Tuesday, March 1, 2011

TdA Stage 36. Brain Damage.

96km. Dry River Bed Camp to Yabello.

Stunning day. Red dirt. Bright green trees. Tall, healthy camels. Gigantic termite pillars. Bush people dressed in beautiful bright cloths. Some with beads. No rock throwing kids. No beggars.

First 90km off road (corrugated gravel/rock). Last 6km sweet, sweet pavement. The gravel was mostly fun; I think that I have a relative advantage on it, despite my rigid frame. Still, after 90km of it, my eyeballs were about to rattle loose from their sockets and I began to wonder what long term impact this sort of shaking might have on my brain capacity. I rode with dirty socks taped to my handlebars for a bit of extra protection and I think that it saved my hands/wrists/forearms. It was hard enough to see that I found myself saying Salam (hello) to termite mounds that I mistook as people.

Ram had a flat and lost his tire lever. He had another flat about 75km later and found his tire lever...in between the tire and the tube.

James-the-cook let me tag along on his trip to the market this afternoon. I have always had a feeling that resources have been limited based on my own exploration of mini markets. Still, I had this idea that maybe there was some sort of other 'secret market' that contained all kinds of exciting things that the rest of us didn't have access to. I was wrong. Onions, carrots, tomatoes and beets at the open air produce market. A few canned goods at the 'dry goods' store (but not even any sugar!). Yet, somehow, James-the-cook comes up with something tasty and different every day.

Mike-without-a-bike decided to leave the tour for a bit and take off to Tanzania to let his ribs heal. It made me think of the impact of compressed time and extended close relationships have on judging situations. Normally if a friend had crashed his bike and then decided to take off to another country for a while, it would probably be kind of a big deal. In Mike-without-a-bike's case, it just seemed like the right thing to do. But maybe that is the brain damage talking.


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