Day 1,430: Call My Bluff

Fri 30.11.12: Up at 7am and down to DHL for 8.30pm. Passport – avec Ethiopian visa – in hand (praise be to Lindsey!), I bought a ticket for the bus to Nairobi, leaving at 11am. Well, kind of. After finding out what time the bus left I shopped around the bus station for a better deal, timewise – this bus would get into Nairobi at 11pm. I thought it better to get an overnighter. However, I had been told that the buses north from Nairobi to the Ethiopian border left at 6am, and all the other buses I could find left at 7pm this evening, arriving Nairobi 7am tomorrow: my schedule would be all skew-if. Last time was in Nairobi, since I spent the morning getting my Ethiopian AND Djibouti visas (something that would be double impossible now), I was told that the big bus had…

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Day 1,429: Exiting 201

Thu 29.11.12: It was 5am and I was up and showered, ready to begin my long journey back to the UK. Remarkably, in terms of physical distance, Durban to Khartoum in North Sudan is 3142 miles and Khartoum to Liverpool is 3244 miles, so I should be halfway there, but if only things were that easy. All things being equal I could jump in a car (or a boat if I was feeling fruity) and head on up the White Nile to Khartoum. From there it’s just 10 hours (if that) to Wadi Halfa on the border with Egypt. If there was a road crossing the border (clue: there isn’t) it would be a few more hours by bus to Aswan and an overnight train journey to Cairo. I could be ready to get the ferry across the Med in less than three days. I could…

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Day 1,425: The Impossible Dream

Sun 25.11.12: The coach arrived at 9am in an strangely subdued Kampala. Where the hell was everyone? Then I realised it was Sunday and it all kinda made sense – they be at church being told how homosexuals make Baby Jesus cry and therefore should be put to death. The bus office next to the buses back to Dar was advertising overnighters to Juba, South Sudan, leaving at 9pm. I bought a ticket with a strange sense of calm elation. I’ve learnt time and time again not to get too excited about ANYTHING on this journey, just in case something goes horribly wrong. I set off to find myself a cash machine, a SIM card, some camcorder tapes and Internet access. Only the ATM was forthcoming, everywhere was shut. After wandering around Kampala for a bit too long, I was pointed at the direction of the…

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Day 354: Business As Usual

20.12.09: You know when somebody says that something was a breath of fresh air, I can't describe how apt that saying is when it comes to Rwanda. It is there that you find all that Africa could be if only its scumbag criminal leaders would allow it. But there's no time to dilly-dally, I've got a mission and a damn good reason to get to Egypt in 11 days time... Mandy. I hopped a motorbike taxi (and for the first time in Africa, crash helmets are mandatory) to the bus station nice and early and before long I was being whisked out of the country towards Uganda, past the green terraced hills and the cute little villages along the way. Since the darkness of 1994, Rwanda has turned itself around like you would not believe. THAT'S what you can achieve with 15 years of half-decent governance…

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