Thursday, February 4, 2010

Barter Town

Like a scene from a mad max movie, Ferdi came riding around the corner of the truck wearing a soup bowl on his head, secured by a pair of swim goggles.  A towl / cape streamed from around his neck and he had two sets of underwear on over his trousers.  It was the day before our rest day in Khartoum and it was time for out weekly lost and found game.... The Beer Box.  

Riders lose stuff.  It's inevitable.  They leave it in camp or on the trucks or on the table in the kitchen.  It's annoying for the crew to clean up after them so we invented the beer box.  Instead of returning lost items to the riders they go in a box where they are stored unitl the day before a rest day.  In camp that night we break out the box and hold an auction for the lost items.  Riders bid on the items using beer as currency.  All debts are to be paid on the rest day.  So far the highest bid has been for a jar of Nutella - 25 beers!  That may seem hard to understand but ride thru the desert for two weeks and see how valuable that jar of nutella is to you then.  

The beer auction has apparently spawned the entreprenurial spirit in our riders though.  There is a small economy slowly developing in camp.  Riders are providing services like tent set up, dish washing, and even bike washing.... for a fee.  One of the faster riders has even offered to carry the solar chargers of slower riders to camp so that the can be set up in the noon sun instead of later in the day.  It's an interesting twist in the social development of the group.  So far they are operating in a cash economy, no credit is available, but who knows.....  

Sorry no pictures yet.  I've taken a couple dozen but nothing really that exciting... except the one shown here - Atomic Racing is now international!  

Things are slowly setting into a routine so I hope to write more and take more pictures.  We head into the Sinar State and Dinnar National Park next.  Very excited about this.  It's a new route for us and a part of Sudan that very few people  get to see.   


Paul J McManus
Tour Director, Tour d'Afrique Ltd

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