Travel Oddities

North Africa  East Africa  Southern Africa 

North Africa

Ok, here are a few travel oddities to share with you guys at home – you might not care, but here they are anyways (do not expect any logic or order behind it):

The roof tent is lovingly called “Moulin Rouge” or “Chateau Lafite” because of its Bordeaux color and the lack of latter

The ever cooling and humming Engel fridge is called “Engelchen”. It keeps the drinks cold, even with 50°C outside. Smooth

Sandy has stopped greeting EVERY Sudanese she sees. All that waving wears her out

In addition donkeys and camels will not be waved at anymore. They simply do not appreciate it the way we wished. Exception to the rule: baby donkeys with funky hair dos

Jens has taken to shouting back at children that come running towards our car also shouting. Now, as we drive through the Sudanese Nile villages, Jens shouts: welcome! where you from? how are you?
If this will have any lasting impact on tourism only following travelers will be able to tell

After having taken a huge gulp out of the water bottle that is intentioned for Tembo’s motor (an odd mixture of water found along the way), Sandy is still alive and kicking. Where is the Nile, I’ll plunge in head first

Note: when picking a spot in the wild for the morning routine after breakfast make sure it is suitable for greeting old men on white donkeys that appear out of nowhere

We both declare that we hate wind, especially when it comes in gusts with tons of sand while we are sleeping in the roof tent, protected only by the mosquito net. And yes the sand goes right through the net, thank you

Note: when wanting to buy 5 tomatoes, be prepared to end up with 5 kilos of tomatoes. I could share some delicious recipes …

And no, sweet tea is not the same as a nice chilled bottle of beer

Whenever your front screen is in shatters you can be sure that it will start raining immediately. Try it at home, you will love it

Jens and I came up with a “Lease-a-Donkey” business plan supported by the Sudanese “Animal Resources Bank”. In a nutshell: no down payment, 3 year leasing duration, not more than 4.000 km per year and only popular colors (dark gray with white eyes and nose) are accepted

Ethiopian donkeys are smaller and have more hair than Sudanese donkeys. Try to impress someone with that knowledge during the coffee break of a business meeting

Jens solemnly declares that he will not break for goats, sheep and cows anymore if they are standing at the bottom of the hill stopping us from gaining speed for the ascend

Note: it actually rains a lot during rainy season in Ethiopia

Once you have taken a pee in front of all the boys from an Ethiopian village (“this looks a good spot, there seems to be no one around!”), you really have nothing left to loose

Just because there is a sign “Internet Café” and some computers and someone who charges you for using them per minute, does not necessarily mean that there will be internet. Oh no, siree. But you still pay …

Camels gone ungreeted

East Africa

The statement: “Yes, there are shifta (bandits), but they rarely attack tourists, very rarely.” Does not make you sleep very well the night before hitting that particular road

If you are in Northern Kenya and you tell a local that we entered the country in Moyale, they look shocked and assure you that now you are in a safe place, but “you are very lucky to be here alive, very, very lucky”.
In Marsabit: “You are lucky you made it here. But here you are safe now, No problem!”
In Samburu N.R.: “You come from Marsabit?! You can pray to God tonight and thank him for the safe trip. But here it is safe now. Before no, but here yes.”
In Timau (Mt. Kenya): “You come from Samburu? Hm, you are lucky you know. It is very dangerous up there. But here, no problem.”

In Kenya actually nothing is a problem. Hakuna matata. However, whenever that sentence is proclaimed you can be sure that there is a definite problem waiting for you around the next corner

Taking a Matatu (small minibus run by private drivers) in Nairobi brings you up to speed on the latest trends in rap music and that loud enough to shut out any other traffic noise

If you rent a 4WD car without a working 4WD you are bound to get stuck in someone’s shamba (garden) in a small mountain village. Luckily the men in the village all don’t have a job and can help you dig the car back out

One of my favourite names for a duka (small shop) in a dusty village along the Nairobi-Mombassa Highway: “Dotcom Shop” and “African Dotcom Furniture”

Kenyans in business with tourists (selling necklaces, kangas, etc.) have the unnerving habit of attacking you with the standard of the Swahili-Tourist vocabulary every time they see you:
“Jambo (hello), karibu (welcome), pole pole (slow slow), hakuna matata (no problem)”
“How are you today? Good?” “You want to buy? Lookie, lookie. Looking is free!”

If you can’t beat them, join them. So now we holler our “jambos” and “how are you todays” at the guys before they knew what hit them

No matter how carefully you slip out of your sleeping bag when going for a pee at night – you can be sure it will take you up to 5 minutes to crawl back into it. It always is a complete entangled mess …

Note: if 3 of 4 screws are missing, you have a problem. We did with the cam-shaft to the rear differential … where did those bloody screws go?

Catching a rat is a full-time occupation. They don’t fall for the easy traps. My money is on the rat, but Daniel swears he will catch it this night – as every night. How the rat got into Emma (big old MAN truck) in the first place is still a mystery

Catching a monkey twice keeps them away for roughly 2 days. Then they return AND are clever enough not to be caught again. Knocking a monkey of a tree with a stone, just makes the rest of the bunch very angry and does not keep them away at all

Jaaamboooo! How are you today? Lookie, lookie? Mango Man with his new shirt, Tiwi Beach

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