Tue 27 Nov 12:
IT’S NOT OVER YET!! I’ve still got to get from here in South Sudan back to my hometown of Liverpool. And if you think I’ll be flying home, think again because THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT THEY’LL BE EXPECTING ME TO DO!! Nah, in the spirit of the adventure thus far, I shall be headed homeward overland, without flying (of course).
This presents a number of obstacles, which I shall list for you here:
1. I can’t go directly north as the border between North and South Sudan is closed. And a war zone.
2. I can’t go east and take a ship from Mombasa in Kenya because of Somali pirates.
3. I can’t go west because the borders are either closed or dangerous. In any case there are no roads.
4. My ONLY option is to go South Sudan > Uganda > Kenya > Ethiopia > North Sudan.
5. Travel through the northern ‘badlands’ of Kenya is fraught with danger. The first time I did it was terrifying enough.
6. Ethiopia has stopped issuing visas for foreign nationals in Nairobi, I have to get the visa in London. Good job I have two passports (and a good friend in London).
7. I have to get my visa for North Sudan in Addis Ababa. If I’m lucky, it’ll take 2 days. If I’m unlucky, it could take 6 weeks.
8. The road from Addis Ababa to Gondor on the border with North Sudan takes 2 days.
9. The ship from Wadi Halfa in Sudan to Aswan in Egypt only goes once a week. If I miss it, I risk outstaying my visa.
10. The visa regs for Libya are still at pre-revolution levels of insanity and travel though Syria is out of the question. I’ll have to take a ship across the Mediterranean. The last ferry from Egypt to Greece ran 15 years ago.
I know what you’re thinking: Hey, Graham! The Odyssey Expedition is over! Take a load off! Take your time, there’s no rush.
But you’re wrong. There *is* a rush. I have something, or rather somebody, quite wonderful waiting for me back in dear old Blighty and I have a promise to keep, a promise that I made through a closing door on the London Underground. One word: December.
So I’m hurtling back to the motherland as fast as visas and shipping allow. One last adventure eh, Uncle Bilbo?
Hey, look on the bright side: this means you get to enjoy a wee bit more of The Odyssey Expedition as I round out this four year journey of the soul.