Driving

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Written on Sunday 6 October

We are near the end of almost three long days of driving and it is starting to take its tool. But tonight we will be in Malawi.

Sunrise at bush camp
The rises on our last day in Tanzania.
The Oasis crew pack away breakfast on our final monrnig in Tanzania.
The Oasis crew pack away breakfast on our final monrnig in Tanzania.

Two nights of bush camping means no running water for two days and hence no showers.

Weirdly an awful lot of today’s truck conversation has revolved around shitting and farting, perhaps because our only toilet for two days has been the bush. Then I found this amusing snipped in the guidebook:

Inspired by the sight of trouser wearing invaders from the North the Maasai christened the newcomers iloridaa enjekat – those who confine their farts!

Tempers are beginning to fray and the over politeness of the first couple of weeks is beginning to dissolve. As of yet there have been no arguments but there is the odd bit of muttering under the breath.

I for one woke up in a foul mood yesterday and after flatly refusing to repack my tent because it didn’t quite go in the bag┬ádecided the best thing I could do was remove myself from the rest of the group for a while.

I spent the morning (about six hours of driving) sat in the cab which offered an entirely different perspective on the trip. Mick (our driver) has an incredibly difficult job. The other drivers here are maniacs. They overtake at a fair rate with inches to spare and have no qualms about passing on blind corners on a mountain pass and I’m not referring to cars, these are trucks and busses.

We must have passed about five accidents yesterday, many of which looked fatal. At the bottom of a steep, windy mountain road we slowly chugged past a head on smash that was blocking the road. Two lorries had collided sending the cab of one truck across the road and down the embankment into the undergrowth below, all that remained on the side of the road was the bare flatbed of the vehicle and the mangled wreckage of the second truck hanging precariously over the cliff edge. The scene was being tended by police (who never seem to arrive in a car, I can’t work out how they get there) a military vehicle and what appeared to be some local people. No ambulances or paramedics. I’d like to think these had already departed the scene carrying the injured.

Shortly after passing this accident trucks and busses came screaming past us on blind beds. You would have thought the devastation they just passed would have calmed their driving, but no!

I returned to the back of the truck slightly more nervous than previously, with a lot more respect for just how difficult Mick’s job is. And in a much better mood.

We arrived at our bush camp as the sun was setting but this time my tent was up rapidly after offers of help from others meant I didn’t do battle with the poles alone! I also had plenty of assistance taking it down this morning, which was a lovely treat.

The two nights bush camping weren’t without incident. Night one saw the lads getting far to pissed on rum and talking far too loudly about things they may do to their girlfriends much to the offence of most of the women trying to sleep in tents. Luckily I slept through most of it so was spared the gory details.

Bush camp night two’s activities brought a frantic search for a lost passport (which has still not been located as we make our way to the boarder) and a sting or bite to one of the lads who was collecting fire wood. Luckily we have three doctors on the truck and the injury was treated swiftly and doesn’t appear to be anything too nasty.

We now keep driving to the border and will hopefully arrive at our campsite at lake Malawi by mid-afternoon for some much needed time outside the confines of the truck. Fingers crossed the passport turns up in time…

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