Day 207, 13594 km
Click here for a map of my ongoing route around the world!
Hey ho everybody!
Christmas coming up soon and I hope you all celebrate it with your loved ones all traditionally as you want it to be. That is not quite how my christmas is going to be but I still can feel my loved ones close to me, pushing and helping me on my adventure who now has reached town of Tan-tan in Western Sahara. The town even has a symbolic gate made out of two camles facing eachother. As I passed it the weather was not very deserty though. Cloudy was a follow up from rain during the night. Here I am now sitting in the house of a newfound friend, Youness. We met when I had lunch in town and since my new mastercard not has arrived yet (it is beeing sent to the postoffice here in Tan-tan) he let me stay here with his family. Youness is a couple of years younger than me and works as a car mechanic in town, absolutely not dealing with motorcycles:P. But we will talk more about our meeting later on..
Now I want to mention my friend Jim Scarborough, you remember the sharkfeeder from Blueplanet Aquarium in Emerells Port, England? The guy with the shark slippers? Yep, that´s him..He entered a 4k traditionrace last week called Santa Dash in Chester, England.
But since Jim has a science background, dealing with threshersharks in Malapascua, Philipines, he wanted to make this a fundraiser for their cause after the typhoon. So why catch some attention and run in a full Scubagear minus the fins? That was his goal and also made it through on the time of 22.40.
I lift my hat (or helmet) off for you Jim, a cool idea for a great cause!
While Jim was sweating in his santasuit, I was too but in Marrakesh where I left town without my wallet but still with a good feeling inside of me. I mean, things like this will likely happen on a trip such as mine and I am not Mr Perfect. So the aim for me is to “minimalize” these occations with help from my own experience and common sense. Summed up I learn from my mistakes to become a greater and more responsible person. With this in my mental backpack I know that WesternUnion is a great way to transfer money fast without any trouble. At least in this part of the world and that it is a good idea to spread out the money a bit for a backup. This last thing I knew but that is where I made the mistake. The whole situation solved itself very nice with Souffiane who helped me with internet so I could block cards and phone my parents for a transfer. If I had my money spread out I could have solved this on my own and if Souffiane had not showed up, I would be forced to “beg & please” to use the internet. Not the most charming way to fix things.
I think everything has a solution as long as you just put some effort & energy in the cause.
The weather had now become warmer and warmer which especially made the tentnights much more welcoming, where I now could sleep without ALL my clothing. My drysession during lunch is not happening anymore on a standard day, well yes if it has been raining. But a little problem was still this thing with sending my postcards. The wifi in Africa is often to weak and I failed to send them. But I solved this by buying a prepaid simcard with internet. The cost is about €2.5 per week for 300 mb and is well enough for me aswell as check my email from time to time:) I will use this solution more in the desert to blog and I can now see myself sitting in my mobile office, my laptop on a cyclepannier:) This will become reality so I will show you that on the blog most deffinitly:) This little cellphone of mine is smart in a couple of other ways too. I can through google maps download maps for offline use. That is good since the desert only has one road to follow:) Feels like a bit of overkill to buy a map for that. I will also try google translate that also offer offline language packs for translation. This I think will come in handy since my arabic/french is not fluent so to speak:P I read that you also can speak to the app and get the phrase read back in another language, such as taking photos of text (signs etc) and translate that way. More about that when I have tried it:)
I am also using a guide for sahara that a bicycle friend (Jean Baptiste on FREEWHEELY.COM) has made. He is right now in Cameron on his way to Southafrica and has a very interesting blog. I have been inspired by his way through Ivorycoast and Ghana for my own route. Can´t wait for that! He has also described some problems during his way that I will try to avoid such as prescription on my malariapills (could be stripped from you otherwise), visa to Mauretania where the dates not really is the actual visa dates, it is the dates where I should enter the country, the only visa to Ivorycoast is for 3 months and costs €90 (!) and this guide with water and food through westsahara. I add this pdf below so you can follow me aswell:)
So now you can almost ride with me among the sand:) As a swedish note it says that the tapwater is not drinkable after Dahkla. This is where I will start to buy bottled water and purify it with Xinix, a swedish company who supports victims in Haiti and also sponsoring several multisportsteam all over the world.
There are also 2 stops off the mainroad there (Dahkla and Nouadhibou) which each are 80 km to and from the mainroad. If I have enough water and food the plan is not to pass these villages.
My way was now to go for the coast and the ocean and that was the only thing in my mind! With the more welcoming climate this time flew by qiute nicely. In the town of Tiznit there was a man who suggested a detour of 40 km to me. “The mountains are 500 metres high” was his argument. I then explained to him that I have just passed the Atlas with mountains 4 times that height:) He then answered me that he thought I was a brave boy:)
I was also more and more reminded about how football really is religion. I saw every day people sitting together in front if the tv watching this thing where 22 guys kick a circulur ball around and that this really make people come closer to eachother with mostly happiness. Even in the smallest villages, people saw my swedish outfit and yelled “Zlatan Ibrahimovic”. This guy is phenomenal and everybody knows him! Here I want to say thank you to big brother Portugal who was to great for Sweden in the world championship qualifications. This was a conversation between a guy and me:
Guy: “Sweden, Zlatan Ibrahimovic! You lost against Portugal, no going to Brazil.”
Me: “Yes, too bad. But Zlatan was good.”
Guy: “Yes, sorry for that. Here take some oranges”.
And I got some fruit just like that:)
By Mirleft on the coast was when it happened, my beloved and longed for return to to ocean and I threw myself in faster than anyone can say “winner winner chicken dinner!”. Chilly, big surf and strong rip currents but so nice to clean of a little bit. From that point the last bit of km to Sidi Ifni, where my night whereabouts were planned, was easy and enjoyful. Beautiful coastline as always all around the world.
Morning after I passed the last serious hills until Dakar, Senegal. Now it is all getting more flat by each day. I turned south after Guelmim on the road the I will stick to for a couple of weeks. The wind will be in my back the whole time so therefor I count for at least 150 km per day, if nothing strange happens. I have heard from many different sources (police and regulars) that the landmine situation in Westsahara are ok if you stick lose to the roads. A few km inland is where it starts to get dangerous. But I am not taking any chances here and will first hand camp by military camps and second hand where I can see obvious tracks in the sand from vehicles etc. The situation is different in the area between Mauritania and Westsahara, in the “No Mans Land” but more about that when I am actually there.
Here in Tan-Tan I am waiting for my VISA card to arrive by post and living with Youness and his family. We met after my lunchbreak here in town and has been very kind. His english is as good as my french and arabic so we communicate a lot with my cellphone and has been exploring Tan-tan a little bit with his friends. I have been served great morockan food and is so grateful:)
So my plan now is to continue towards Dakar and then my route is as follows The Gambia–>back to Senegal–>Guinea–>Ivory Coast–>Accra, Ghana where I will be finished with this section of my around the world trip. This “2nd half” will take me just over a month and my goal is to leave at latest March 1st to reach USA in spring and for another reason..
..With my and Lindas future together 3 years is a long time on the road. So I have decided to take a few breaks to come home and see her and off course my other family. This breaks will happen 1st hand when I fly from 1 continent to another but will also happen in the middle of South America for an example. The plan is to fund this by working on the swedish post while I am at home. Since I am not working so much I do not have to pay taxes and therefor it is very efficient to work these days. I plan to be home on a saturday/sunday, then work monday to friday for going back to cycling saturday/sunday. So 1 week at a time is the plan:) This is because I can not see a future without Linda and it is very important to us to be together <3
Linda supports me 100% in my trip and I also feel support from family and friends all over the world. Thank you a lot for that and for beeing there. Not so much pictures this week, but I have made a lot of filming which will be uploaded in the end of the desert. A good way to show Morocko from the sadle:)