I almost never went to Muscat. Oman’s capital, which had at one time been the end point to this tour, lost some of its appeal once I arrived in the town of Ibri and took a much needed break. I was now much closer to the UAE and Abu Dhabi, where my brother had recently moved. This seemed a more fitting place to finish a tour. Unless I were to fly out or take a boat to Iran, this really would be the end of the road.
North to Abu Dhabi: Mwanza-Muscat Part 17 February 27th, 2016
And the winner goes to… A year in reflection December 31st, 2010
I started the year learning to surf in Morocco and I’m finishing it drinking a lot of beer in Cameroon. Between then I’ve crossed 14 countries in Africa and cycled about 12,000km, collecting more than a few stories along the way. Here is a review of some of the highlights, lowlights and other interesting observations from my year on the road. If there is a category you’d like to add please post a comment to let me know. Happy New year.
Most atmospheric place: Harper, Liberia. A town full of war-ravaged buildings, surrounded by beautiful palm-fringed beaches.
Out of the desert:Nouakchott-St Louis February 24th, 2010
I followed a Toyata land cruiser out of Nouakchott. Sidi Ali, who’d been my excellent guide to the city, offered to escort me onto the right road towards Senegal. As we said goodbye he gave me some advice. “Make sure you tie your bicycle chain around your ankle when you get there”. How reassuring I remarked.
Bad-mouthing the people who live in your neighbouring country seems to be commonplace all over the World. Moroccans will warn you about being kidnapped in Mauritania , just as Indians will happily tell you Pakistanis are all terrorists and the Chinese might attack the Japanese on the subject of war crimes. I’m struggling to think of a country I’ve travelled through where someone has remarked about their neighbours “You will love it there. The people are so kind and friendly”.
The heat is on February 14th, 2010
“Dawn and dusk – these are the most pleasant hours in Africa. The sun is either not yet scorching, or it is no longer so – it lets you be, lets you live.” (Rysard Kapuscinski)
Gone with the wind: South to the border February 6th, 2010
“I always loved the desert. It sits on a sand dune. You see nothing. You hear nothing. And yet something shines in silence.” (Antoine St Exupery)
“The desert is a true treasure for him who seeks refuge from men and the evil of men. In it is contentment. In it is death and all you seek.” (Ibrahim- al-Koni)
“Now there was a grey insect-like vegetation everywhere, a tortured scrub of hard shells and stiff hairy spines that covered the earth like an excrescence of hatred.” (Paul Bowles)
Door to the desert December 20th, 2009
Situated in a barren plateau south of the High Atlas mountains and north of the Sahara lies Ouarzazate (War-Zazat), a modern town by Moroccan standards. A long way from the medieval medinas of Marrakesh and Fez, the main boulevard here is lined with tour companies – Desert dream, Camel Safari, Saharan voyage (anything connected with the desert) and 4x4s waiting to whisk tourists to the sands of the south. Most probably don’t stay here long; other than the city’s Kasbah there’s not much to see. Just as well as my feet, or rather left foot, needs a rest.