Anyway, trip updates. Sudan was really something else. A lot of heat, a lot flat roads and lots of days blending together. I don't make it sound like much fun but don't get me wrong - what really stands out from my time there was the people and the small rural villages we cycled through on our off-road days. One of my favourite experiences from the last month was in Wadi Halfa, the first town we encountered once we entered Sudan. After spending a few weeks in Egypt in the off-season when everyone you pass seems to want to get something out of you, you start expecting it and become quite cautious about any interaction with locals. A fellow cyclist and I were wandering around and saw a tea seller, so we decided to sit down and try some. A local man who's English was hardly better than the tea seller's - she spoke none whatsoever - was already sitting there. He sat us down and helped us to ask for some tea, then we attempted to communicate for a while before he proceeded to pay for our tea and leave, refusing to accept our money. Such a change from Egypt and a great introduction to the friendly and helpful people of Sudan.
So far I have been astonished by the abruptness of border crossings. Crossing into Sudan, suddenly the people were darker, the people were more friendly or even (gasp) ignored you as you walked around, and even the weather was suddenly much hotter. Crossing into Ethiopia was surreal - women were less covered and interacted with other people very differently, you heard western music and there was alcohol again. I can see how someone travelling into Ethiopia from Sudan would think that Christianity and booze made people crazy. The border town of Matema was nearly overwhelming for a bunch of exhausted and ill cyclists. The landscape changed too, now very hilly. It is gorgeous but has made for some hard climbing days although the higher we get the more it cools down. COOLS DOWN. How exciting is that.
We have a double rest day here in Gonder, and I have been using it to try to recuperate a bit. Recovery has been a little like a roller coaster though. Hopefully I will be feeling well enough to ride tomorrow - only two riding days until our next rest day at Bahir Dar. Riding in Ethiopia is laced with challenges, not only the hills. Although so far I haven't had much trouble yet we are repeatedly warned about children throwing rocks and sticks and damn those kids are accurate. Most of the kids have been very friendly even if it does get on your nerves to cycle to a chorus of "youyouyouyouyouyouyou" every day. Hopefully a good attitude will get me through the next month with few problems. I will update again sometime in the next three months hopefully.