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A day shy of three weeks remain until setting off. In that time, I will have to continue to wait for the elusive Sudanese visa, obtain at least two more and tie up any loose ends that still need tying. It’s not that much to do – and except for the Sudanese visa, largely in my power to get done in time. It’s just that time is becoming a conspicuously short resource as things progress. Nevertheless, some of the useful tasks I’ve managed to put to rest (or vigorously smother) in the last few days are:

Obtaining a Tanzanian visa

It’s not an elusive Sudanese one, but i’ll not complain at being a step closer. Popping in yesterday to check on it, I was told the same thing once more as the embassy had told me on the phone originally. “We are waiting for a letter from Khartoum. At the time, I had thought that this figuratively meant some form of correspondence to okay the visa application. Now I am starting to fear that they in fact mean an actual letter. The sort that penpals and utility companies still feel an affection towards in our modern electronic age.  So for the letter I wait.

I also learned that Kilimanjaro is in fact in Tanzania, by virtue of a rather dominating poster of the mountain with the words “Tanzania’s Kilimanjaro” proudly stamped underneath.

I did manage, however, to obtain a Tanzanian visa today and will return either tomorrow of Friday to Pretoria to attempt the Egyptian one (no charge, just some paperwork).  I wish, occasionally, that they could put an embassy, or even a high commission, in the country’s largest city (Johannesburg) instead of out in Pretoria (the capital), so as to allow me to avoid an hour and a bit of driving each day to drop off or collect my passport.  With the notable exception of the US, whose embassies here look like space age fortresses, they unfortunately haven’t. And since I can’t get to Egypt via the US (at least not on a train or a bus), commute I must. At least the embassies are quite tightly clustered, so as long as you can find one, you will eventually find the one you want. In the case of Tanzania, their (relatively) nondescript embassy was right adjacent to the rather colourful Burkina Faso embassy. Which looked a bit empty at the time. Clearly not a popular destination.

Unlike the Vietnamese embassy, which looks and feels suspiciously like a house, the Tanzanian embassy has all the usual signatures – big walls, almost-as-big gold lettering and an officious… er… official to do all the paperworkery. he lived in an office casually decorated with rather large pictures of Tanzanian scenery – a perfect place to wait to be processed if, like me, the nearing onset of travel gets you hooked on travel porn of all kinds. I also learned that Kilimanjaro is in fact in Tanzania, by virtue of a rather dominating poster of the mountain with the words “Tanzania’s Kilimanjaro” proudly stamped underneath. Who knew? I had thought it was in Kenya for some daft reason. But I digress. Today I was able to pick up my passport with the visa for Tanzania. Next will be Egypt.

Accepted to Rhodes Journalism for 2010

In Rhodes Redux, I mentioned sending in my application forms to study at Rhodes University in Grahamstown next year, with all of the attendant excitement that it involved. What I may not have explicitly mentioned is that despite all the house hunting (and lease signing), I had yet to actually be accepted. It was more a decision on faith – that if I commit to doing this thing, then the world will meet me halfway. And it did. Opening my inbox yesterday, an innocuous email informed me that I was accepted.

What I may not have explicitly mentioned is that despite all the house hunting (and lease signing), I had yet to actually be accepted.

So on my return from Cairo, I will be enrolled in a year-long postgraduate diploma in Journalism (my elective focus being photojournalism). It’s my way of taking a thing that excites me and putting more of it in my life. I am hoping it will make

The rest of what I wanted to tell you about (thoughts on writing during the Cape to Cairo trip, as well as what has been going through my mind about possible danger) have both become long enough to warrant their own separate posts – so I will do them that justice at least.

A pre-emptive thank you to all the mad ones

Finally – and I expect to be repeating this fairly often and in much more detail – thanks to everyone who has commented, emailed, phoned or otherwise been in touch to tell me either that I am mad, that I am mad and it inspired something in your own life, or that I am mad and you will shortly be doing something mad of your own. You have made me smile every single time and I love you all the more for your varied and equally mad dreams.