Reaching Kathmandu in enough time to finish our logistics and training for the running and rafting sections of this adventure have turned the remainder of our cycle into the type of relentless push we experienced in Turkey. As I write this I am sitting in the dark
After a 15 week process we have received the disappointing news that our Pakistan visas have been declined. The official line is that only business or diplomatic visitors looking for short term stays are being accepted. In reality we know people who have been both accepted and declined
It takes quite some sense of self-importance to feel let down by a country. Winston Churchill spoke of Britain’s admirable restrain in respecting Irish neutrality whilst contending with the advance of national socialism. A frustrated restrain clothed in disappointment.
On the second attempt I manage to lift my now fully packed touring bike up the three steps separating Hotel Arafats doorway from the street outside. We have been in Istanbul for less than 24 hours and its been over 2 years since I last lifted a fully packed touring bike.
Our last day in Ethiopia differed from other such days when borders were crossed. We were 160km from the Sudanese border and to a man we felt that we needed a break from Ethiopia. The kids who chased the bikes constantly screaming for money as we cycled north also began to throw stones.
Ethiopia to Cape Town. We started out with an idea; cycle a long distance through Africa. Countries ruled out immediately due to perceived danger; Sudan and Zimbabwe. Cities we would have to cycle quickly through or avoid completely; Addis Ababa, Nairobi and Johannesburg.
By 2pm yesterday we knew our arrival to Cape Point wouldn’t be anything like the victory lap we had envisioned. Ethiopia aside South Africa has been the toughest leg of our journey and in typical fashion it had served up a 45 Mph headwind to greet us on this final stretch.
“ I think its best to hide behind a tuk tuk until you get over the speed bumps, then accelerate before they get a chance to organise.”
As with the kids in Ethiopia, each of us have developed a unique style of avoiding the police checkpoints throughout Egypt.