Trip From Holland to South Africa Part 3
The initial plan was to go from Europe to Afrika via ferry from Sicily to Tunisia then Libya. But after numerous Libyan visaI decided why bother? Is full of sand and guys with bad hair anyway.
So next plan was to take the well established Athens to Alexandra ferry. I'd read accounts in several motorbike books as well as on blogs.
No probs, shoot down to Greece and hop on the ferry.
However when I thought I'd better check on the times (to see how frequent it was) it turned out to be not very frequent. Like VERY infrequent. Like not running anymore.
Hmmm.....


So that's a good theory shot down by bad facts.
And I'm in Munich and already started my Tour de Warthog.
OK, well the other way is via Turkey, then Syria and Jordan.
I mean no probs.
No ferry's to cancel, well, there IS one, from Aquaba/Jordan to Egypt, skirting Israel. But that's almost swimmable.

On the map it doesn't look too far either.
Well in defence it was a BIG map.
So now, after days of riding thru Eastern Europe, then Turkey I'm about half way this "little step".
And not even into the Middle East let alone Afrika!!

I did not plan on this so no maps of Turkey, Syria or Jordan.
Only GPS is from "The Smelly Biker" (really).

OK, Turkey maps are available, altho a bit dated due to so much new roadworks (plus the already discussed sign thing).

So, Syria must be no problem either.
I mean it borders on Turkey.
Lots of Turks go into it.
No probs.

Well.
NOBODY has a Syria map for sale.
I tried in the biggest city near the main border posts.
NOTHING.
Honest.
I asked the one store what happens if the Turkish Army ants to invade Syria and no maps???
How do they get to Damascus????
They say the Turkish Army is very strong and Syria is small.
Maps not important: is small country and just go thru whole country: who needs maps then???
I must admit to the logic in that.

As for me, they asked well why go there anyway?
Full of unfriendly people and is a dirty country (quote).
Hmm.....I said I'd already crossed off Libya for same reason.
They said, well is small country and....(you heard that before).
I said is different if you are in a big Turkish Army tank with a lot of mates in other tanks.
I'm a Solo Warthog on a motorbike, admittedly a BIG Warthog on a BIG bike, but not as big as a Turkish Army tank.
And even at that, as I said I am solo. 

Unbelievable: who would have thought a map would be an issue????
My guidebook has info, but no detailed map.
And is electronic anyways.
There's some interesting places in Syria but they all seem to have been renamed from the easy Crusader names (why??) and I'm sure if the signpost guys had fun in Bulgaria with me, WHAT will they have in store with arabic signage????
Even worse than the Quebecois with Albertan tourists I bet.

There was one theory that said one could buy maps at the border from a special store....
Hmm.....yeah right.
Well, no other options really.
Still, if I pass by a Turkish Army post with semi-friendly guys I will ask for a copy. They MUST have maps.

Stay tuned. 
The Invasion WILL go ahead.

Day 2 Of The Syrian Invasion By The Forces of the Supreme Warthog
The Advance Forces have managed to obtain a Syrian map!!!
Yee haaaa.
OK, that was the good news.
The BAD news was that the Signage Boys got there first.
It's in Arabic.
Sigh.
I guess it had to be, eh?

Sign reading becomes more important now tho, I mean in Canada you basically ignore "Danger" and "Slow Down" and "Sharp Curve" signs.
Well, I do.
I mean it's not really serious, right?
But here when they say "Slow Down", well, there really IS a reason.
Like no more road, or a 180 turn ahead or a huge hole or something.
Is OK for the locals (who as I said know anyways).
But when the reason for whatever is in arabic it gets interesting.

And making a wrong turn is also something to be paying a bit more attention to.
I mean if you are driving towards Ottawa and accidentally go the wrong way and end up in Quebec it's OK: I mean usually nobody gets shot or blown up, right?

Well, it's a bit different here.
The next door neighbour to Syria is not Quebec.
Check the sign.
I made sure I paid attention to the right turn there!!

Posted by Leafrican on Tuesday 03 August 2010 - 22:13:07printer friendly create pdf of this news item
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