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999 Days Around Africa: The Road Chose Me
I move North to Atbara, and even though the Titan Gas tank is still full, I decide it’s better to buy gas whenever possible. After asking around in a few stations one man says he will jump in the Jeep with me and show me across town to one station that does have gas. When we get close I know he is right – there are easily five hundred vehicle waiting in line.
Again everyone insists I go straight to the front of the line, where people shake my hand and welcome me to Sudan. After waiting about an hour the gas starts to flow, and once again the Jeep is full to the brim. I drop the man back where I picked him up, and he asks for nothing at all – he simply shakes my hand and wishes me all the best.
People here are outrageously friendly and kind.
I cut directly West from Atbara, on a paved road that slices right through the desert. What these photos don’t show is the intense and relentless wind. Never in my life have I experienced wind so strong, and it makes being outside the Jeep seriously unpleasant.
Even a three minute leg stretch and bathroom break is extremely testing, and I soon realize I’m a virtual prisoner inside the Jeep – it’s the only place I can escape the wind.
Because it is mostly a headwind the Jeep uses significantly more gas than usual, and so late in the afternoon I stop at a small town in hopes of finding more. Once again near the mighty river this is obviously a farming region, and the line up for diesel is enormous, while only five vehicles wait for gas. Happily it’s no problem to again fill the tank.
One the edge of the small town I stumble upon more huge pyramids, and I wander the site all alone for as long as I can tolerate the howling wind which is now throwing sheets of sand into my face.
Late in the afternoon I simply drive off the road and into the dunes, going in almost a mile until I find a suitable place that is somewhat sheltered from the wind.
As darkness falls the wind dies down significantly, and I enjoy a few hours of silent stargazing trying to comprehend how enormous this desert is.