Riding south from Khartoum you finally start to feel like you’re getting into Africa. And that’s when you learn another lesson- Northern Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa are completely different places. What we think of as ‘Africa’ doesn’t start until well after you’ve past the Tropic of Cancer. The transition between the two is more dramatic than any border crossing and deeper than any simple change in language. You see the change in everything- arab faces being replaced by darker african faces, white robes giving way to pants, and mud huts taking over from stripped tents. You don’t really notice it until you get close to Ethiopia, but when you do, it all comes flooding in- the small changes that hadn’t quite hit your conscious mind all coalesce and this Stephen Hero like moment of epiphany hits you…
I’m in Africa. I’M IN FUCKING AFRICA ON MY MOTORBIKE!!
Getting to the border you’re treated to a tourist’s stereotype- people everywhere, corrugated tin shacks, and a sense of wonderfully undirected vitality. Welcome to Africa baby!
You also get the most longed for kind of advertising… BEER!
Yeah, you ride through the Sudanese desert without a drop and see if a beer ad doesn’t bring a tear to your eye. I dare you.