics everywhere , hanging in huge quantities on anything it can cling to.   Every bush, tree, fence, pole, grass is litered with plastic hanging on it.   Most towns dumb their refuse outside the town somewhere in the desert and put it on fire.  That smell you meet at every town and city depending on the wind and I hate it.

    Wonder what the future will bring because this is not going to stop.  It will get worse.

    Let’s see how Ethiopia deals with this refuse and the other countries to follow.


    It is 16.05 hrs, its  nice and warm and my mouth is dry like sandpaper.  High time for a Wahlia.



    28-01-2018 om 00:00 geschreven door Paul Kemp  

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    Hi everybody,


    It’s now Thursday 25th Jan and I am in Khartoum since yesterday.  In my earlier blog I had stated that I would be staying in Atbarah for an extra day but in the evening of  Tuesday I looked around and got the creeps of that hotel and dirty room with another horrible bathroom smelling after all that goes through.

    it.   Told myself , if I can get holsd of petrol wednesdaymorning I am off to Shendi = hafway to Khartoum.

    Indeed, I found petrol before 9 and took off to Shendi.  The road was no comparison to the desert roads, much more traffic, mainly lorries and long disatnce busses and therefore a much more bumpy one with the occasional bad stretches and dangerous potholes.   However I flew through since with a bike one can avoid a pothole while with a car you avoid one on the left side but hit one on the right side.

    The lorries did behave reasonably correct sine they are heavily loaded and can’t go fast and manouvre quickly.  On the contrary those busses you must watch out for.  They drive like mad and do not see any other road user.  As a bike I try to stay away from them since I am no match except for speed.

    They are just ludicrous as many bus drivers around the world, even those from “ De Lijn”  in Belgium drive like mad with , often, no passengers inside so why the hurry ?

    I arrived at Shendi at 11 AM already and felt good so I pulled the throttle and continued to Khartoum that I reached by 14.00 hrs.   It was 30 C and the bike did not like the slow traffic.while my underworld was also cooked or fired.   Quicly went to the area where i had seen hotels on a map and found The Regency, an old English heritage where , since that time, not much has changed or was maintained.

    I do not disloke such old hotels provided its clean and not smelling after wet and rotten carpets and  leaking bathrooms.   Not the case, quite acceptable so I dove in.  Rather tired from those  4 days of suffering.     I ate like a dockworker , nice  veggie sprigrolls, lambcutlets and fruitsalad.   Was nicely filled up.  Went to bed by 10 Pm but had problems to catch sleep since my room was next to the disco of the neighbours.   Noise till 1 Am and after that I slept irregularly.  Could also be from the withdrawelsymptoms of no alc in Sudan.  Who knows ?

    Khartoum is the usual big, dusty, hectic city with traffic jams all day through so I have the bike parked in front of the hotel entrance because the manager wants to show it off and I will not move it until I leave on a nice cool morning which is good for the bike.  The town reminds me of Kaduna in Nigeria.

    I was told in Wadi Hakfa, only on my 2nd visit for the lost paper,  that In Khartoum I had to register again at the  airport.  So this morning I took off with a completely rotten taxi to the airport.   Once there I found some officials and asked about the registration.  They brought me to an office with a man in uniform with lots of gold stars on it.  He and also the others looked as if I was from outer space and as if I was the first one to do this while I know that all overlanders do this.  Strange feeling and agian I was told there was a problem.  I belivee its the word they know best or is  their  only Engllish one.  My reply was for them to solve it since I KNOW NOTHING,  QUE ?!!

    I had to go to other offices at another airport and an office in town. Told them I would not do this without somebody from them to come with me.  It is their  cooked up nonsens, right ?

    And yes a big guy in uniform without stras or stripes went with me to a building at about 100 meters .  Witioin 15 minutes all was done, I paid 535 SDG = 40 dollars and I had another stamp and sticker in my PP.   But before that they had produced again 5 papers and 4 copies of , God knows what, before the sticker was issued.  Fortunately I did not get all those papers to carry again.   Where did they learn this absolute useless way of administration.   I think its to keep people at work otherwise they roam the streets.

    Now back in the hotel I do this blog and look out for lunch ( without a nice cold beer ).

    For the rest I chill, make coipies of the papers I need for the Sudan / Ethipian border and enjoy my crackers with pindakaas, yes , all still from Belgium same as my dutch stroopwafels.  Trick is to take enough to your liking and not eat them all at once.

    I  had  the plan to stay till Monday but I am now already down to leaving Saturday but to cut the km’s to the border in 3 piececs of approx 250 each.   Hope the hotels are not of the sort that I had before geting here.


    One thing that has struck me since the border with Egypt and that is the high number of cow skeletons along the road in various stages of decay, from fresh to real skeleton.  This is because Egypt has almost a continues supply through  Wadi Halfa from within Sudan.  I met a cattle trader in Abu Simbel who had just struck a deal for a 1000 cows in one go.   That is approx 25 full trailers with 40 cows each on it , standing loose so they fight, fall over and die on the long journey in the scoring heat.  Quite a number do not survive and they are thrown out of the lorries on the raod side so one gets a constant  rotten smel and  death aroma in the mouth.  Do not eat your lunch along the road side cause the flieis will also come for you.

    The cows are not allowed to enter Egypt alive so they are slaughtered  on arrival in Abu Simbel.  I have seen many ways of slautering cows, sheep and horses in Africa and one must have a steel stomage to watch that.  I would not like to see that place of carnage in Abu Simbel.  Not one of those cows want to die while they smell the blood of those already gone.   They have never felt a rope so will fight like hell and they are big with very dangerous horns that cut you open when they  attack you.  I know the  African solution for this  but will not explain that in this blog.    In fact, I should forget that I have ever seen it.


    One more remark to make is that I am surprised about the fact that nobody has asked me for money or bribe since i landed in Cairo till now.  Not at the borders, not on the road , not in towns and even not at roadblocks.  Surprising.  There must be stern  instructions from above.

    At the roadblocks they ask often for my PP. However the guys are mostly in civil clothes.  I have now learned not to accept that.  I ask for their ID before showing my PP.  No ID no PP and it works.  I had 2 occasions yesterday that the guy let me go without seeing my PP.

    Also I tell them that I am a tourist and not terrorist or criminal sio they should be nice to me.  That also works, ceatinly for the elderly ones amongst them.


    It’s now 13.00 hrs and I go for lunch.


    Than a nappy , if I can and  off to the copier for my document copies.



    25-01-2018 om 00:00 geschreven door Paul Kemp  

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