Apr 3rd, 2008

Best and Worst Of

by Maria
Posted in Egypt, Ethiopia, Malawi, Sudan, Tanzania

We are officially halfway through the TDA, distance-wise. In honor of this momentous occasion, we thought we would post some of the best of/worst of highlights so far. Some of the stories are ours, some belong to other riders’. Names have been omitted to protect the humiliated. ;)

Most Used Quote:
Eh…clean enough. (Used while doing laundry or when checking out the toilet facilities)

Best Overall Quote:
Another rider to Spiros as they were cycling together: “Don’t cycle behind me….I have diarrhea”.

Best Hotel Bathroom Story:
One of our admittedly germophobic fellow riders got a hotel room somewhere in Sudan. Horrified by the condition of the bathroom, she promptly went to management to complain. Eager to please their distraught guest, they assured her that they would send someone to clean the washroom. A little while later, there was a knock at the door. The cleaner shows up, stands at the entrance of the washroom, pulls out an aerosol can, gives the room a quick spritz, smiles proudly and leaves. Done! :D

Best “Diarrhea /Emergency Bathroom Stop” Story:
Well, with 70 riders and over 2 months of eating/drinking from questionable sources, we have plenty of “diarrhea/emergency bathroom stops” stories to speak of. I can’t pick so maybe we’ll take a vote on this one. Which rider would you least want to be?

  • Rider A running frantically through an empty, flat field with no tree or bush to hide behind, toilet paper in hand, all the while being chased by 5 kids asking for birhh. (ethiopian currency)

  • Rider B who found a spot to hide behind a huge semi-buried pipeline. He positioned himself at one end, (derriere facing the open end), dropped his pants, squatted down and soon heard tiny voices behind him saying “Hello, Hello”. (Three kids followed him and were peering at him through the other end of the pipe).

  • Rider C who desperately got off his bike, managed to hide behind a tree in time, and was in the middle of “doing his business” only to be approached by a very persistent mango salesman. “No…I don’t need a mango…please… go away!!!!!”

Best “Overcoming the language barrier” story:
People are often surprised to see women doing the tour. A female rider was standing on the side of the road waiting for another rider when some local woman came by. She smiled and attempted to have a conversation using the few words of Swahili she knows. One of the women, as if suddenly realizing that this person in front of her in helmet and biking shorts was a female, gasped, grabbed her own chest and asked “Mama???!!!”. The rider laughed, unzipped her jacket, grabbed her boobs and nodded: “Yes, Mama!!”. :D

Most Ice Creams in One Day:
Three. I know, I know….that is a pitifully low number. In our defense, we have had great difficulty finding ice cream in most places. We promise to do better in the future.

Best Greeting From The Side Of The Road:

“Jambo Sista’ ” or “Good Morning teacher”

Worst Greeting From The Side Of The Road:
“Mzungu, give me money.”

Worst Toilets:
Football field in Idfu – How exactly did they get that stuff on the walls and ceiling?

Craziest Hair on the Tour:
Oh c’mon now, y’all know who gets that prize. You’ll be amused to know that due to the heat and humidity of Tanzania, my hair has reached new heights of frizzy.

Hardest Terrain to Cycle On:

Sand. See for yourself.

Worst Energy Bar Flavor Ever:
Lemon Lime. Its’ pastel green in color and has the consistency of chewing gum for heaven’s sake! A close runner up is “Rhum Raisin”.

Worst Laundry Service:

Wadi Shabela Hotel in Addis Ababa. We picked up our laundry, paid and later realized that the clothes hadn’t even been taken out of the bag, never mind washed. So much for being savvy travelers. ;-)

Best Cycling Day:
Sorry, way too many to chose from.

Prettiest Scenery:

Another tough call because each country has been so different. We’ve loved the mountains of Ethiopia and the stunning landscapes of Tanzania.

Longest Day on the Bike:
11 hours from start to finish including breaks and flats (120 Km, 1200 m elevation gain, gravel road, 4 flats.)

Most Pitiful Scene:
Seven of us sitting pathetically on the doorstep of closed Lulu’s Ice Cream Shop in the rain, peering through and tapping on the window, desperately hoping that someone would open up and give us ice cream.

Most Disappointing (Other then the broken collar bone):

Not getting sponsorship from Chamois Buttr’. Had we been sponsored, we would have brought enough bum butter for everyone. Can you imagine how popular that would have made us?! Why…the other riders would have loved us, we would have been the belle of the ball, the couple all other couples wanted to be!!! But alas, it was not meant to be…. and now we’re just plain ‘ol Spiros and Maria…the grumpy looking dude and his wife with the crazy hair…sigh.

Most Tragic:
The fact that I’m finally burning over 4000 calories a day and 40% of my daily caloric intake is from peanut butter and jam sandwiches…blech. Let me state once again what I said on back in Egypt… “I want cake dammit! CAAAAAAAAAAAKE…glorious cake!”

Worst Smell:
Our sleeping bags after 2 months of use. Did I mention that most days a “shower” consists of a handful of wet wipes? Did I also mention that we’ve been cycling in 40 degree C temperature?

Nicest Surprise:
Wadi Halfa, truly the land of the pimped up tuk-tuk.

Worst Equipment Failure:
My Pearl Izumi cycling gloves. They were brand new but after only 2 weeks of use on the off roads of Sudan, they looked like this.

Funniest Cycling Accident: (Not to worry, no one was hurt)
One very, very rainy day, while cycling up a steep hill, one rider had two cows slide into her. One cow slipped from the rain, slid into another cow, then they both slid and crashed onto her.

Best Way to Loose EFI (Every F**** inch):

Break your collar bone of course. If you’re going to loose it, it might as well be spectacular.

One Response to “Best and Worst Of”

  1. Sandy Says:

    Oh man I laughed so hard reading this… a much needed giggle


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