The Birrs, the Beers and the All Blacks

It is Sunday the 24th and four of the team members leave Addis heading north towards Sudan and the Wadi Halfa ferry. This ferry is the critical path on our time line to Europe. It sails once a week on a Wednesday. Missing this not only puts you a week behind it leaves you in Wadi Halfa a place that has been given a very bad rap from all. One person stated that we should not stay there at all, going back into the desert and pitching camp being the better option. The next 8 days of the journey has the potential to be the toughest part of the journey. The long way down boys (did I mention their support team) had their shock problems on these roads. However we are well prepared with “Visas for Africa” and four shock absorbers in hand.

I have stayed behind in Addis awaiting Brendan who has gone to Scotland to accompany Caroline and girls. Our thoughts are with them. All going well he should return on Monday night for our departure on Tuesday.

Well what to do? Oh yes Rugby. I make my way to the Hilton Hotel to assume the normal position at the bar, a position that has become regular after 13 days in Addis Ababa. I am confronted with the locals all watching a re-run of the Ethiopian Millennium celebrations. Surely world cup rugby has priority, after some Mumbo Jumbo the channel is switched and there is more than just one cheer in the crowd. I shout out “Go Kiwi’s” only to find that there are Scots and Canadians in the crowd. I also get two filthy looks from two white faces. (Yes Aussies)

“Hey Kiwi I’ll give 2 to 1 that Scotland will beat the All Blacks” you have a bet I reply. Two Aussies to the right of me say that’s a good bet. Fancy an Aussie admitting that! Soon we are all acquainted. Two Scots, a Canadian, a South African, a lady from the Swiss embassy, a Welsh guy, two Aussies and a German who admits to Rugby not being his game. Five minutes into the game and Captain Ritchie cross’s the line for the AB’s first try. A single shout goes up, the reply being a Castel, the local beer for the only Kiwi at the bar. This continues for the next 80 minutes until I finally say my goodbyes and leave the bar with a couple more Birrs (local currency) in my pocket than I started with. Needless to say a couple of beers under my belt as well. Its time to return to the National Hotel and join my bed bugs for a good nights sleep.

Tomorrow should see the return of Brendan and my preparation for the catch-up attempt to rejoin the main group.

Tony A

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