Posted by: returnoftheheroes | August 6, 2008

Mali

So chaps

Its been a while we currently are in Abuja in Nigeria and have been with out internet for a while so a quick country updqte for you guys to wet your whistle with.

Mali

Pretty big place, lots of empty space. it seemed to change completely as we came over tyhe border from Mouri.  besides our infraction with the traffic cop thigns were pretty cool there. we left Bamako to head up to Djenne which has the world heritage mud mosque.  … yeah it was ok. can’t say i will be heading back in a hurry though.  the green machine had to catch a random ferry to get over there which caused a bit of a worry as the ferry didn’t exactly come right up to the beach/. but like a star it encountered another hurdle and delt with it forthwith. happy days. we got mobbed byt he local tour guide tout crowd but ended up having a very nice guided tour around the city learnign its history and the like. we spent the night up on the roof undersome very makeshift mozzie nets. and got rudely awake at 5am by the call to prayer, dustie slept through it as per usual.

after our tour aroudn the city we got ourselves back ontot he ferry and headed a bit back on ourselves and south tot he Bukina Faso border. what was going to be quit e a quick trip descended into three hours of car crunching aginy as the “red Route” turned intoa massive pothole with smaller potholes in it. plus it started raining cats and dogs which helped. it took us those three hours to crawl 50 km. where upon we came across a junction and mistakenly turned left and promptly got pulled over by some cop who happened to be guarding this completely deserted stretch of road. we manged to avoid an infraction with a present of a cigar.  managed ot make the border with out further incident and were ushered through with minimal of hassle. they tried their usual tricks for presents and export visas and th like but we told them to jog on

overall, Mali was good to us, pleasent driving good roads with the exception of that one road.  plenty of space.

Posted by: returnoftheheroes | July 31, 2008

Day 11 and 12

Youd’d think i would start gettign used to these keybopards after a while but i’ m not so stand by for some more q’s where there should be a’s and the like

so we left you on tender hooks at my latest driving infraction ib the capital of mori, we spent the night in the Auberge Le Dunes which was a suitably seedy place to spend the night. the usual supper of Tagine and Frites. we couldn’t quite identifiy the meat, i’m sticking with it beign chicken but Dustie is pretty sure that it isn’.t

so we left bright and early. i navigated us onto a route heading tot he North East town of Atar 400 km away and in the middle of the desert. fortunatley it became pretty obvious after a while based onthe suns positiobn relative to our own. so fortunatley watchign all that Ray Mears has paid off a little and we did a quick You turn after 10 mins and headed out of town the correct way witht he sun in the right position.

The first couple fo hours was the usual deserty landscape, the dunes here and there0. the landscape really doesn’t lend itself to eye spy very easily. pretty much four guesses and you will have eli,inated 98% of what can be seen. but then we broke into the open country and if became quite obvious that it was the rainy season.

Mauritania wasn,t deserty, it was pretty damn green. everywhere we could see was green witht hese massive openlandscapes. it was liek this for a while when we started to hit the mountainious region of Mauri which was very pleasent. the Hills relly pop up and have some fantastic wind swept shapes (oh and if you think i’m getting a lmittle unduely excited about this; all we’ve seen for the last week is desert, so yeah keep it to yourself)

unfortunatley we started hittign a slight problem abotu 200km west of Kiffa, we had to fill up our Green Machine from the jerry cans as we were out of petrol, normally not a problem but in the last 500 km we had no passed a single petrol station. plenty of diseal stations  but no petrol. we rolled into Kiffa pretty much of fumes to find the only petrol station east of the capital jsut about where we duely filled up  and continued onwards to Ayuone and what a treat that place was.

We arrived after dark along a road which in parts threaterned to shake and rattle our entire car to pieces, raced against a meercedes which was trying to pull us over or soemthing with some random person telling us to stop. Unfortunqtley for him there was little chence of that as it was dark, they were all over the shop and we’ve got a timetable to keep. anyways Ayoune we managed to bloz right through it missing the only hotel in town before hitting another Aurberge. Seriously tell your friends about this place. we were shozn a room for 20 euro which was jsut under 120F and only contained a half the known bug population in the world. we alternatively cooked supper and killed bugs in there ,for an hour before we decided the flea encrusted matterasses where a poor choice compared to our tent. so we ended up camping int he courtyard. and before we hear talk of us being scardy cats. these aren’t your regular bugs these where the size of half your thumb big beasts. we kept killign them and ,ore would turn up to collect the freshly killed.

So we got up early and hightailed it to the border. almost blew through the Carnet Checkpoint. to be honest the whole Mauri Mali border was extremely painless. the Mauri’s unliek the ithe Morrocans didn’t keep us for like 5 hours and the Mali just gave us some stampos and the like for some money.

 

Mali somehow seemed to be completley different but still the same. the people right from the start were far more african as to arab like across the border, the clothing changed as well from the big arab robes to the more fo the colourful pajama ghet up popular in west africa. and some how there were even less people.

 fantastic road from the border right intot he capital. not a lot to be said except i think we will be filling up with prtrol inthe big stations as petrol inthe smaller places is sold by the bottle. and then we hit Bamako

Our first taste of a big african city. lets jsut say we spend 3-‘4 hours driving around tryign to make any sence of the city layout. and then we got another infraction. these cops seem to be jsut waiting for a slip up. this one was a particular dick. cost us 40 euros which sucked. we firs tof all found a hotel clsoe tot he centre of the tozn north fo the river. when i say it was a htoel i think it was more likely a hostel for the recently released and the insane. the green machine was beign scoped immediatlmey as we came in. we left about 10 mins later after sayign we were just poping out for a bite to eat.

we ende dup saying in a great hotel jsut south of the river a little expensive but by this point it didn’t matter. it had cold beer and hot chicken and now we’re off to see the mud mosque.

A few things to note

There are checkpoints through out. they are all desperate to stop and speak to us. they all ask for a present but we jsut play dumb. but its wears you down and adds to the journey time which is a pain. anyways i’m sure its jsut going to get worse as we hit Nigeria.

Guards at the border

Guards at the border

Green Desert

Green Desert

Inquistive goats

Inquistive goats

Camels in the desert

Camels in the desert

Posted by: returnoftheheroes | July 28, 2008

9&10 days

Quick update

as this keyboard is stiicky and crazy layout again

in the capitl of Mauri

when we last left you we were at the top of W Sahara

We  motored down hard core. again a whole bunch of nothing in patrticular. lots of sand and camekls. gotto Dakhla in the lunch time. quite a cool place its built out on a pinesula. lovely big beaches stretching every where. loads of windsurfers and kitesurfersd about. didn’t sty loing though an dpushed on tot he border

ended up taking a right towards the beach at a petrol station about 60 km from the border. best move yet. we rocked up in this little fishing shanty. where they showed us this awesome little cove to camp. gave us this enournmlous fish and some 2kgs of langustines all for a packet of cigs. had a great meal, but terrible night sleep, the wind was howling

hit the border first thing inthe moring

the morrocqns hate to se you leave. we spent 6 hours there going from one luine to another. everyone is writing doznt he same bit of information like 20 m a part but youhave to que for each one.

anyways got through and had to travel across no mans land which literally was no mans land. hid all our beer in silly places as it is illiegal to bring beer in. got to the border got asked for our first bribe. i played dumb and we got the visa’s anyways. niot a lot to be said really had a bit of a muision finding petrol but go some in the end. these guuys love their check points even more here. literally in th middle of the desert but mae good time to the capital.

got shaken down by some traffic cop for an “infraction” so that was 10 euro wasted on him. tried to get out of it but no luck. now in a fiarly decent camping hotel in the cetnre of town

going to try and push for the mali border tommorow with the aim of cross ing it the day after.

4500 miles on the clock in 10 days!

Posted by: returnoftheheroes | July 26, 2008

day 8&9

Currently on locqtion in Western Sahara. this place uis awesome if you are into police check points. sand. camels on the road. sun and scrub land. other than that. not os much, actually they do have very cheap petrol, like 50p a litre which isg iving our finances a much needed break.

goign to be quick as there is a tagine on its way.

left maralesh yesterday morning. drove through literally an oven. it was roasting on this really really slow road but got to agadier in reasonable time where we stopped at a macro and procceeded to buy. motor oil. beer. orginia. and pasta in that order pretty much.

had some hassle getting out of the store but all worke dout

ended up camping near sidi ifni along the cost which zqs cool, had a few beers

got auit elost on literally a one route out of tozn zhich cost us a fezw hours the next day but all worked out, came inland and pushe donto western saharah by lunch time.

we,re about 200 km from the largest town in W Sahara.

going to push for the border tomorrow so hopefully we can cross it on monday mornign first thign and head to the capital where we are going to pick up our Mali visa,s

 

oh and i have officially joined the motoring community, got busted doing 65km/h in a 40 zone. not cool that was a 40 euro fine. literally in the desert. middle of no where. but at least no points.

Posted by: returnoftheheroes | July 25, 2008

Important Advances in Car Cooling

Through this trip we have had time to start postulating a theory about performance  of cars covered in fake grass. it is co,ing to our attention that we might have in advertently come across the next big thing. the car is progressing very smotthly despite the intense heat. we would liek to postulate a theory that this is due to the excellent heat disappating capacity oif the astroturf. the incredibly large amouint of surface area the surface gives allows the heat to be slowly absorbed but the rapidly cooled by the large amount of wind blowing over it

Car Temp = Sp*A-A*(H*n*pi*r^2)*V

Where

Sp = Sunpower

A = Area of Grass

H = hight of grass

n= number of grqss in square meters

V = velocity of cqr

There is a few bit ,ore tidying upt to do but we feel thqt shortley we will be able to present this at the next Foroum of Adeventurists

Posted by: returnoftheheroes | July 25, 2008

Car Update

SO 3000 miles in and touch wood the car is doing ok.

it appears to be coping witht he heat ok. not sure if the water ismeant to fly up and boil when you take the cap off but the temp gauge says everythign is fine so not knowing any better we are assuming it is.

we appear to be aquiring ,more and more crap along the way. we seem to have less room now that Funke has left so not sure how that works out.

the only problem we seem to have is. a leak coming from the engine. it means we have to check the oil every fez hundread miles or so. as long as we keep it toppe dup everything is fine. we don,t then the car breaks and we go home. so going to buy 20L of thqt before ze push on into the desert

Posted by: returnoftheheroes | July 25, 2008

day 7

***appolgies for the spelling this ti,e it really is the keyboard. literally about to start fitting just looking at it . its that busy************

anyways.

left spain with a few million people (surley hundread. Ed) on the ferry. everyone seemed to have the idea that if they sat on their horn and pushed their car through they would get on first. a little different to the ferry at dover. anyways. we.re just about to board at 2230 for the 2300 sailing when literally feet from, the ramp we get denied entry as we don;t have our boarding passes apparentley we just have a reciet. so quick dash to the ticket off to stand behind 5 chaps who seem to be collecting tickets on behalf of half the ship. anyways got our tickets which was good. and hopped onto the ferry. we had the last laugh as the way it was loaded ze zere literally the first in line to get off.

a pleasent 7 hour crossing to Nador in eastern morroco. usual proceddure for passports and importation was repeated on board. a line of thousands immediatley started queing. so we had a beer and went and slept. went up there 1 hour before we unloaded and there was no line. all cleared in 10 mins. again unloaded and the usual looks and stairs while customs and immigrattion looked at our newley stamped paper work and papers. and “à mins later we were into Nador.

we were very kindly helped by a friendmy dutch/morrocan chap called Khaled who we convoyed with to taza; had we brekkie on the way. roads here are very good and we hit the main highway just after fez. beuty of a road and we made very good time

unfortunatley we saw our firt Roqd Traffic Accident. RTA. about 30 clicks from Rabbat we came accross a new merc which had driven off the road and had flipped over. the guy  did not look in a good way at all. pretty dead looking in fact.  unfortunatley there was very little we could do to help at this point. there were already 20-50 locals on site calling in ambulances and the like. so rather soberly we carried on. but certinally a reality check. no tother car was involved so it was a bit of mystery what coul have caused this. it was literally a straight bit of road in very good nick.

we carried on to Rabbat before proceeding south to cacablanca and eventually marrakesh. we got here just at sun down which; meant it was ideal for navigating through. alogn with the rest of the morrocan population. needless to say. only stoping once for directions we found our selves a car parkign space int he centre of down by the mosque and a hotel for 200 d with air con.

went to Hustle central for supper. so,e how they keep on finding more people as there was like 200-500 stalls all cooking supper for what seemed like thousands along with loads of oj ellers and everything else you could imagine0 very similar to the constant din and feel of parts of india. just non stop. but had a lovely meet kebab and a wander around before hitting the hay. lazy start this l*morning heading out in a little bit.

hopefully pushing on to the border with western saharah today. plqn is to hit Mori by monday morning. going to get the visa.s at the border and the mali visa in the capital. still on track for the plan of being in Mali byt the end of next zeek. but then plans of mice and men;

probably be out of contqct for q while. shoiuld still be qble to keep the txt updates going though.

3100 miles on the clock. beard is looking good, oh and FYI its hotter than an oven ehre. i am sweating like its going out of fashion.

Posted by: dustieorton | July 23, 2008

Day 5/6

Day 5 commenced with military efficiency. Within 20 minutes of being awoken the camp had been packed, teeth brushed and the showers ignored. After a quick fuel stop we hit the motorway from Strasbourg and started making some good progress. It felt especially good to start our 5th day on the road as it was the first to start with us heading towards africa. However, the Kilometres (like miles but smaller) didn´t go quite as quickliy as they could have.  An early plan to avoid toll roads was proving time consuming and the traffic was taking its toll. Travelling in convoy with Cara and Hettie also caused some delays and after spending an hour finding a supermarket, and a coulple more on toilet breaks the girls had truly worn The Heroes patients thin.

At a service station an hour north of Perpignon ( South France), we decided to part ways as the girls were tired and the heroes were hungry for morroccan kebabs. The dicision to go on turned out to be a good one, and as we hit Barcelona the roads were very quiet and we made great progress through the night, morning and early afternoon and made it to the ferry crossing point, Almeria,  at about 3pm on day 6. Odometer showing we´d covered well over 2,500 miles so far. The only other interesting thing of note for day 6 so far is that we gave our first handout (not quite a bribe, more a tip) to a very friendly car park attendent for some sketchy directions and not stealing anything from our car while we brought a ferry ticket.  and so it begins.

¡Onwards!

Posted by: returnoftheheroes | July 23, 2008

Follow us on the road

Follow us on the road

Posted by: returnoftheheroes | July 23, 2008

Day Four

Woke up slightly groggy and were on the road again, we had a quick detour to Prague airport to drop Funke off after discovering the train would get her there a few hours too late. so around 2pm we were actually on the road heading West towards Germany and beyond. Pretty uneventful,

Drove and Drove and Drove. The highways were damn good but boring as hell. Teamed up with some southampton uni medical students, Cara and netty which was a good crack and ended up camping in Strassburg.

Time to get through Europe quickly and start hitting Africa

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