Day 267: The Go-Slow

24.09.09:

I was roused at 6am and thought great – we’ll be in Luanda tonight. My phone had stopped working and I needed to get a Angolan SIM card, but there was nowhere selling them, which meant that I was incommunicado for the day.

We got as far as the edge of the border town of Noqui before we were all told to get out. Which we did…and waited. And waited. They had gone back to DR Congo to pick up some sand. Once that was unloaded, I grabbed my bag, ready to get going.

But hang on, we’ll be back soon – they returned to DR Congo to pick up some more sand. When they eventually returned, it was midday. I helped them unload the sand, but we still hung about for an hour while, oh god knows why.

Then… finally… we set off. The truck was something from the 1950s, probably built in Stalin’s Russia. I was squished in, three people on two seats. We drove for a few miles. Then we STOPPED AND CAME BACK TO NOQUI.

We then hung about for another hour while they did something or other. Then finally, almost 24 hours after I first crossed the border into Angola, we started moving.

Well, I say moving but don’t let that fool you into thinking that we were moving anywhere fast. We weren’t. The road, such as you could call it a road, bore more resemblance to a dried up riverbed and our average speed was a steady fifteen miles an hour. Plus, we stopped every five seconds for little or no reason. These guys were in no hurry to get anywhere fast.

As the day wore on (and we broke down seven times), it was obvious that I wouldn’t be getting to Luanda tonight. I had no choice but to grin and bear it.

But there was one devilish thought buzzing through my head. What if I don’t get the hell out of here before my visa runs out? The Vogons would relish the opportunity to throw me in jail again and I’d be damned if I was going to let that happen.

Graham Hughes

Graham Hughes is a British adventurer, presenter, filmmaker and author. He is the only person to have travelled to every country in the world without flying. From 2014 to 2017 he lived off-grid on a private island that he won in a game show, before returning to the UK to campaign for a better future for the generations to come.

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  1. Mike Cockayne

    Hi mate, really enjoying your blog – I genuinely love getting my email updates letting me know there’s more to read. It’s excellent writing and should make a most excellent book when you get back. All the best mate…Do you still have your loo seat? I would love to see you explain that to a Vogon…

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