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UPDATED February 10, 2010

BY The TDA Team

IN Tour d'Afrique

no comments

UPDATED February 10, 2010

BY The TDA Team

IN Tour d'Afrique

no comments

Surreal Sudan

There are many ways to cross the Nile, I discovered. We did it already many times over bridges with our bicycle. We have mostly followed the flow of the Nile ever since Cairo, and from Khartoum on we were along one of the two rivers creating the Nile, the Blue Nile. But what about crossing it on a donkey, in a boat? I did it. It just happened. Having a swim in the Nile after a long day of riding was followed by meeting a lot of friendly locals in the neighboring village that was next to our camp. And there was a boat with a donkey in it, strange enough to shoot some pictures. And that was followed by an invitation to cross the river, and one of the youngsters on the boat jumped on the donkey and wanted me to do the same. So from the tip of the boat I jumped, but being a little heavier then the young kid, the poor donkey almost collapsed. And here I was, on a donkey on the NileTIA.   The first two days of riding require a few new skills. The road is difficult, heavily used and corrugated, especially around the towns. Because of the heavy traffic, we agree upon a new command: OFF! After a few near misses, this is what we shout when there is a bus overtaking and coming in our direction, completely taking over the road and driving fast. We jump with our bikes off the road onto the shoulder gravel, and regroup afterward once the heartbeat has dropped a bit. We enter the town of Sinnar in an area the Sudanese government is trying to promote, and there is a large welcoming committee. Its almost like driving over the Champs Elysees on the last day of the Tour de France; hundreds of people are cheering, there is a camera man filming, there are banners, thumbs up, and so on. In the evening Sudan becomes even more surreal. At camp during dinner suddenly a touring bus pulls up and a group of beautifully dressed women step out, followed by a team of Karate Kids running through camp and giving a complete combat performance. It almost feels like colonial times, when the first Europeans embarked on Africa and met the local people, with rituals to somehow communicate or connect. And you can see the hope in the peoples eyes for a better future of Sudan.
  

— Frans Smit

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