All roads lead to Roman-style decadence and excess

Or perhaps just cheap online fights lead to Rome. After flying from Luxor we spent a few days in a little boutique hotel in the central Campo Marzio area near the Piazza del Paradiso. Here, amongst Renaissance architecture and throngs of sandalled tourists, we rediscovered exquisite Western delicacies that had been absent from the African campgrounds and hostels during our previous four months of travel. … Continue reading All roads lead to Roman-style decadence and excess

Sightseeing during a military coup

For tourists looking to explore Egypt’s inspiring and mysterious past, we spent an awful lot of time thinking about its disheartening present while it was splurged in real-time across the world through on-the-ground news reports, twitter and all other manner of implausibly new-fangled communications media. On 3rd July 2013, about four weeks prior to our arrival in the country, the Egyptian military announced that President … Continue reading Sightseeing during a military coup

Wadi Halfa – Borderline Personality

‘Hundreds of miles of land border and we have to cross over this f*cking lake’, was the recurring obsessive thought I had for the 24 hours it took to get from Sudan into Egypt. Wadi Halfa, the world’s most inconvenient and needless ferry, has gained infamy amongst overland travellers in Africa and is a rite of passage for those travelling from Cape Town to Cairo. … Continue reading Wadi Halfa – Borderline Personality

How to drink beer in Sudan without getting lashed

Forty lashes. That is the penalty for getting caught with alcohol in Sudan under Sharia law. Forty of them. And I’m pretty sure that getting caught during Ramadan would not be considered as mitigating circumstances by the authorities. So booze was off the menu for the nine days we were in the country. Fortunately a shopkeeper in the desert town of Atbara helpfully pointed out … Continue reading How to drink beer in Sudan without getting lashed

Ethiopian Driving Joke

After 4 months of driving through Africa I’ve lost count of the number of times our truck has braked suddenly and I’ve winced, expecting to hear the thump and splattering of goat / donkey / dog / human flesh across the bumper. Somehow our body count remains a benign zero. Roads aren’t just for vehicles – they’re for walking, socialising, markets, football games, praying, and … Continue reading Ethiopian Driving Joke

Ethiopian History 101

With an eclectic cast of characters including the Queen of Sheba, a 3.2 million year old hominid named Lucy, and the Rastafarian messiah, Ethiopia’s history is rich, layered, and often fantastical. In fact, as the only country in Africa not to have been colonised, one of the world’s first countries to adopt Christianity, with over eighty ethnic groups, its own indigenous script, a prophetic fusing … Continue reading Ethiopian History 101