Michnus & Elsebie Piki-Piki Around the World.

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by michnus, Jun 11, 2011.

  1. michnus

    michnus Lucky bastard

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    Thank you Jlambo. :thumb

    Yip these BMW dumper trucks will bring excitement to any trip, even if it cost you pawning your home to pay for the parts. :lol3

    I was getting a bit despondent at a time, and the reason why I stop posting. Thought people were too nice and decent to tell me I was posting a really shit story. :dunno :lol3
  2. michnus

    michnus Lucky bastard

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    Cheers Ethiopia, until we meet again …

    We left Addis so excited to be on the bikes again, but halfway to Bahir Dar Michnus realized that the legs of his pants were sprayed with oil …. Both the front fork seals were popping out …

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    On our way to Bahir Dar and the other bike's fork seals blow. Both! Tried to clean the dust seal with no luck, well, then just ride it like that.

    Never the less, with my bike hiccupping (tired battery) and Michnus’ spitting oil we decided to keep heads up and carry on. Unfortunately, it meant that we had to skip our planned visit to Kim & Tim’s Village close to Gorgora, but we will be back!

    Some pictures from Debre Markos where we stayed over for one night:

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    The locals enjoying some lazy 'street viewing' in the afternoon.

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    Ethiopian serves food in style!

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    This was normal practice all over, the management of the hotel let us park our bikes right in front of the hotel entrance and assigned 3 guards to keep an eye!

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    Pfffttt disabled what? :lol3

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    On the way to Gonder, the other finger of God still standing.

    Gonder is the last big town before the border of Sudan. Much smaller than Addis Ababa and with a bit of an ‘touristy’ flavour to it. Centuries ago it was the capital of Ethiopia and the cobblestone roads and castles are evidence of this.

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    No need for a burail in Ethiopia, the vultures will finish you off in no time. Can save a lot on funeral cost, and they are everywhere.

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    A night out on the town gave us a bit of insight into the different classes of people in Ethiopia. Although Ethiopia is a poor country, a lot of people can afford good clothing, taxi rides, cell phones and even a few nights out of town.

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    Young Ethiopian girls enjoying St Geoges & Dashen beer with straws! Not sure what the straws are for - maybe to add some zing.

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    Last backpackers on our way to the Sudan border.
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    Lazy days drinking beers talking shit, sharing travel stories with a German backpacker.

    salaam aleikum Sudan!
  3. tmotten

    tmotten Lefthand ride Dutchy

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    You've got that relaxed look down good. ;-)
  4. michnus

    michnus Lucky bastard

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    yes like an overfed Greek god :lol3
  5. michnus

    michnus Lucky bastard

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    Sudan is a wonderful surprise; you hear ‘Welcome to Sudan’ and ‘Do you like Sudan?’ everywhere. The food is a blend of Turkish, Western and local dishes. And, for the pastries … we tried it all!

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    Sitting at the Sudan border post waiting to get our Carne's stamp. They are waiting for us to pay a bribe. We decided to wait it out. While we crossed the border on no-mans land, we got a puncture.

    We arrived at the border post on a Saturday, which overall was maybe not such a good idea. On the Ethiopian side, we had to wait in the hot sun for the Custom officials to finish their loonooog extended lunch. This gave a couple of ‘fixers’ enough time to harass us to exchange money and to gossip about the ‘qat-chewing’ officials.

    On the Sudanese side, things were a lot more organized and clean. BUT after all the paperwork for our Carnes were done, we waited almost 6 hours for the OFFICIAL MONEY COLLECTOR to release our papers. They filled in all the forms, then proceeded with lunch, then stamped our papers and said “we will be right back, just going to pray” … for SIX HOURS!? Well, this gave us enough time though to use some fellow travellers’ car to do a tube change on my bike.

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    Enjoying some pasta, camping in the Customs' Compound. Eventually at 8 o'clock that evening they figured we are not going to pay a bribe and stamped the papers. We then informed them we will be sleeping in their compound.

    Sudanese roads and small towns are very different from Ethiopia, for one there are a lot less people and animals on the roads – must be the heat! We did however meet two Italian bikers, doing Milan to CapeTown in a very short time.

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    Charlie Boorman as he would look like when old.

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    No big tanks like HPN and such poofter poser shit. 5L water bottle and otherwise standard.

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    And the owner. No nonsense guys.

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    Roadside stops. Between 10 in the morning and 2 in the afternoon everybody takes rest. It is just too damn bloody hot to do anything.

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    Really friendly inviting people. Taking our rest and colddrinks with the local gathering of men.

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    A lot of time are killed by using a very harmless (or 'useless' as per the locals) 'Hubbly Bubbly'

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    Sudanese pastries will kick you into being a diabetic, it's that good.
  6. michnus

    michnus Lucky bastard

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    Everywhere families offer water for any passersby.

    Yes, yes I know, they are in conflict with South Sudan for oil, and from what the media dish up that must make most of the people of Sudan evil heartless bastards. It cannot be further from the truth.

    It took us some time to wrap our minds around the dynamics of this strange weird society. Sudan is a Muslim-run law country, no alcohol or anything that is against the laws of Sharia. Woman are indoors, mostly men are around and can be seen working around towns and on the street.
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    Taxi drivers are scoundrels the world over and in Sudan there is no exception. We went to lunch with this Saudi man. On our way back the driver over-charged us and he immediately got a good scrub down by the Saudi man

    It is safe to go around Sudan, you can leave your wallet lying around for a week and it will be there when you get back, not so sure about a woman though. Shops leave everything as is when they go to pray, nothing gets locked up. People are the most warm-hearted, inviting people we have ever met. We got invited for meals and drinks where ever we went. They even insist we stay over in their homes.

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    Piki-piki loads of them, like in most other African countries this is what drives the local economy in cities and towns.

    Whether it is their religion that is the foundation of their good or because they are just honest-to-good people at heart, I am not sure. But in a country where it is desert as far as the eye can see and the heat reaches a scorching 50 degrees just after 11am, it takes a special kind of human to uphold a sense of humor and a smile. There must be a special heaven for Sudanese, they are good honest people living in a hell I would not have been able to endure. The heat and haziness from sand storms everyday will drop the best motivational speaker into depression.

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    The sign says it's not allowed to take pictures of the Blue and White Nile coming together. Why not is anyone’s guess, and like many other African countries paranoia is big. Google earth is a spy tool of the West; here it is ladies and gentleman.

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    Local bikers' curiosity overcame them and we had a welcome chat about all bike related.
  7. michnus

    michnus Lucky bastard

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    It is easy to figure out that as with most other countries, Angola as example, are in the same situation, the 5% connected politicians ruining it for the rest of the 95% of the population. The deal for oil could have been settled without the war, no doubt.

    I do not want to write about this, but that is part of travel and we will be travelling to countries in future not on the tourist list. The bad comes with the good, which is the reason why I loved Sudan so much. It’s a harsh unforgiving land with a deep rich soul.

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    Spot the buildings housing the oil companies. There’s no high rise buildings in Khartoum, except the ones from the oil companies.

    There’s one big huge bloody calamitous issue with Sudan, NO BEER! And I am no dipsomaniac, far from it, but drinking Coke, tea and water in 45° heat is acceptable and tolerable for maybe a day. After that your body wants something bitter and cold. With that heat very few fridges were able to cope with the heat. This is not South African mid summer Richtersveld heat. This heat is downright evil. Anything after 11am and people get out of the sun, to take rest.

    How in the name of all that is holy, can an entire nation deprive themselves from the healing powers of beer is beyond reason and logic.

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    National Camp site Khartoum. Left all our belongings for a week like that with nothing getting ‘legs’.

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    Tuk-Tuk’s pimp my ride and blinged to the extreme.

    Back to our travel, Elsebie’s bikes battery got worse and it came to a stage where the bike had to start first time round or we had to jump start the bike. We set up camp in Khartoum at the National camp site. It’s not really a camp site, it use to be sports grounds with accommodation converted now into army type housing with grassy patches and shrubs fences. In the back of our camp refugees from the South got trucked in during the night with help from NGO’s.

    Unable to source a battery in Khartoum we had a battery couriered to us at an obscene amount. DHL take no prisoners, damn assholes!

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    Again the water pump, did I mention I got my masters in bush mechanics?

    While ‘tracking down’ a battery for Elsebie’s bike my Dakar’s water pump impeller broke while we were in over 50° heat in the middle of midday traffic. The cotter pin holding the impeller to the shaft decided to disintegrate leaving us stranded 10km away from the camp. We were using only my bike at the time.

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    Alfresco breakfast. Eggs and Nubian flat bread with tea.
  8. Johnnydarock

    Johnnydarock Been here awhile

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    Two things....just wanted to let you know that there are people still reading this thread (keep it coming) and I agree that a world without beer is hell. It's just not right.
    elron and PartTimeTravel like this.
  9. michnus

    michnus Lucky bastard

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    Thanks so much Johnnydarock:thumb

    Ye man, somehow not being able to get a few beers because the law say so when it is 45degreeC makes it even worse. :huh:lol3
  10. micko01

    micko01 another DR650 rider

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    Top stuff michnus! What time of the year were you there? We will probably be there in May.....
  11. Tan101

    Tan101 Been here awhile

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    That sucks you are still having bike issues. Still. You'll see in our Namibia blogs (coming up) we've had our fair share of bike gremlins to battle, time to kill and budget blowouts by way of ripoff couriers to endure so you won't feel all alone in your struggles.

    Glad to see you guys on the road again and looking forward to more updates.

    Wishing you many trouble free kms from now on
  12. SS in Vzla.

    SS in Vzla. Totally Normal? I'm not!

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    Looking forward to reading about your experiences on the road in Sudan. This is a country few people travel (or write about)... :lurk
  13. michnus

    michnus Lucky bastard

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    Micko, it was around the same time May April. But Sudan is always cooking your- brains- Satan's- pit- hot. :lol3
  14. michnus

    michnus Lucky bastard

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    Frans and Joke build this impressive overlander, they have done most of Africa. And he had beers, it’s worth the 100 lashes per beer!!

    Late the afternoon we made it back to camp, wanting nothing else than hard liquor and beers. We “imported” some whiskey which had us smiling about the events. Hey, it’s part of travelling, you get shit at some stage no two ways about it.

    We stayed at the National campsite for a week and then moved to Mally my old friend flat near the center of town. He has been working in Sudan for a quite long time. For now we enjoyed the luxuries of aircon and a big room with nice company. The bike parts would took a while to get to us and then customs still had to deal with it.

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    Osman, the man that helped us with the bike, invited us again for an meal. It’s hard to say no to him. He is really a very jovial type of guy. Always up with a joke and a laugh. We met up with some of his mates. They range from a Proffesor in English to a CEO of a very big cigarette company. It did not took us long to talk about the ‘water’ they are not suppose to consume. Low and behold, it seemed the 100 lashes for each beer, is a thorn in their sides but not enough to deter them from enjoying some locally made Date concoction. It’s vile tasting, as bad as Moonshine or Grapa but not as strong and I would have to consume litres of the stuff to drop my inhibitions.

    In the end it turned out the middle upper class are much more open minded that I perceived them to be. Even religion were talk about and they are not the hardcore followers they act to be.

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    The quite side of the religion. They drink alcohol and generally do not practice what they preach. At least they know how to enjoy themselves.Not far from the same musical talent as Cacofonix in Asterix and Obelix. *;D

    One of our other rules is never to ride at night. It’s just not safe. Well, we broke that rule when we got invited again to dinner. With 35° heat in the evening we putter around with our normal clothes, no bike stuff. It’s just too damn hot.

    Now, bear in mind most roads in Sudan are less than 10 years old, yes, oil paid for it. No lines, sand storms leaving a thin layer of sand on the road and road designs can go from four lanes wide pitch black road to two lanes quite easily. Half meter islands in the middle divert traffic in the same direction.

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    Our tea lady. They make a very sweet spicy tea.

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    Refugees from South Sudan had there home in the same camp as us. They still had smiles and lots to talk about. It is tough to see them, and brings sadness to our hearts.

    We got up both looked okay and went on the camp. Once at the camp, we tended to our tar burns. Nothing looked to serious, the only wound that was a bit suspect was just below Elsebie’s knee cap. The size of a 1$ coin, it did not look too bad. It was too small for stitches but we could not see how deep it was. The next few days she was a bit sore but the wound looked like it was sort off healing.

    And, hell no it’s not because I had some Date water.

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    Hotel Mally, 5Star living! We were sad to leave the aircon behind.

    Time to hit the road, too much pastries can bring on a bad case of laziness.
  15. michnus

    michnus Lucky bastard

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    By ‘good chance’ Michnus’ bike left us cooling it in front of a very small “Coffee Shop” ran by Ethiopian and Sudanese girls. The coffee shop is an old house with all the rooms opening up into a small courtyard, and each room has a couple of couches and low tables for guests.

    As we entered, we met Osman sitting contently waiting for his coffee, lovely spiced coffee that he immediately shared with us.
    His friendliness extended into translating dishes for us, offering advice, showing us alternative accommodation, his friends’ offices and then took us out for fish …

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    Ethiopian/Sudanese combined ‘Coffee Shop’ where we met Osman

    We arrived at his friend’ property, adjacent to the White Nile – a half build treasure. The Nile here is beautiful, a bit littered with rubbish, but still a sight. We were introduced to numerous people and after we ‘took some rest’ were invited to see some of the guys fishing.

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    Osman introduced us to some of his friends in the construction business. Always a damn photo taking thing. *:biggrin:

    We arrived at his friend’ property, adjacent to the White Nile – a half build treasure. The Nile here is beautiful, a bit littered with rubbish, but still a sight. We were introduced to numerous people and after we ‘took some rest’ were invited to see some of the guys fishing.

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    Sunset on the White Nile

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    I had to earn my dinner.

    And the result:

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    Five fishes, caught by a ‘hundred’ men!

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    They somehow multiplied.

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    The end result was delicious!
    Phipsd likes this.
  16. michnus

    michnus Lucky bastard

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    We have lost so much time with waiting for spares we had to make up some distance through the northern part of Sudan on our way to Egypt. The days were still as hot as hell and we kept riding to early mornings and then again in late afternoons.

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    White is route through Sudan

    Our route took us on the main road to Port Sudan which pass the Meroe pyramids. They say these pyramids are much older than the Egyptian pyramids. It’s not an expensive affair to visit the pyramids and the people in the small room even offered us some water and place to rest.

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    Meroe pyramids Sudan. Considered older than the Egyptian pyramids.

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    Some of the pyramids have been renovated and restored but in all honesty I think they made it worse. Our plan to wild camp was also flying out the window as we had to get to Wadi Halfa to catch the ferry in time. Even though the communication was difficult for some reason we understood each other and I kept in contact with our fixer in Wadi during the week.

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    We still had to cross two deserts on our way to Wadi. The heat was relenting, it really feels like somebody is blowing us with a hot air blower straight in the face. The one mistake I will not make again is to buy any black riding gear. Elsebie’s beige jacket definitively was not as hot as my black little number.

    As we rode I tried to image how Lawrence of Arabia traveled around. The adventure at the time must have been mind blowing. Dangerous, difficult to say the least. Today people take it in their stride. Busses, trucks, taxi’s run the main roads bumper to bumper.

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  17. vtcyclist

    vtcyclist Been here awhile

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    I read your Angola report with total amazement and intrigue. Now this one as well. It encouraging to see an Africa that is much more human and positive that the view we are fed via the news here.

    Asante Sana
  18. RedDogAlberta

    RedDogAlberta High Plains Drifter

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    Absolutely marvellous. You kept me up much of the night. More please.
  19. longrides1

    longrides1 Been here awhile

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    Wow what a RR you have going on here. :clap

    Looks way harder than anywhere else in the world to adventure ride IMHO. :deal

    Keep it coming you guys.
  20. michnus

    michnus Lucky bastard

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    You said it! The huge benefit of forums and blogs that we can share and experience what really goes on in the world, the real world, no media bullshit to sell advertising space and get clicks. We get the same kind of media bullshit about the USA as example. So much that it makes one scared to go there. :D
    We have realised by travelling that the world is not such a dangerous place made out to be.
    People are generally friendly and helpful towards motorcycle travellers, that said any traveller and people mostly just try and make a living and are generally friendly beings. Except customs officials and taxi drivers, they are assholes. :lol3
    Phipsd and forgorin like this.