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Published: February 27th 2003
Leaving Waza, we flew along decent roads till we got to Kousseri, the last town on the road to Chad. We stopped here for food, partly as Cameroon is meant to be cheaper than Chad, but also that Chad is meant to have less food available. Which I guess are tied together - less food makes what is available more expensive. Not that we used many SIFCAS rations either, just a few tins. At least, not while we were on the truck, but more on that later.
Crossing the border was easy enough, actually leaving the border was harder. Lunch time prayers had started and the road was full of worshipping men.
Colin and I decided when we reached N'Djamena, the capital of Chad, to get off the truck for a couple of weeks and fly to Khartoum and get around Sudan ourselves and the truck was not planning to stop anywhere. We actually want to see something in these countries we are driving through, and Sudan was one place the truck wasn't planning to stop much in.
Once in N'Djamena, we couldn't get much done as it was a Friday (Muslim country). The person at the
Ministry of Immigration had gone home, all the shops were shut...so we drove round to “La Caravelle” and camped up. There as meant to be an old aeroplane in this bar / restaurant / campground, but all that was left was a couple of engines.
Monday came round, the bank opened and we bought ourselves tickets to Khartoum. Then the truck left without us, and the nightmare began.
Well, it didn't leave straight away, but...before it did we had time to look round town, find a “hotel” to stay in, chat with a guy researching for Lonely Planet, find restaurants with no food, meet some miserable people travelling with Economic...
Back to the nightmare. The night before our flight was due to leave (after having three time changes) we heard on the BBC world service that the border had been closed as rebels had taken over the Darfur area and there was fighting between them and the army. This implied that the trucks wouldn't get across and so we couldn't meet them. After much debate, we decided to put off our flights by a week and see what happens, we'd still beat them to eastern Sudan and
get to see a few things. The two trucks from Economic Expeditions were in N'Djamena at the time and had heard the same news. Some of their passengers had been to the French embassy in town and had been told pretty much the same, that there was no way we could even bribe our way across the border. We decided to get on one of their trucks for the ride out to the border, expecting to meet up with our own truck at some point. We found out why Economic were so much cheaper than Oasis too. Old bus seats with no headrests, trucks falling apart...
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