Random pictures

I’m counting down the hours now until I leave. I feel a bit like a kid waiting for Christmas – all excited and trying to find ways to fill the time until the big day. So as a way to fill time, I thought I’d take some random pictures.

This is my new fashion accessory – a head sweat. It’s supposed to divert sweat away from my forehead. I was a little worried that it would make me look like a dork……

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But I needn’t have worried

Training in the sandpit – beware the camels in the background

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But the sign gives fair warning

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recovery after a training ride. Don’t think I’ll be doing much of this in Africa unless I can find a way to fit the hot tub into my bike box

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Back in the Sandpit

Happy New Year! I wish everyone much health, happiness, laughter and love in 2012. I hope all your dreams come true.

My dream will be starting in 2 weeks when I’ll be leaving Cairo on 2 wheels. It’s incredible to me, as well as a little surreal that the departure date is so close. From January 14 to May 12, my bike and I will be as one and I’ll be experiencing life in a completely different way than I’m used to. It’s safe to say I’ll be way out of my comfort zone

I arrived in Dubai on Dec. 22, and l’ll be here until January 10, when I’ll depart for Cairo. We’ll have a few days of rider meetings, warm up rides, and hopefully some sightseeing before we cycle from Cairo. The weather in Cairo right now looks perfect for cycling – sunny with highs around 18-19 C and lows of 11-12. A little windy, though, but you can’t have everything!

My packing job for Dubai was rather haphazard (I just stuffed everything into my bags), so in the next few days I’ll be sorting through it and putting it into some sort of order. With the exception of the bike, I have to get everything I’ll want or need for 4 months into 2 duffel bags, not weighing more than 45 kilos. The lockers we are given measure 45 cm x 60 cm x 85 cm. It sounds like a lot of space, but things like the tent, sleeping bag, mattress, bike parts, spare tires, electronics, take up a lot of room.

Here’s my bike when I unpacked it – I still have to re-assemble it and ride it to make sure it’s working smoothly

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s my rather large bag of medications. I normally prefer to avoid any meds and prefer to treat things as naturally as possible. But I reckon I’ll have enough to deal with just cycling for hours every day, so I want to deal with anything that might happen as quickly as possible and I don’t want to leave anything to chance. Here’s a partial list of things in the bag:

anti-malarial pills (107)

mosquito repellent

sunscreen

sunburn treatment cream

chamois butter (to prevent saddle sores)

zinc ointment (to treat the above)

small mirror to check the status of the above – there are some things you can’t ask even your closest friend to do…….)

Immodium (you know what it’s for)

Cyproflaxin (in case the above isn’t effective enough)

topical pain relief cream

Alleve & Robax Platinum (in case the above isn’t effective enough)

rehydration tablets

Well, you get the picture. And here it is:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s my new home for the next 4 months. I’ll be living the high life…….

 

 


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I am Good to Go!

I got my passport, with the Sudanese visa attached, back today. I was worried about getting this one back in time. Information I had been given previously was that the visa would be processed on December 15. That would have been cutting it down to the wire, as it would have left only 3 working days to get it back to me from Ottawa before I fly out to Dubai. I paid for a return Express mail delivery which is supposed to be next day delivery, but Canada Post wouldn’t guarantee that because of the busy season. Gotta love them…….

The service from The Sudan and Ethiopian embassies have been very quick and efficient and everything went very smoothly. All the other visas are obtained at the borders as we enter the country(s) so that should be straightforward

So I’m happy! Things are falling into place!

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I’m a Star!

Check it out! Soon to be famous!

1259690–cycling-from-cairo-to-cape-town-in-four-months

Notice there is a link on the article to my fundraising page 😀 Not that I want to be obvious or anything……but just in anyone missed it 😀

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When do I have enough?

Is it when I have the latest gadget? When I can go out for dinner whenever I decide to? When I have a warm bed to sleep in? Hot water? Enough food to eat? The choice to drive instead of walk to the store? To have enough money to go to the store and buy what I want?

I can remember in younger days living from paycheque to paycheque and sometimes not having enough to pay the bills. But what I had was enough. What I have now is enough. I have the choice to cycle through Africa (or not). I have clean water to drink, a warm bed to sleep in, hot water for a shower, the dignity of having a job, enough food to eat, access to health care….. and the list goes on.

Where is the line between not having enough and enough? One of the things that has been foremost in my mind about this trip is knowing that it will be seeing people who don’t have the advantages and privileges that I have. So do I really need the latest Apple gadget, or a new car, or a hot shower every day?

I’ll be living in fairly basic conditions for 4 months, yet it will be better than what many people have, and I know: it will be enough.

Just my philosophical post for the day 🙂

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Ignorance is Bliss…..

I signed on for this trip in my typical impulsive fashion, without really knowing anything about what this would entail. I guess I must have thought “Oh, I’ll just ride my bike through Africa.” Just another bike trip :D. I really had no idea of what to expect. Well, quite honestly, I didn’t actually think about it.

I met some people last night who had done this tour in previous years and they shared some of their stories about their experiences. It was a little bit of an eye opener.

For instance: I had no idea that I’ll have to cycle on lava rock in Kenya for 5 days. Or that using a bathroom would often be in full view of local people and/or the police. Or that the cabins on the overnight ferry into Sudan will be infested by cockroaches. Or that children will be pelting me with rocks while traversing Ethiopia (one rider on a previous trip sustained a broken jaw).

If I had know all this beforehand, would I still have signed up? In a heartbeat! Well, maybe if I had known about the cockroaches……

Bring it on! (not the cockroaches)

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Visas

I got my first of several visas today and am now cleared to enter Ethiopia. There is a new Ethiopian consulate in Toronto and the process to get the visa was very quick and painless – I had it within a week.

The next one to apply for is Sudan. I can’t apply more than 2 months before we are to enter Sudan, which be on January 24, 2012. This could be a little tricky because the website says the process can take 3 – 5 weeks and I need my passport back before December 21 which is when I leave for Dubai! It’s hard not to get a little stressed about this as I’m not sure what I’ll do if the process is delayed. 😮

I’m trying to keep the Law of Detachment in the back of my mind – I can’t control the outcome, but I can control my reaction. So if I don’t get my passport back by December 21, I’ll just have to go to Plan B, although I have no idea what that is right now. Guess I better start thinking of a plan!

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Getting organized

The most challenging thing about this trip, for me, is the organization involved in getting ready to go. I’m having to think about getting visas, immunizations, doing the training, work, figuring out how to get everything I think I’ll need or want to use in 4 months into 2 small bags which is no easy feat!

Then, of course, is the challenge of  trying to decide what technology to take. Do I take an iPad? Netbook? iPhone? Camera? Video Camera? iPod? Kindle? GPS? What about charging devices? What about adapters for different countries? Ahh, life must have been so simple before electronics.

So that’s what I’m going these days – trying to get organized to go. Although the bike trip doesn’t leave til January, I am actually leaving Canada on Dec. 21. I’m going to Thailand via Dubai to spend Christmas with Mike and Shae, so I need to think about what I’ll need then.

Next mission: off to The CyclePath, the bike store in Oakville, to decide what spare bike parts to take with me. They have been great at helping me with the bike so I would  be remiss if I didn’t mention them here!

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I’m going to Africa!

It is done! The entry fee is paid in full – no turning back!

I’ve been thinking about/dreaming about/talking about this trip for a few years now. It’s hard to believe that in less than 3 months, I’ll be leaving Cairo, along with my intrepid friend Gizele, and the rest of the group.

The day the entry fee was handed in was a Friday which is day of the Law of Detachment. This means letting go of any attachment to the outcome of choices I make. While I have to take responsibility for my actions, I can’t control the outcome. I really want to keep this in mind. Part of the anxiety of going on this trip is the unknown, and it’s so easy to conjure up scary scenarios, especially with some of the countries in Africa being so volatile right now.

So: in a nutshell, I’ve chosen to do this. I have no idea what may happen, but I’m determined to just take each day as it comes, be in the moment, let the universe take care of the details! Unexpected things can and do happen and I guess that’s part of what this adventure is

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Hello world!

Test – first blog I’ve every done! So please bear with me while I figure this out

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