Westside

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Turning Point – The view from the top of Table Mountain

“DID you get Ebola?”

Reactions among those who stumble across a big yellow truck and its inhabitants at the end of our five-month journey south have found it difficult to comprehend exactly what we have done. Let alone why.

And, having reached the turning point in Cape Town and starting the four-month trek back north to Cairo, it is still pretty difficult to get our heads around exactly what has happened, what we have seen, the experiences we have shared and the people we have met – fleetingly or as travelling companions – along the way.

The plan for this entry was always for it to be a reflective one, taking advantage of our break from the road in Cape Town to look back on the southbound leg of the journey and make some sort of sense of my impressions of Africa.

Several times the laptop was opened up with the intentions of writing, but one week, another country, a lot of sand and one broken tent (of which more in the next instalment) later, it remains difficult to order exactly what my thoughts are on Africa.

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Looking Up – The view from the courtyard of our hostel in Cape Town

It is a place full of contradictions and frustrations, things that do not work and things which shouldn’t work, amazing experiences and people that can’t help but make you smile in delight or wonder, right alongside experiences and people who make you tear your hair out in annoyance.

This, after all, is Africa.

To sum it up in a few short phrases is nigh on impossible – and five months travelling through such a wide-ranging series of countries from the Arab north, sub-Saharan West Africa and the verdant, tropical chaos either side of the Equator to the relative modernity of the south is nowhere near enough to provide an authoritative view on this mystifying continent – but, hopefully, the jumble of thoughts which are fighting for priority in my head will somehow spill out onto the page in some form of coherent order over the coming weeks and months.

One thing for sure as we gear ourselves to rattle up the miles heading north – via a relaxed weekend back in Swakopmund, Namibia, which is providing possibly the last beds until Zanzibar – is that none of us have caught Ebola.

Malaria, yes. Cellulitis, yes. Any number of festering wounds, most definitely (the Manky Leg Club has been growing in numbers, although most of the problems which earned membership are clearing up after the rash of applications through the tropics). But Ebola, no.

It was the most-often raised topic before we set off and, having bypassed the infected areas (the detour producing memorable rewards in Mali and Cote D’Ivoire), we had all but forgotten about it until hitting the more common overland routes down south and running into fellow travellers heading towards the end or just starting out on their shorter trips down the more regular routes through the south and east of Africa which will form our next section.*

But more than once in the last couple of weeks, someone has asked us where we have come from, not expecting the answer Gibraltar. After checking that we hadn’t just flown from Europe to Cape Town, they almost inevitably raise the spectre of Ebola.

One group of overlanders rolled out of our accommodation this morning, but not until they had taken a few snapshots of Nala, quizzed their tour leader about whether we really were spending 40 weeks heading from London to Cape Town to Cairo (as emblazoned on her side) and whether any of us had died of Ebola.

Personally, think it would make a reality travel show. Instead of getting voted off the truck, passengers are removed one by one by illness until the last one standing (or breathing on their own) is declared the winner. Has the added advantage of losing contestants not becoming minor celebrities, albeit just for five minutes or until the next batch of wannabes fight for their 15 minutes of fame. Some things have not been missed.

But no, we have made it down south pretty much intact. One passenger was forced home by a case of cerebral malaria, while a few others have had to head home temporarily for personal reasons or off on brief trips away from the truck, rejoining us along the way, but we remain, largely, in one piece.

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African Diet – Warthog ribs in Cape Town

Personally, as someone who set out on this adventure overweight and nowhere near as fit as planned, what was always billed as the most gruelling section of the journey has not been as physically draining as feared.

Even the cumulative effects of camping and lack of home comforts has failed to have too much of a negative impact – to the extent that the return to bush camping after the relative luxuries of Cape Town was welcome with almost universal delight, even when conditions conspired against us. But again, more of that in the next instalment.

Yes, there has been the two bouts of cellulitis – one in each leg – which laid me low for a few days each and has left its marks on my right calf and slightly swollen foot, forcing a pragmatic approach to some of the more strenuous activities, and one short, sharp attack each of the gout and back problems which have long dogged me.

But we head north with my body in pretty good shape. Certainly a more slimline shape, forcing a dash around Cape Town’s gleaming malls to stock up on new clothes – much to the delight of my fellow travellers, who now don’t have to watch me constantly pulling up my trousers that are now way too big, despite the creation of two new holes in a belt.

The sudden appearance of large platefuls of meat (kudu steaks lead warthog ribs in the best game meat stakes), not to mention plentiful supplies of cold beer, in Namibia and South Africa threatens to derail the weight loss, but having got into a pair of shorts four inches smaller than the ones which left Britain with me, the Trans Africa diet should really be used by Oasis as part of their marketing campaign.

And it has not come on starvation rations.

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Perfect Timing – Ale collected a special Malcolm award in Cape Town , the victim of a practical joke all the way from Accra

There have been a few complaints about the food, but my diet has probably never been so good. Certainly it has never included so many vegetables. And at no point since my early teenage years – far too long ago – has breakfast featured on a daily basis, while my self-imposed rule about keeping snacks to a minimum and not stockpiling food on the truck has certainly helped.

Any criticism of the food is squarely down to our shortcomings as cooks rather than the amount or what we have been eating.

Admittedly, we do keep falling back on the same few recipes (my cook teams have a tendency to specialise in anything to do with potatoes, occasionally for all three meals), but there has barely been a really bad meal, unless you are a particularly fussy eater.

And considering we have largely been shopping in West African markets for meals cooked on a camp fire, you cannot be that fussy.

Certainly the two rules – make sure it is edible and make sure there is enough – have been followed throughout and there is usually a pretty rapid queue formed for seconds.

But there is no getting away from the fact, this trip is not always easy. It is a long time to be away from friends, family and home comforts. It is a long time to spend with the same group of people – strangers when we climbed on board the truck, be it in Gibraltar, Accra or, for the newbies, Cape Town.

And there are long periods on the  truck to sit, think and stew on any irritations (and as one of the group’s snorers, that brings a whole set of irritations when it comes to sleeping arrangements).

In a group of people this size – we were at 13 at our lowest, now up to a trip high of 20 – there are always going to be disagreements and the odd personality clash. There are times, at the end of a long drive day, when you climb off the back of the truck and want nothing to do with one or more of your fellow passengers.

But that is inevitable. How many people at work have rubbed you up the wrong way over the past five months? And that’s with the advantage of being able to go home at the end of the day.

We have been lucky with the mix of people we have, avoiding cliques or self-contained units and, after more than five months on the road, the overwhelming majority of us are still happy to share each other’s company and wander off in any number of combinations for an activity, drink or a meal.

These people are as big a part of this trip as Africa itself and the fact that we still go out in large numbers for meals shows how well we get along.

Right up to the point when it comes to sorting out the bill…

* At no point have we turned into travel snobs and referred to our fellow overlanders as amateurs, lightweights or bus wankers (remember, we are on a truck, most definitely not a bus). Well, not all that often.

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Under A Pitch Black Sky

NEW Year’s Day on the Ghanaian coast and, barring the surf hitting the beach just the other side of our tents and the occasional giggle from a small group chatting after dinner, all is quiet.

All is dark as well, considering The Stumble Inn at Elmina, our home for the last few nights, has no lights except the couple which make the bar useable after the fairly rapid sunset and a couple of small, unreliable ones in odd spots around camp.

The search for head torches has been as frantic as the ensuing nocturnal race to the facilities for those of us looking after the pet stomach bug, which has affected growing numbers to varying degrees.

So, with the arrival of 2015 and the onset of a fresh bout of clocking up some serious mileage after a week or so chilling out along the coast, time for a bit of a condition check.

Any lasting vestiges of a dodgy stomach apart – and while it has hung around longer than for others, it has never been as severe – all is pretty much fine.

Fine as it can be sat in a deserted bar on a night of, thankfully, reduced humidity with a cold drink (soft), one of the camp dogs curled up asleep on my sandals and the cat cleaning itself on the bench next to me.

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Battle Scars – My feet show the signs of an ongoing contest with the insects

Admittedly, the backs of my legs do look as if one of the dogs has been chewing on them, but as long as you can avoid scratching them (easier said than done), the endless mosquito and insect bites are not that bad, even if they have forced me back into long trousers (and even, briefly, socks for the first time since Morocco) for the last couple of nights.

My reputation as a magnet for any irritating little buzzy, biting creature has been well justified, however much Deet gets sprayed around.

It even seems to follow me into the water with sea lice copping the blame for the latest crop of angry welts on my forearm and ankles after my first attempt at body boarding for about 30 years.

But despite all that, everything is pretty good. One bout of gout and one, mercifully just as short, flare-up of my back problem aside, the stomach issue has been the only health cloud on the horizon.

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Welcome To Ghana – Our first stop after crossing the border at Beyin

And, whisper it quietly, that cloud may have a silver lining as it seems to have helped shift a few pounds – certainly the return to long trousers revealed the need for an extra hole in the belt.

There could be a potential laundry crisis looming somewhere on the horizon (really should have done some while we were in one place for three nights) with the speed with which T-shirts get drenched in sweat and the hammer my sole pair of shorts (accidentally dyed partly blue) is taking.

But even that could lead to a much-needed emptying of my locker on the truck to reorganise my bags, which was always planned for when we reach Accra.

There is, even with my bites staying relatively quiet (helped by the discovery of my tube of Savlon 51 days intp the trip), one itch that needs scratching.

And tomorrow we will start to scratch it as we turn north and get back on the road.

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Shadowy Figures – The sun sets over a stroll along the beach

The last week or so chilling out along the coasts of Cote D’Ivoire and Ghana has been very nice and having, most of the time, access to showers and toilets (although not the great God of wi-fi, which we have been without since Mali until a raiding party descended on the rather posher resort up the beach and some of us actually managed to connect to the workable server) is always welcome.

But can’t help feeling we have been treading water a touch over the festive period and it is time to get back on the road again, especially with our first proper encounter with the African wildlife awaiting in Mole National Park as we turn back inland.

The desire to spend Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve somewhere with a few facilities has meant a couple of cracking days, but has meant spending maybe a bit longer in this neck of the woods than really necessary, rather than heading off to places with a purpose, which is when this trip really hits its stride.

After 10 days or so of having facilities, the prospect of a potential bush camp tomorrow is one to look forward to even if our cook group is up again to create our unique brand of Anglo-Japanese fusion food (with a touch of Aussie and African cuisine thrown in every so often, as it means we are striking out on the road again.

The surroundings, company and temperatures may be unfamiliar (not to mention the distinct lack of leftovers once the last bits of the Christmas pig were hoovered up in no time), but the week up to the new year has had a fairly traditional sense of not much happening, waiting for the turn of the clock to kick back into gear.

Not that we have sat still, chalking up four temporary homes and even a new country as we took a leisurely meander along the coast of Cote D’Ivoire and into Ghana.

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New Year’s Day – The sun sets over Elmina

Sadly, our final stop in Cote D’Ivoire was in marked contrast with most of our time in the country as it was met with a not wholly welcoming reception.

While those who had nothing to offer us but a place to throw up our tents for the night and an unstintingly warm welcome offered exactly that without hesitation, our venture into the more salubrious surroundings of Assinie – replete, as it is, with holiday homes for the well to do from the big cities and further afield – saw us shunted into the far corner of our waterfront lodgings (once they had agreed to shunt us anywhere at all).

Far be it from us to mess up their pristine grass with our unsightly homes for the night.

We were made to feel far more at home in Beyin, our first stop after a pretty swift crossing into Ghana – well, first stop after the duty free shop opposite the immigration office which saw the spare locker on Nala filled with bottles to sit alongside the beer cans which were already there.

There was little need to break into the stocks on discovering the bar at the visitor centre housing us was selling cold beer at even lower prices (at least until we had cleaned out the fridge within minutes of arrival) which helped ease a night on cook group – complete with an almost naked chef – and make for a relaxing evening sat around a bonfire on the beach.

Our morning wake-up call was not quite so relaxing, coming as it did from well before dawn via the television in the bar tuned into a religious music station and turned up to full volume, as it was throughout our stay bar the rare moments we managed to seize control of the remote control and get the football on.

Religion, as we have discovered, plays a major role across Ghana, as shown by some of the business names we see dotted along the side of the road (God Will Provide Electricals being the pick so far, although it is perhaps not the best way to entice people to actually buy) and we had another close, at times fairly loud, encounter with the inhabitants of the mission bus from Kumasi which shared the car park and grounds with us on the second night.

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Mysterious Ways – The driver of the Kumasi mission bus shows his appreciation from our two

Not that the bus was that loud the morning after, refusing to budge to let us get out until Steve managed to fashion a different way out and tug them out enough to get their engine going.

God does indeed move in mysterious ways.

Our wander down the beach continued through Akwidaa (although not at our scheduled stop, which has clearly not been open for a while), Busua (a couple of hours on the beach and in the surf which saw that return to body boarding for the first time since childhood holidays in Cornwall), Takoradi (for shopping purposes only) and our new year base at Elmina.

It was, at least in my case, a pretty quiet, chilled affair with the need to look after the pet stomach bug by missing the football match against German volunteers, taking a lengthy daytime nap on Nala – the coolest place in camp – and keeping alcohol consumption to a minimum.

Strangely, of course, the new year arrived overlooking the beach with all of us having a clear idea about what will dominate the rest of the year. At least the first seven and a bit months of it.

And that’s good enough reason to toast the change of year.

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All I Want For Christmas Is An Airbed Repair Kit…

“Silent Night, Holy Night. All Is Calm, All Is Bright…”

WELL, Christmas Eve did go silent eventually. And the nights either side were dominated by holes – one pesky one belying its tiny stature with the problems it caused.

All of which added up to a shortage of calm and brightness the following mornings, at least from within the confines of my mosquito tent.

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Pig of a Day – Steve gets to grips with Christmas lunch

Over the course of our 10-month adventure, we have a route and itinerary which flexes as events and conditions demand. After all, we are told, this is Africa. Things change and it all moves to a different beat.

But along the way, we have several dates and places set in stone. People are joining or, sadly, leaving the trip in Accra (which is starting to loom on the horizon), Cape Town and Nairobi. We have to be there pretty much on schedule.

Then there are the dates which are not going to move for anybody and Christmas Day has been prompting plans, decorations and rumours (where, what, how) almost since we set foot in Africa at the start of November.

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Hard At Work – Steve and Joe find a much better use for the sand mats

And for the final week or so before the big day, what we may or may not be doing and where we would spend it was the major topic of discussion.

The answer, once we had undergone one of those last-minute changes of plans which Africa seems to specialise in, was camping in the outer compound of a complex complete with bar, restaurant (although judging by how long a plate of chips took to arrive, nobody braved ordering anything more elaborate), showers (sort of), toilets (not to be taken lightly), a pool (in this heat and with limited showers, certainly not to be taken lightly) and even a nightclub.

Well, a small room with a bar, a dance floor and a woman keen on dragging in any passing traveller, often aided by Steve. At least it had air con.

Sadly still no sign of the holy grail that is wi-fi – which sent people scurrying to charge or get credits for their phones to contact home over Christmas, but all a major contrast from when you left us in the heart of the excited villagers of Yodibikro.

Amid the heat and chaos of the previous evening, the decision was made to slip out as quietly as possible before breakfast, before the crowds could gather to make our packing up and departure any more complicated.

But there were still a fair few locals up bright and early to wave us off (after a surprisingly good night’s sleep once the human inhabitants of the village left us largely alone, but the cockerels demonstrated a complete lack of time-keeping ability, judging by how long and loud they kept up their alarm calls).

And having made our way back to the main road, via a swift roadside breakfast and the discovery of any hangovers from the previous night’s events, Steve pointed Nala towards the capital Yamassoukoro.

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Praise The Lord – Nala gets up close the basilica in Yamassoukoro

Capitals have, until now, meant an overnight stop and, in most cases, the ongoing pursuit of visas.

But Yamassoukoro is not your standard capital. Until 1983, it wasn’t the capital at all, merely a small village which just happened to be the birthplace of former Ivorian president Félix Houphouët-Boigny.

His legacy is a string of wide, empty roads and one huge basilica, modelled on St Peter’s in Rome, reputedly the world’s largest Christian place of worship and opened by the then Pope in 1990 on the agreement the president spent oodles of cash on a much-needed hospital.

The basilica is built and looms on a hillside overlooking the city, which we did not hang around too long to check out. The hospital not so much.

This, Is. Africa.

It is certainly an impressive building, but rather like the Hassan II mosque in Casablanca, it is preposterous, the result of one powerful man’s desire to be remembered and stamp his mark on his country with one huge monument to his ego, rather than forge a lasting memorial by tackling some of the issues faced by his people.

While there was little drive to head inside for a closer look, the motorway which links Yamassoukoro and former capital Abidjan was one legacy we were happy to embrace as we ate up the miles into the first, brief, rain since Morocco.

Compared with most of the bigger cities we have visited, Abidjan has a more western feel, but remains distinctly African, throwing up the issues this continent specialises in.

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Lounging By The Pool – Christmas Day was a struggle

Pulling up at the campsite which has housed the last couple of Trans Africa trips, we found no sign of the compound and all the luxuries we had been dreaming of at the back of the truck. Instead, we found a long stretch of rubble with the entire seafront flattened.

But with cook groups dispatched into the market opposite and a new plan needed, it arrived in a hurry as a car pulled up in front of the truck and out stepped the former owner of the now vanished campsite.

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Photobombing – Joe makes a splash

He had seen the big yellow truck roll down the road, put two and two together and jumped in his car to help us out with an alternative venue he knew a few miles down the road.

This. Is. Africa.

Within minutes of arriving in our new home, half our group – well, most of the guys – were in the pool and in the midst of a birthday party thrown by a bunch of teachers from a local school.

Keen to practise their English and just to show wonderful hospitality, we were instantly invited into the throng, eating cake, dancing and making friends.

This. Is. Africa.

With conditions making the sea at the adjacent beach out of bounds, the pool became a base for many us over the next few days – not surprising as temperatures soared above 30C, to say nothing of the humidity – and a handy tool to discover where the leak was which caused my air bed to go down twice during our stay.

Some made it out to Abidjan at one point, while we all headed to Grande Bassam for one final Christmas shopping expedition and fruitless search for festive wi-fi, before we settled in to mark the holidays back at the campsite.

Not as loudly, however, as the congregation of the church next door who ushered in Christmas Day with a service mixing midnight mass and a gospel rock concert, undeterred by the shower which forced those of us in mosquito tents back into the safety of the tents we had left back in Senegal and had all of us sweltering under rain covers throughout the night.

By the time the congregation had unplugged their amps, normal service was resumed back in dry tents and we steeled ourselves for a day of lounging by the pool, phoning home and settling down to enjoy the feast centred around two pigs cooked by Steve over charcoal and suspended between two of the sand mats (which we had conveniently got out to free us from the sandy car park before heading out the day before).

A visit from Father Christmas to dish out our secret Santa presents and we spent a relaxed evening scattered around the site before heading off to bed.

And discovering one Christmas wish for a fully-inflated bed had not come true.

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Yodibikro

WHY travel?

Simple question and one asked in various forms from non-converts since the urge to head off around the world really took hold.

Providing an answer has never been simple. There’s usually some mumbling about experiencing and seeing new things, meeting people from different backgrounds and just enjoying the feeling of freedom.

In future, it can be easier to explain. Travel, at least this form of lengthy overland travel, is all about days like Sunday, December 21, 2014.

What we thought lay ahead as we headed south on our first full day in Cote d’Ivoire was another bush camp. Maybe, if we were lucky, we might actually get a campsite with showers. They might even be hot. There may even, whisper it quietly, be wi-fi.

Such are the wishes of a truck full of overlanders as we near the time to pull off the road for that night’s stop.

What we got was Yodibikro.

Way back in Gibraltar, on our first night of the trip – seven weeks, but seemingly a whole other world, ago – Steve asked the main things on my list of things to do and see as we headed around Africa.

Not sure how coherent my answer was with a mouthful of food and after a couple of beers, but think it went somewhere along the lines of trying not to have such a list in mind as past experience has proved it is generally the things you didn’t see coming, had no way of knowing about or expected very little from which turn out to be the most memorable.

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Goat in a bowl

And none of us saw the village of Yodibikro coming. Right until we were in the middle of it. Even now, doubt any of us could come close to finding it on a map – if it is even on any maps – but what followed will live with all of us and had us all walking around with fixed grins for the entire night.

As the evening progressed, little groups of us would congregate in the middle of the chaos, shaking our heads, swapping stories and repeating phrases along the lines of “this is crazy”.

All on what should have been a routine day – eat up the miles heading south through Cote d’Ivoire with the capital city of Yamassoukoro as the main target before setting up camp ahead of a final dash to the beaches around Abidjan and settling in for Christmas.

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Village people – The chief looks slightly bemused by his early-morning visitors. And their gift of biscuits

The previous couple of days had been routine since rolling away from five days of relative luxury in Bamako. Days on the truck had been subdued and even our two bush camps, either side of a pretty straightforward border crossing punctuated by the latest in a string of temperature checks in the fight against ebola, had seen us all head to our sleeping bags early.

But rather than head straight onto the truck after breakfast, we headed the couple of hundred yards to the adjacent village – as arranged with the chief when he became the latest caller to camp the night before – for a quick visit.

Initial wariness among some of the villagers was soon replaced with a warm welcome and smiles, especially with the now traditional showing of our cameras for them to see the pictures they were starring in – always guaranteed to raise a laugh.*

Having paid our respects to the chief (not sure quite what he made of the packet of biscuits), we piled back on the truck to make our way down the track to the road. Only to pile straight back off again moments later as a puncture ripped through the side of one of the tyres.

With Steve largely occupied under the truck, we felt pretty safe getting our cameras out to catalogue the moment as he and Joe carried out the necessary repairs and had us back on the road in half an hour.

And we thought that was the excitement for the day, bar unexpectedly rich pickings at a store for a quick stock-up and a cook group stop for the night ahead which sparked much confusion with the three-way translation between French, English and Japanese in the market.

One of our current cook group knows what he is doing around food. The other doesn’t. One of us speaks Japanese, but very little English and no French. One of us speaks no Japanese and, despite an A Level pass years ago, only enough confident Francais to order a beer and the simplest of items (plus useless stuff about working as a douanier at an airport and owning a cat called Miki).

Not sure we quite bought what we needed (or that either of us knew exactly what the other was intending to cook), but we did succeed in finding the best bread of the trip.

The plan was to rustle up some form of pasta dish when we pulled up for the night’s stop, which appeared imminent when we turned right off the main road to the capital and onto a dirt track which  was supposed to take us to a lakeside camp for the evening.

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Welcome party – The children of Yodibikro greet the big yellow truck

Where it did take us was down some narrow avenues between trees which saw more foliage and insects pitched into the back of the truck and through a series of small villages nestled in gaps between the lush vegetation which has sprung up as we have headed south from Mali.

Last of those was Yodibikro.

Originally, it was just to drive through the IMG_3187customary smiling, waving, if bemused, locals as the big yellow truck made its way down the road, white faces looking out and waving back at them.

But with the lake showing no signs of revealing itself (it never did), Joe and Steve took the decision to do a quick about turn and see if the village was a possible camp.

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Cook group – Jiro and I battle manfully to cook up a meal among the crowds. And other distractions…

By now, the crowds had grown – largely children running and smiling along the side of the truck who, we were told, had never seen white people before – and as Joe stumbled across the one man in the village who spoke English, he and Steve were escorted off, with Michael as translator, for an audience with the village elders.

While they considered and voted on our situation, we remained on the truck surrounded by a crowd of smiling faces, who broke into cheers every time a camera flashed.

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How many for dinner? – Waiting for the food drew an audience

Eventually, our delegation returned with the news we were camping right there in the heart of the village and we decamped into the excited throng to set up the kitchen and prepare the evening meal ringed by an audience five or six deep held back – not always successfully – by a semi-circle of plastic chairs, which appeared from nowhere, for us and various tribal elders.

Cooking really doesn’t get much tougher than producing food for the 19 of us, plus the handful of villagers considered important enough to get a seat, under the watchful, rowdy (but never threatening), cheering throng, all while sat next to a roaring fire in sweltering conditions with the whole of our group mixing a helping hand with grabbing as many pictures with our hosts as they could and generally soaking up this impromptu magic moment. One or two even had marriage proposals.

All with one or two whisky-related complications thrown in.

If our cooking and general behaviour entertained our hosts, the appearance of our tents took things to another level as we readied ourselves for bed.

My mosquito net, erected in seconds, with me settling down for a sweltering night wedged between the truck and the road drew a crowd all of its own.

But gradually, with a couple of villagers posted to stand guard around us and keep people away, the onlookers drifted away (or were ordered home by their parents) and we were left largely alone to reflect on a magical evening which could not have been planned and could not be replicated if you tried.

And that is why we travel.

* The locals are having to fight for starring roles in pictures with some of the livestock, particularly in the expanding series of pictures of goats in things. As well as the legendary goats in trees, we have had goats on a roof, goats on a bus, goats on graves, goats on a three-wheeled bike (albeit dead), goats on woodpiles and, in this particular village, a goat in a bowl. Missed goats on a pile of pottery.

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