The journey

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Wrexham, Wales, United Kingdom
For the past 5 years, me and my best friend Nathan have talked about the possibility of travelling around the world by land and sea, and so finally we have a route, savings and time to set off around the world. What we are doing is living out a dream, a dream we share with many people worldwide, a dream of travelling this vast, diverse, beautiful and interesting planet, but unlike the many others who keep it as a dream, we have the tenacity to make this dream a reality.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Days 41 & 42: Sudan

Day 41

With the barge taking longer than the ferry we had two days to kill before getting the Landrover back. The previous night me Nathan, Jack and Ryan had played (and beat) the locals in a game of football, but other than that, there was nothing really to do in Wadi Halfa.

We spent the morning completing immigration registration and getting a photography permit, and then we chilled out in the shade drinking Pepsi and eating the local food. After returning to the hotel, we heard a knock on the door from one of the other drivers who had a 4x4 on the barge telling us the barge was arriving and that we should go down to the port to unload it.

We knew we couldn’t complete customs formalities until the morning but we arrived at the port to see the barge coming in before each of the vehicles was driven off the barge, half onto a floating platoon, then onto some ramps, and finally onto the pier. We just couldn’t understand why there was so much trial and error from the port workers in the method of creating a ramp when they do it every week, but after four different approaches, the last Landrover was driven off a now lighter and more buoyant barge making the last decent the largest drop, but probably the smoothest of all four.

Day 42

We awoke to complete the customs formalities, where the police took away all of our music CD’s into a small room for inspection, closed and locked the door behind them, and shut the curtain so that we couldn’t see what they were doing. Very strange, but perhaps they were hoping we had some pornography that they could watch.

With the roads ahead being newly tarmaced, we got a quick bite to eat and resumed our journey south. It turned out that the new roads that had been financed by the Chinese were better than most A-roads in Europe. The tarmac was smooth with no speed bumps to catch us out, and it even had cats-eyes either on both sides or just in the centre.

We stopped off at a few villages along the way to get some food and drink, but it wasn’t long until we had reached Dongola. We thought we had seen the end of the annoying Sudanese paperwork when we had left Wadi Halfa, but when we checked into a hotel for the night we found out we needed to go to the police station to get permission to use a hotel! Passport, VISA, South of Khartoum Permit, Photography Permit, Hotel Permit – what will we next need permission for??

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