The End of the Road

Posted by Max on Tuesday, February 28, 2012


Today is your day.
You're off to great places!
You're off and away!

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You're on your own. And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who'll decide where to go.

be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray
or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O'Shea,
you're off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So...get on your way!

Oh, the Places You'll Go! 
Dr Seuss

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The Pearl of Africa: Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi

Posted by Max on Tuesday, April 26, 2011
"It seems I am trying to tell you a dream -- making a vain attempt, because no relation of a dream can convey ... that notion of being captured by the incredible, which is the very essence of dreams."
Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness

The last three weeks have been like a dream: tumbling over mountains, through forests, and coming face to face with hippos and hyenas in the heart of Africa's interior. It's been bright and beautiful, and bustling with some of the best people we've met. But it ...
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Tribes and Tribulations: South Ethiopia and Kenya

Posted by Max on Wednesday, March 30, 2011

"He spent 40 days in the wilderness, being tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing during those days. And when they were ended, he was hungry."

The Bible, New Testament

It's been almost 40 days since my last blog but am happy to report that after struggling through the remote wilds of Southern Ethiopia and North West Kenya, we have finally reemerged - a few pounds lighter - back into the w...

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Ups and Downs in the Ethiopian Highlands

Posted by Max on Wednesday, February 16, 2011
"There was a rustling, that seemed like a bustling,
Of merry crowds justling at pitching and hustling,
Small feet were pattering, wooden shoes clattering,
Little hands clapping and little tongues chattering,
And, like fowls in a farmyard when barley is scattering,
Out came the children running."

The Pied Piper of Hamelin, Robert Browning

This is precisely the effect we seem to have on the children of Ethiopia, but unlike the Pied Piper of Hamelin, we can't get rid of them. Unfortunately, this has le...
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Donuts and Deserts: Sunny Sudan

Posted by Max on Tuesday, January 18, 2011

"Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas any more."

Dorothy, The Wizard of Oz


As I dragged my bicycle off the ferry from Egypt at about lunchtime, anything seemed possible, even perhaps munchkins and wicked witches. This was the start of 'Africa' as far as I was concerned, and I was primed and ready for strange and unexpected goings on. First up was border control: It was quick and painless. That was certainly unexpected. (although the American couple behind us in the queue were asked...

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Into Africa

Posted by Max on Monday, January 3, 2011
'"If I could work my will," said Scrooge indignantly, "every idiot who goes about with 'Merry Christmas' on his lips, should be boiled with his own pudding"'
Charles Dickens, 'A Christmas Carol'
Bah humbug! I hate spending the festive season in countries that don't know what a mince pie is, and this year was no exception. My Christmas Eve was like some kind of depraved scene from Trainspotting, on Christmas Day we were left homeless after being turfed out of a monastery in the dark, ...

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Egyptian Conniptions

Posted by Max on Monday, December 20, 2010

"they came at last to the end of the living lands...So desolate were those places and so deep the horror that lay on them, that some of the host were unmanned and they could neither walk nor ride further"

JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

And so it was, with Europe knee deep in snow, we were trapped in a vicious sandstorm in the dark Mordor-like wasteland of Egypt's Sinai Desert, only 300km short of Cairo. With nowhere to shelter and no way forward or back, it was with re...

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Sheiks, Rugs, and Chick'n'Roll

Posted by Max on Saturday, November 27, 2010
In Syria, resistance is futile. All daily normality and forward planning must be abandoned, and cyclists must submit to wonderful non-stop chaos. Since leaving the relative tranquility of Turkey, strange and unpredictable events are becoming the norm. A couple of days ago I found myself sitting in the desert on my tarpaulin 'picnic blanket', about 100 miles from the Iraqi border, making banana and nutella sandwiches for lunch. Only now in retrosprect, from an internet cafe in Damascus d...

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More Turkish Delights

Posted by Max on Saturday, November 6, 2010
Old Islamic Proverb: ‘He is not a believer who eats his fill while his neighbour remains hungry’
For most of the last week we've been in the sunshine, crossing the rolling grassy steppe of Central Turkey on blissfully quiet country roads. We also recently passed the 4000km mark! All in all, perfect cycling, apart from the steep highland roads which frequently go above 1300 metres. A few days ago, we passed a dishevelleled looking shepherd on one of these roads who inexplicably said 'G'd...

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Notes From a Turkısh Truck Stop

Posted by Max on Saturday, October 30, 2010
We're currently holed up ın the cafe of a petrol statıon wıth a load of mıddle aged Turkısh truck drıvers after mısjudgıng our dıstances and gettıng caught ın the mıddle of nowhere at nıghtfall. Fortunately, they've let us pıtch our tent on a patch of grass next to the forecourt but ıt's a crystal clear nıght up at 900 metres altıtute on the Central Turkısh plateau and the temperature ıs dıppıng below zero so we're hangıng out at an ınternet termınal ın the cafe, neck...

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