Wad Medani to Gonder

We had a much better trip to Wad Medani than the previous one. We stayed over at the Imperial Hotel (250SP) a bit expensive but with a usable en-suite  bathroom, clean beds and aircon.  We took of to the border at Matema early next morning, stopped for  breakfast next to the road, waving for every vehicle that drove past and hooted for us. The Sudanese are crazy about waving to Farangi’s shouting “welcome” while all the passengers hang out of windows waving frantically. Very amusing both ways. We specially spend time relaxing because we did not want to get to the border during lunch. At Qallabat fixers tried to deviate us but we told them to get lost. At customs it took this time only 1 hour to stamp our Carnet out and we got the nicest mint tea to drink. We still had to go from office to office but it was a different guy that helped us this time. it was still painful to look at how disorganised they are. forever looking for a pen, a book, the stamp, making 1 copy when they needed 2, but we calmly and friendly sat down when ordered and waited.   We went quite smoothly through Immigration and arrived at 2.30 at the Ethiopian side to be told we must wait because it is lunch until 3!!! I sat swatting flies (I am very good at it now) while Arno and a guy that wanted to change money for us, were chatting and negotiating up and down whichever way suited both the best. The very capable customs guy stamped the Carnet in and then inspected the truck asking silly questions like what is this when he can see it is a chair, and what are these for when looking in the drawer seeing it is food. The whole border crossing took 2 hours. We immediately started climbing mountains in Ethiopia and had our first thunder storm within half an hour. It is as if a line is drawn between Sudan and Ethiopia. Immediately before the border it was hot, flat and desert while immediately entering Ethiopia you drive into the highlands and rain. In Sudan you do not see people and animals on the road but in Ethiopia it is a struggle to drive through all the donkeys, sheep, goats, children and in general the whole flippen Ethiopian population! We arrived at our hotel in Gonder before it was really dark thankful to be here and looking forward to a days rest in the cool atmosphere coming up for breath after our 2 week desert adventure.

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Making ready to hit the road

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This road was under water the first time

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The desert is now green after the heavy rains

 

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