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Entry 23 // The Race... Day 3 of 4

Update by: Luke | February 28th, 2011

We wake up early and pack up camp. While I take photos of the grounds, Nick finds out that the tree he leaned his bike against for the night took a toll on his gas can.They had a nice out house to use, and we bailed out of there before people started waking up and distracting us from our long day ahead of driving.We only have about 300 K until the boarder. Should only take 2 hours to get there. According to the GPS, there is fuel in a town about half way there. This is a mandatory stop, so we make it to the town and search for the gas station. The town is off the main road about 3 K and the road through town is hard packed clay with bumps and dips everywhere. The gas station is open, but they pumps are not turned on. Apparently they don't have enough gasoline to justify putting it in the inground tank. They just sell it by the liter out of 10 liter jugs. I am a bit skeptical, but it's our only option. They have a dirty screen in the funnel to filter anything out. They cleaned it up for us, and I checked for water in the jugs. Everything looked fine so we went for it.Nick goes firstThey cleaned up the screen before they fueled my bike.I must be getting over paranoid, because this gas was fine, everything is working great. I need to relax and just go with the program like I usually do. This bad fuel pump and all the problems from the day before are unfortunatly changing my personality for the worse. Ok, no more worrying allowed.

Back on the road and we get to the boarder before noon. Everything is on schedule today. We are doing great.

We come across a police road block. There are many of them here. This is very normal. Usually we shut off the engines and have a friendly chat for a second before they let us through. They never ask to see documents, but they always ask how fast the bikes go. This time the gaurd asked for a pen. I pulled one out. He wrote on his arm with it to see if it worked and put it in his pocket. At this point I notice he already has a pen in his shirt pocket. Then he asks Nick if he has a pen. Nick says no. The guard raises the gate and waves us by. We have the intercoms turned on and we start laughing as soon as we are past. I've never had that happen to me before. It turns out the joke was on me, as I will find out having a pen is very handy at the border.

We see this on the way to the border. How does this stuff happen?I can't tell you how many broken down semi tucks we saw on the side of the road in Zambia. They do complete repairs right on the road. This one looks like a differiental or gear box swap.We also see lots of accidents. There were two crashed cars, and people were rushing to put a guy inside this truck to haul him away.

This border is a nightmare. As see as we are within 100 meters of the border people start running next to us shouting gibberish. We just keep riding through the crowd not stopping until the gaurds at the fence for the border. They tell us we need to go back into the crowd and do the customs and imigrating thing. I stay by the bikes outside of the building and deal with the people trying to tell us what we need to do, while Nick is inside getting his passport stamped and figuring out what to do by the legit government employees. Nick comes out and I take my turn inside. Exiting is very easy. They stamp our passport, then you get a paper for your bike, take it to the gaurds, he signs it, then you take it back to the office, they sign it, then you take it back to the gaurd, he keeps it and you are out of the country.

Step 1 done is done.

Step 2 is harder.

So the same hecklers from the Zambia side follow us over and start bugging us on the Tanzania side. I am the only one with money right now, so Nick watches the bikes while I figure out the paperwork. Turns out I need $100 USD for my Visa. This is really steep and I don't even have that much US money on me.. I find a currency exchange building and come out with the US currency. I know that $100 is not the right price. It should be $50, but there are no signs for the prices anywhere, and it's not really in my power to complain because it wouldn't get cheaper, and we don't have the time to waste here. I hand over my passport and $100 USD. My only hint of joy is the fact that they accepted a few of my torn $10 bills that no one else would take that I snuck in the middle of the money. The man takes my money and passport and walks away to a room. He dissapears for a minute then comes back with no eye contact and helps the next person in line. I am off to the side waiting. After he helps around 5 people and what is about 10 minutes, I politely ask, where is my passport. This seems to jog his memory and walks over to the closed door and dissapears for a few minutes. He comes out with my passport and visa good for 1 year. Ok, now I just need to get to customs and import my motorcycle.

Well, no one is inside the customs office. The hecklers from the Zambia side are in there instead. They reach over the counter and grab all the forms I need, they get 3 sheets of carbon paper because apperantly I need 3 copies. They explain what I need to fill in. I fill it all out then, they tell me I need a copy of my title and registration. We walk down to a office supply place, which is just a shack tucked in amist like shacks. I copy mine and nicks papers for a buck. Back at the customs office no one is still there. Finally an obease woman shows up. You have to kind of just shove your papers infront of her to get her attention. She wants to see my caranet. I explain that we don't have one. I show her all the offical papers that I have. Nothing is working. I've been at this for about 3 hours now and need a break. I go outside and switch jobs with Nick. About 1/2 hour later, he comes out with a thumbs up. I still don't know what he did in there, but he got us the temperary imports. Now he just needs to get his Visa at imagration and we are good to go.

Well, you remember Nick didn't have any money at this point. He tries to ride his bike back to Zambia to a bank that we saw near the border, but he is told they won't let him enter now that his bike is imported to Tanzania. A heckler tells him of a bank he can walk to on this side of the border. He takes Nick with him and I play hacky sac with some people while watching the bikes. It's been a while and Nick finally comes back. I remember wondering if they would kidnap him at the ATM machine, but he was just fine. Now he goes to the currency exchange office to change the Tanzania money to USD. Nick goes through the same process with the Visa and comes out ready to go, or so we think.

Immagration and Customs done, but now the hecklers are telling us we need Insurance. We don't know what to believe. It's another $50 per bike for this. We are getting sick of being nickled and dimed to death. Should we risk is? Well we didn't, but on hind site we should have. The border gaurds never asked to see any when we crossed. Infact, the only reason the hecklers follow you through the whole process is so you buy insurance from them at the end. They are all insurance sellers. We find out it's supposted to be $30, but they are charging $50. We don't have time to argue. We need daylight to get some miles on and get to Timmer. We give in simply to save time. Timmer is a higher priority at this point. Frustrated we are finally in Tanzania.

This is the gate to Tanzania. It's only two cars wide and you can see it's blocked off right now from stubern drivers. No one would back up, so it was just blocked for about 15 minutes. I was watching this while Nick took care of Insurance.Rain makes border crossing more fun.We stop to get more money at this Mobile ATM. The gaurd was definitally not pleased that I took a photo. As soon as Nick got his money we took off.Time for a quick bite to eat. We are starving. We find this place. Finally some cheap food. I'm starting to like this country. The meal was only about $2 USD each. Good food, service and a smile. What more can you ask for? So much better than that $10 Bimbo BurgerBack on the road we see more of the usualWe pound out another 150 miles, and by now it is pitch black and has been raining steady. Tired again, we find a hotel to crash for the night. $14 for a night. I am really liking the prices in Tanzania. After we are all settled they inform us that two guys can't share the same room. This is another one of their little tricks. We just tell them we are sharing and we will leave in the morning. They give up on trying to get us to buy another room. Sleep time. We did ok today, but we have a huge day ahead of us to get to Timmer late tomorrow night.

 

 

 

 

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