Catching up from Gadaref to Gondar. OR: How many ways can you get ill in Ethiopia?

So this is a big update that I’m cramming lots of travel into, but just have too much going on to break it down any more than this. 😉

My last update finished in Gadaref, Sudan, and now we’re on our last of two rest days in Gondar, Ethiopia. Obviously much has happened since, the most important (to me) being that I got sick. Badly. Twice. FUN!

Gadaref was a pretty neat little town, but while internet was extremely fast and good and 3G everywhere in town, as soon as we got back to the guesthouse it went to shit and went to the slowest EDGE network ever and thus I couldn’t post a blog there and posted it yesterday instead. The town itself was pretty neat, we went out a couple times for food and mostly had sheep or goat (the terms are unclear here), and we stocked up on supplies as we spent the almost last of our Sudanese pounds. We only had one more day in Sudan afterwards and would be crossing the border by 4pm. I actually found some salt and vinegar chips and cashew nuts, the nuts I’ve been enjoying today, but the chips didn’t last long at all, lol! There was also gelato/ ice cream/ whatever which was amazing, and only 5 pounds (like 80c USD).

The next day we hit the road really early. Birgit left about 45 seconds before me with the masses and I raced to catch up and somehow missed her in the crowd and ended up at the front with David W. I hoped Birgit saw me pass and just stuck with Dave out of town, with him pulling me most of the time since he’s clearly a much stronger rider and me jumping in to give him a break here and there when I could. Eventually Phil and our Local Sudanese Rider Sediq caught up, Phil dropped off right away due to the effort of catching up, and Sediq pushed our pace up beyond my limit and the two of them lost me just after a big army jeep with a huge gun started escorting us through the desert. Race was to lunch, about 80km in, and I still officially came in 2nd, but long after Dave and Sediq. Just barely before the other racers. This was perhaps a bad way to start my day.

I waited around for Birgit who had not seen me pass and was waiting for me near the back for a while (oops, felt terrible! :() and we headed off post-lunch together, in 47 degree weather to try and finish this massive 166km day. It was terrible! It just got hotter and hotter and my water got warmer and warmer… The coke stops were nice but not enough and though we got there, I was just exhausted.

The border crossing was easy, get stamped out of Sudan, walk across a bridge without any visible security, walk into another building, get stamped into Ethiopia, walk under a little rope, and continue to ride. 4k to camp. Birgit gets another flat 1k from camp, looks like her rim got so hot it melted the tire! WTF? And her other tire got a permanent heat bubble in it. Why are we riding in this? I crashed into bed hard at 7:20 or so, and this was the beginning of the end. I woke up at midnight feeling pukey, went to turn over to get up and out of my tent and was violently ill in my tent instead! Terrible! Took another hour to clean it up and it was just gross. Sorry guys! Anyways, I didn’t ride the next day, and ended up sleeping on the truck for the trip to camp, climbing out, sleeping on the ground for the rest of the day, climbing into my tent, and sleeping in the tent til morning. But still not riding again. Took the truck to Gondar where we had two rest days. The ride was slow going and the racers passed us many times, the truck was just really slow on the uphills. Sometimes stopping to restart in 1st gear! Crazy.

When we got to Gondar there was some sort of huge celebration and/or protest going on and it was just a shitshow. We had another 1.5+ hour detour 5km from the hotel and didn’t get here til 2pm or something. I got a room luckily and checked in immediately for a rest and some internet.

The next day was fun, we went to the local castle, church, baths, and for lunch! Then I came home and got more and more sick again. I think I actually got some local bacteria this time, the symptoms were a bit different, and the nurse gave me some different things (I think the first sickness was heat exhaustion dehydration related). The meds this morning seem to have helped a lot though, and I’ve eaten and feel good again. Tomorrow should be better.

I spent the day running errands around town and met a kid that helped me out quite a bit and I even got to see his house. Pics below. Had some junk food here and there and lots to drink! Hydration!!

The saddest news from my errands is that there’s no way currently to get a SIM card for my phone that does data. And calling me on Skype costs 53c a minute. So my communication life back home basically just ended. Wifi from now on, whenever I can find it… Until Kenya, perhaps?! Gah. Gonna miss my Facebook communications. 🙁 🙁

Stories from the Ethiopian ride days seem interesting! Lots of staring everywhere they go, lots of kids yelling you you you money money money (cute but sad?), and then in the last villages before Gondar, some stones being thrown, sticks being hurled, sticks being swung, asses being smacked or grabbed, all around unawesome stories. My experience in the city here has been very different, everyone’s been nice! But it’s just weird. I hope that things improve, or that it’s not as bad as some made it seem! Gonna be a rough month with crazy kids and no communication with home! I’m hoping wifi on my rest days is good.

People keep saying to just enjoy Africa and forget about communicating, but that’s pretty hard, I see Africa on the bike 8-12 hours a day and spend a lot of time with the local riders, I really enjoy my minutes here and there talking to home.

For now it’s 3 days to Axum, where hopefully I’ll be online again! I’ll be thinking of you all, here’s to hoping I remain healthy enough to ride my bike! The truck really sucks!

Also, the MAP has been updated!

Now for pictures!!!

They came to the Gadaref Guesthouse and filmed us even if we asked them not to! They were also filming out on the road. Perhaps I was on Sudanese TV.
They came to the Gadaref Guesthouse and filmed us even if we asked them not to! They were also filming out on the road. Perhaps I was on Sudanese TV.
I'm pretty sure this sign was for us, but it's messed up a couple key points...
I’m pretty sure this sign was for us, but it’s messed up a couple key points…
This is sorghum, I guess! One of the top crops in Sudan.
This is sorghum, I guess! One of the top crops in Sudan.
This is the sorghum storage facility control room (not a 70s bond movie villain room as it looks like)
This is the sorghum storage facility control room (not a 70s bond movie villain room as it looks like)
Thought it was strange to be in a place where this kind of aid is needed..
Thought it was strange to be in a place where this kind of aid is needed..
Sudan's biggest grain storage facility! And they only have 4 facilities total.
Sudan’s biggest grain storage facility! And they only have 4 facilities total.
Gadaref markets were pretty fun to just walk around at...
Gadaref markets were pretty fun to just walk around at…
Alex Birgit and I went for a run the morning of our rest day and Alessandro here did some bootcamp work... We're all crazy.
Alex Birgit and I went for a run the morning of our rest day and Alessandro here did some bootcamp work… We’re all crazy.
Birgit and I again tempt our gastro system and succeed (this time......)
Birgit and I again tempt our gastro system and succeed (this time……)
Our details for our last day in Sudan... 166km to the camp in Ethiopia! God, it was a slog. 47 degrees!!!
Our details for our last day in Sudan… 166km to the camp in Ethiopia! God, it was a slog. 47 degrees!!!
My morning actually started off strong, with David W (one of the fast Davids, especially fast these days) for the first half of the race morning before I fell off and eventually finished 2nd by like 25 minutes.
My morning actually started off strong, with David W (one of the fast Davids, especially fast these days) for the first half of the race morning before I fell off and eventually finished 2nd by like 25 minutes.
Sediq caught up with us for a while too, actually he's the reason Dave dropped me, always pushing our pace up! Strong rider.
Sediq caught up with us for a while too, actually he’s the reason Dave dropped me, always pushing our pace up! Strong rider.
Birgit stopped for a picture of these colourful school kids!
Birgit stopped for a picture of these colourful school kids!
The army jeep in the background had the biggest gun ever and escorted us for a while, kind of creepily. Also this pic was very illegal.
The army jeep in the background had the biggest gun ever and escorted us for a while, kind of creepily. Also this pic was very illegal.
Birgit took her one last remaining pic to take in Sudan... the round topped houses.
Birgit took her one last remaining pic to take in Sudan… the round topped houses.
One of the best stocked coke stops we found in our trip so far! Amazing! I had two drinks.
One of the best stocked coke stops we found in our trip so far! Amazing! I had two drinks.
And outside, pouring water on myself... This still wasn't enough! 47 degrees!!!
And outside, pouring water on myself… This still wasn’t enough! 47 degrees!!!
One last pic of the coke stop. These crates is usually how we identify them..
One last pic of the coke stop. These crates is usually how we identify them..
Chris, being exhausted at the border. Like we were. This day was just too long and too hot!
Chris, being exhausted at the border. Like we were. This day was just too long and too hot!
Alessandro and Leah riding into an Ethiopian Village. These pictures are all Birgit for a bit since I was curled in a ball in a truck or under a tree somewhere!
Alessandro and Leah riding into an Ethiopian Village. These pictures are all Birgit for a bit since I was curled in a ball in a truck or under a tree somewhere!
Bikes bikes bikes and kids kids kids. This is the Ethiopian experience.
Bikes bikes bikes and kids kids kids. This is the Ethiopian experience.
Young David enjoying a stop.
Young David enjoying a stop.
Kids!
Kids!
Love the look on this kid's face.
Love the look on this kid’s face.
Shade is a valuble commodity too!
Shade is a valuble commodity too!
Alex surrounded by fans.
Alex surrounded by fans.
Fans staring at us by the truck!
Fans staring at us by the truck!
The scenery is so much different than in Sudan! Mountains!
The scenery is so much different than in Sudan! Mountains!
Ina killing it as our sick truck takes a break and some pictures.
Ina killing it as our sick truck takes a break and some pictures.
Pepsi in Aramaic
Pepsi in Aramaic
I'm a little sad I missed out on so much terrain like this! Looking forward to more going forward!
I’m a little sad I missed out on so much terrain like this! Looking forward to more going forward!
Loading some bikes onto one of the trucks.
Loading some bikes onto one of the trucks.
A local cycle!
A local cycle!
Some kids posing with the local cycle, lol
Some kids posing with the local cycle, lol
Everything we do in the countryside has a huge following!
Everything we do in the countryside has a huge following!
My gross beard face before it all got shaved off.
My gross beard face before it all got shaved off.
Meanwhile Birgit is still on the road, entering the city and the masses at the celebration or protest or whatever it was in Gondar when we arrived.
Meanwhile Birgit is still on the road, entering the city and the masses at the celebration or protest or whatever it was in Gondar when we arrived.
Some local cyclists in the crowd too!
Some local cyclists in the crowd too!
Feeling better on the hill above Gondar, and shaved!
Feeling better on the hill above Gondar, and shaved!
Getting some western food, too!
Getting some western food, too!
Using my sleeping bag liner in my hotel room... Eep.
Using my sleeping bag liner in my hotel room… Eep.
An Ethiopian Church, much different than the style of European churches.
An Ethiopian Church, much different than the style of European churches.
The insides are also adorned quite differently!
The insides are also adorned quite differently!
It's just a very stark contrast from European art and everything!
It’s just a very stark contrast from European art and everything!
No interpreter, but I assume this is black Satan or something?
No interpreter, but I assume this is black Satan or something?
The Altar
The Altar
The last rule is kind of interesting...
The last rule is kind of interesting…
Just outside the main cathedral part..
Just outside the main cathedral part..
Parrot-like bird, many of these flying around..
Parrot-like bird, many of these flying around..
Jennilea was our tour guide for the day, reading stuff out of Lonely Planet
Jennilea was our tour guide for the day, reading stuff out of Lonely Planet
Birgit got a sweet picture at the church of this guy having a moment.
Birgit got a sweet picture at the church of this guy having a moment.
Then we were off to the Castle..
Then we were off to the Castle..
Not sure what we were all looking at, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't much!
Not sure what we were all looking at, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t much!
Our hotel is there on the hill! Goha Hotel.
Our hotel is there on the hill! Goha Hotel.
Birgit and Anne walk near the castle... New riders Steve and Kim in the foreground.
Birgit and Anne walk near the castle… New riders Steve and Kim in the foreground.
The royal bath, a few km down the road from the castle. Empty at the moment. :(
The royal bath, a few km down the road from the castle. Empty at the moment. 🙁
Jennilea and I checking out the Lonely Planet.
Jennilea and I checking out the Lonely Planet.
Unsure what this was really, something to do with school track meets maybe?
Unsure what this was really, something to do with school track meets maybe?
Having some lunch after a long site seeing day!
Having some lunch after a long site seeing day!
Cold sick me selfie..
Cold sick me selfie..
Then one of these bugs appears!!! OMG! One landed on me the other day, it's so huge!
Then one of these bugs appears!!! OMG! One landed on me the other day, it’s so huge!
The little place I saw today had a tv and dvd player and all kinds of things like that.
The little place I saw today had a tv and dvd player and all kinds of things like that.
But was only this big.
But was only this big.
The bike donation ceremony, Birgit took some pics here!
The bike donation ceremony, Birgit took some pics here!
Birgit giving away a bike...
Birgit giving away a bike…
Catharine too!
Catharine too!
Pics of Gondar life.
Pics of Gondar life.
These are all homes, I think. Crammed together and tiny.
These are all homes, I think. Crammed together and tiny.
There's some nice desserts here in Gondar though!
There’s some nice desserts here in Gondar though!
Taking a Tuk-Tuk back to the hotel again!
Taking a Tuk-Tuk back to the hotel again!

7 thoughts on “Catching up from Gadaref to Gondar. OR: How many ways can you get ill in Ethiopia?”

  1. Way to keep up with the posting, Scott! I love seeing all the photos. Being sick sounds brutal though 🙁 clearly your body needed some rest after all that riding in the heat. Are you feeling uber fit and strong now? Can’t believe you’ve been riding for almost a month now!

  2. Great pics and post…..specially the one with the kids. Get fit and get your ass on that bike already! Get well man and keep posting. Thanks for sharing all this great stuff 🙂

  3. Wow man, that is some intense riding/journeying/illness! I’m glad to hear you’re feeling better, I’ve had heat exhaustion, and it’s bad enough without having to bike in 47 degree weather. Ethiopia looks incredible, thanks for posting all the pics. Looking forawrd to more stories when you can sned thme, in th emean time, keep having fun and enjoying the adventure.

    Rob

  4. Scott what amazing posts, I’m always looking forward to the updates of your adventure. Sorry to hear about being sick those days, hopefully there are no more to follow.

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