Ben – On the very wet drive into Nairobi (along the same road for the second time!) we got to thinking & talking about our trip so far. Kenya for Christmas was always our “plan” / aim, and we’re here. The chat resulted in a good old set of “top 5’s (Clara I know how you love a travelling top 5 session!!). We thought we’d share them along with a quick HAPPY CHRISTMAS message from all aboard the Disco, thanks for showing an interest in the blog and sending messages and generally staying in touch, Ben & Jen
Top 5: Food & Drink
At 5: Sudanese fruit Juices – The guys on the street with a table, a food blender and a massive pile of mango, grapefruit, Orange, Banana, you name it, deliciuous (Just ignore the glass of nile water they throw in with it !!)
At 4: Turkish coffee in Port Said (Egypt!!). Jen hates it, but I just cant get enough of the cardamom spiciness’, ummmm
At 3: The very “Un-overland” Champagne dinner we had with my Dad & Sue right back in France on about day 3, luxury looking back !!
At 2: Fillet steak ala Harry Arssee. Yes Harry & Barts surname really is Arssee (Brilliant). To be 3 days into bush camping down lake Turkana and have Harry pull a massive Beef Fillet out of his Freezer (yes these guys do it in style) was incredible. Cooked on a grate over a roaring fire it was one of the best piece of meet I’ve ever eaten, and was accompanied perfectly by a South African Red (we drank the lot, sorry Harry!)
And no 1: Injera in Hawzien. In Ethiopia they don’t really do bread, they have injera with everything. It’s a kind of sour pancake, a bit like Apam in India, you love it or hate it. It’s very often served with meat in a spicy red sauce laced with something like cayenne pepper, it smells so distinctive I think it almost defines Ethiopia, there bank notes stink of it as they don’t use cutlery here !! We (you share one big plate, with a massive injera on it and a pile of spicy meat on top) had the most perfect example in a cheap food place in Hawzien.
Top 5: Bush Camps
At 5: Near Siboli National Park with campfire, Lake Turkana route, See “Fillet steak alla Harry Arssee” above
At 4: The very first desert camp back in Egypt. After struggling to find a nice bush camp during our euro dash, then coping with the turkey-egypt ferry and the craziness of Cairo, it was sooooo nice to park up undisturbed under a sky of stars in the Western Dessert
At 3: Another camp on Turkana route, overlooking the lake, windy but stunning, and I managed to chat with my Dad on the sat phone to say Happy Birthday too (he was stood in a que a Heathrow airport though, timimg very poor, I must do better next time).
At 2: Sudan desert, near Dongola. After our excursion to the deep sand near Old Dongola and a day of digging the car out, it was another sky of stars, and a dune horizon to bring the day to a fantastic end.
And no 1: More desert (you cant beat desert camping), the best spot we found was on the edge of the white dessert, take a look back at our Egypt pics if you like, words cant explain how stunning this rocky dessert is (the photos only do it a little justice too!).
Top 5: Days
At 5: Axum, Ethiopia. More my fav than Jens, and a nothing kind of day at an animal market, mooching, and getting some welding done on the Disco. The guys at the little dirty workshop were great, the animal market real (no Faraje here), and I liked Axum for a reason I cant put my finger on. A good day.
At 4: Climbing to the Rock Hewn Church in Hawzien, Ethiopia. It was hassle hassle hassle all the way, but the shear ridiculousness of the climb to this tiny church, and the views en-route will not be forgotten.
At 3: Wawa with Mohy and Solub temple. Compared to Egypt, not a stunning temple, but the boat ride there, the lack of anyone else at all when we arrived, and the hospitality and genuine friendship shown to us by Mohy (who spent all day with us, and not for cash!), sums up our time inSudan very nicely indeed.
At 2: Turkana, Liongolani day. The day before was stressful with things breaking and going wrong, but on this day the lake views were fabulous, the groups mood lifted. The people at the “women’s camp” in Liongolani were so nice, especially the boss, and they seemed to be doing some genuine good for the orphaned kids of the region. We wish we could have stayed a couple of days.
And no 1: Samburu national park, Kenya. An elephant practically poked his trunk through the drivers open window of the disco, and we watched a Leopard up a tree about 10 meters away, what more can I say!
Top 5: Stresses
At 5: Turkana trouble day: We stopped because of a loud knocking coming from the Disco but failed to find the problem, but at the same time found that Jerrys fan/water pump was failing fast (no spare), Harrys air system was going the same way. We spent a couple of hours trying to contain the issues. The road was endless bleak, rough rough rough dry river bed crossing & rocks that shook everything loose, Harry speared a tree with the truck and spent an hour or so sorting the damage, then the Disco knocking got worse and we found the sheared shock. We wondered if we’d all bitten off more than we could chew, but we hadn’t, it all turned out OK, just slow & bumpy!
At 4: Old Dongola, Sudan. We headed off the tar into sand, deep sand, and got stuck, very stuck, 2 or 3 times. The people we encountered were desperately asking for anything and trying take things out of our hands. Finally we decided we had bitten off too much and turned back. I hate turning back!
At 3: Jens Mortgage !!!!! A few days before we left the UK, Jen went to the Nationwide to move all the mortgage overpayments she’d been making on here house as “savings for trip” into here current account, only to discover she’d got the terms of the overpayment all wrong, and she could not retrieve them!! It was a tense time trying to work out how we were gonna pay for half the trip, but we’re here, and all is well. Nice one Jen x
At 2: Aswan Ferry Car loading. I wrote plenty about the stress of loading the Disco onto the Barge, watching it get buried in miscellaneous crap, then sail off on a barge without us at the time, it was horrible. Such a relief to see it on the barge in port at Wadi Halfa when we arrived on the passenger ferry a few days later.
And no 1: Aswan Passenger Ferry Riot! Running in sandals (always tricky) away from a mob chucking rocks the size of jacket potatoes is never fun, nor is hiding under a sleeping mat whilst the rocks crash down on you. The atmosphere in Egypt was tense (post-revolution), and at that moment ut seemed to explode. All in all the Aswan ferry was “an experience”
Merry Christmas all
Ben & Jen