Exit Ethiopia–Enter Sudan

We left Gonder early because we had a border to cross. Lucky we did. The normal up and down mountains were challenging but also the bumpy road that gave us head aches. The scenery were beautiful as can be and we saw more biblical characters. The green of Ethiopia is unbelievable At the Matema border post we went to Customs to meet a not so friendly customs officer with a heavy cold, sneezing, coughing and sweating in the 40 degrees. He came back with us to the bakkie to inspect our vehicle and more coughing and sneezing the longer he were standing in the sun. When everything was sort of cleared he suddenly asked how much Ethiopian Birr we have. I remembered just then (Arno did not know) that one is not allowed for some or other silly reason, to take more than 150 Birr out of the country. Arno started telling him that we don’t have much money and I quickly pitched in that we have about 100Birr. He was in reality looking for a pay off of some sorts and then started harassing us with “don’t leee to meee…..how much Birr do you have” Arno told him he had put petrol in with the extra money we had. After lots of sneezes, coughing and sweating, he reluctantly told us to go. When he was going through our fridge and drawers,.he complained about all the food and meat we have and said some of the things looks good, so in the whole he just wanted a bribe. I felt bad because I forgot about this stupid law and we also felt guilty because we’d “leee to heeem”  We were though, surprised when we arrived at the Ethiopian border and they wanted to se our Sudan Visas. On arrival at the Sudan Immigration office they also looked at the visas and only then gave us the necessary forms to fill in. The procedure were not too painful. At Customs the real fun started. The customs officer looked at our Carnet (slowly) and after shoving it to one side of his desk while we were standing in front of his desk, told us sternly to sit down. So we sat. After a real long period he showed the Carnet to another guy in the office who looked it over slowly. We were then told to come with guy no 1 to another office where a guy were trying to spell out a name to someone over the phone…..for a very long period while we sat. Eventually guy no 3 looked at the Carnet and said something to guy no 1 who told us to come with him. We sat in his office. He disappeared and came back to take us back to guy no 3 who stood up and walked out. So we sat for another hour before guy no 1 appeared, took the Carnet, filled it in and finally stamped it. 2 and a half hour for the Carnet to be stamped!! Outside customs a guy asked if we were fine because another South African group with 3 vehicles were sent back to Ethiopia because they did not have visas for Sudan…..we then understood the reasons for all the problems we had! We also knew who the group was….Afri-Trio from George who was on the same route as us but about 10 days before us. It was 1.30 and very hot. It was our first bad border post and we were very tired, hot and hungry but need to get to Gedaref where we wanted to overnight. I started coughing that morning and weren’t feeling very well, Arno was tired and frustrated with the stupid customs people, so it was already a not so good day. We saw these huge dark clouds and said it looks as if it is going to rain…..then the heavens opened and we were in this huge tropical storm that nearly blinds you. On reaching Gedaref it was not possible to get out of the bakkie to even ask where the hotel is. Whe suddenly could not rely onT4A because it is NON EXCISTENT in Sudan. It was 15:30 so we made the brisk decision to drive to Wad Medani which sounds like a bigger town. To make a long story short, we drove through 2 cloud bursts and between them one dusty desert storm before reaching Wad Medani in a cloud burst. We both got soaked looking for a place to stay, Arno worse than me but finally very wet and tired stayed at a hotel with the vehicle safely parked on the entrance! When getting our goodies out of the bakkie, I slipped on the wet tiles in the rain and nearly broke my neck! I bumped the back of my head VERY hard.. Arno thought I dropped something and was totally shocked when I called out to him while still lying flat on my back on the stoep……seeing stars! It was not a good day…..! Next morning we drove on to Khartoum where we camped at the Sudan National Campsite.We had to register with Immigration in Khartoum within 3 days, so we went to the airport to do that. It took the whole hot morning to finalise it AND it cost another 250SP per person! The campsite was hot….VERY hot and dusty, the ablution facilities was, well not what we ever saw before.  I got Bronchitis and we sort of just survived for 3 days. The Sudanese cook who were making food for students staying there, felt so sorry for me that he started feeding us. We were rock bottom down. We are 5 months on the road now and we think that travel fatique plus the roller coaster of  emotions, excitement, places, peoples, cultures, etc. caught up with us. When our friend Dirk who is in South Sudan, phoned, I pathetically burst into tears when I heard his voice. Thank you Dirk and Christa  for your friendship and support when we were totally flooredRed heart When we headed north to the Egyptian border, we felt positive again and looked forward to the new adventure in the Nubian Desert.

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Beautiful green scenery between Gonder and Matema border post

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This guy got more than a headache on this road

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Arno playing with the grandsons Ethiopian presents.

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Tropical rain

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My slipway at the back of the bakkie!

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Camping on a stage in 40 degrees. Sudan National Camping cost 50SP per night

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Although we were ill and exhausted, we still had to do our normal chores.

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Swatting flies feeling illSad smile

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and tired.

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Feeling better!

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