4O K, North of Argo, Nubian Desert Sudan....

Beyond the Saddle ....Cairo to Cape Town
Howard Fairbank
Sat 27 Jan 2007 21:41
End of Cycling day 12.....one day till rest day at Dongola!

Position: 19:54.214N 30:29.204E

Another long day out there in the desert...left at 7 10 am, just when light
enough, about an hour before sunrise, and arrived at out REAL desert camp at
15h30.....80km cycled...but there is a trick.....I had lots of fun today,
and a long and very relaxing stop around 13h30 at this village cafe come tea
room....so not all hard work...!

I said above REAL desert camp.....well there is absolutely nothing here, was 45 deg c at 4pm, no trees and the worst thing is....the Nile is only 4km away....don't know why we had to go for this location!!!

The roads were pretty bad for the fist half of the day...lots of rocks,
corrugation, and plenty of deep sand! The softeep sand punishes, as I'd be
cycling along at 30km/h then suddenly hit the soft sand come virtually to a
standstill shed all the gears as quickly as possible and then pump the legs
like crazy to plough through the sand.....leg muscles burning as I get back
onto firmer sand.....

Enough of the cycling....

I had the privilege of being invited into this reasonably affluent (Sudanese
standards!) home today.....she was the artist for all the paintings in the
place, he was an ex footballer how had newspaper clippings of him over the
walls, and they together had built their clay brick house......it was really
nice, tastefull decorated, no windows, just open air for the
climate.....really nice people.

Rode into a village where a whole bunch of kids were on the way to
school....3 kids on a donkey, others by bike, others walking, and all
curiously friendly.

The end of the day cafe I mentioned above was just the treat of the
week.....they had cold 'cold drinks' and cold yoghurt.....the same cold from
the refrigeration process that you probably take for granted everyday!!
First time we had come acroos this in Sudan.

People remain hugely friendly.....it will be intersting to see how this
changes in Dongola, and Khartoum.

Tomorrow sees us do our first true desert crossing just before Dongola, so
its been agreed we will all go in one group. More in my next newsletter from

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