Hardest night of all around Addis Ababa
Just after publishing our evening news, Marius had a solution for our tablet-problem. Our Navigation could work again and we had a calm night, although the road ahead was difficult to drive. Until now, Africa has not shown it´s gentle side to us.
200 km before Addis, we got into a heavy thunderstorm. Lightning bolts every minute, Matthias drives the Touareg on a gravel road - diversion due to roadworks. Torrents run down the gravel road and we stop behind a line of trucks. Dense smog is in the air and the natives gather around the Touareg to take a look inside. Rainer is annoyed - he had called weather and traffic offices only one hour ago to know about any problems on the road ahead. A flooded road with 70 cm of water on it and a diversion of gravel and mud for 2 km does not seem to count here. Some truckers did already park their trucks to stop for the night and the vans did already reach their parking position after 15 meters. Rainer did not hesitate, took off his shoes and went outside into the water. An old men helps our team leader and tries to feel the ground of the flooded road with a stick. Also the second door closes behind a team member - "I´ve got to do my job" - equipped with his camera, Marius jumps shoeless into the water.
Well, I was the only one left in the car, motor on and I recalled what I´ve learned from the Off-road training in Bratislava´s Volkswagen factory. I remembered two things: do not produce waves and something with 70 cm. I opened up a new lane and stepped on the gas - there were several people inside the water, none of them knee-deep. I went from one group to the next and it worked out. Rainer came out first "I was filled with adrenaline and did not even feel the sharp stones underneath my feet". 200 m further, the hard part was overcome and we were back on track. The price of this: a cut in the bottom of Marius´ foot, wet clothes for two team members. Our antiseptic spray is not gone, its just not findable. Deodorant has to help out. Reward for this: only 25 minutes of hard work instead of several hours for driving an alternative route.
Completely exhausted, we reached our fuel stop in Addis Ababa around 1 a.m. The delegates of the German embassy in Ethiopia gave us a warm welcome - a hot meal, beverages, chocolate bars and encouraging words. That was really good after the long and hard journey we´ve had. At 2 a.m. Marius took over the steering wheel - our guarantee for safe nights. It is 9 o´clock now, the last 400 km were really hard for the Touareg. 70% of gravel road and bumpers, the rest was brittle asphalt. We are on our way to Kenya, Marius is still driving. We´ll swop places soon, but Marius´work is not done for today - he is only changing work places.