18 March 2010 Visas: Libya? Algeria? “Rien ne va plus!” End of the game

Crescent Moon

All teams are awake at 9am in Hotel Rahma. Everybody is excited to go to Libya. If we get the visas. We have to hurry up as it’s already Thursday and Friday the islamic countries are not working. Therefore if we can’t arrange it today we can’t go there tomorrow. So we are making several phone calls, and sending emails to find out what are the necessary requirements for the Libyan visa. We get some information: we can enter if our Ministry of Foreign Affairs is letting us go.

But unfortunately none of us receive positive reply from them. Even more the Libyan authorities are declaring officially that no way that a Schengen country can get the visa to enter the territories of Libya. We are very said as it seems we are paying the price for those political games in which we have never been involved.

Heads up! We still can get the Algerian visa! We would explore a bit the region and try to get to the Sahara. We find out soon: we also have to have a permission to enter those deserted parts of the country.

We drive through small villages and the people are more curious what we are doing here. Everybody is surprised why we have to have visas, and why we can’t get them. We are sad but still hope to have some good news from the organizers who are still sitting in the waiting room of the Consulate.

We are driving toward South-West and along the way we stop at a café. The owner is a very kind person and serves us menthe tea with some home-made biscuits. He also has a hawk and let’s us to make photos of her. Wacek the Polish old guy jumps on the camel statue to show how a man rides a camel. We are having fun!
But then suddenly we receive the worst news: Algeria is not issuing visa to anyone due to a killing that has happened on the 13 March in the Southern Algerian Region. People are desperate and very sad. Most of them have been preparing for this for months or even years. All of us have invested money, time and hope to it. And now it just taken away from us. And not only from us but also from those African kids, who will not get those gifts, presents what we’ve brought to them. It’s very disappointing but what can we do? We already tried our bests to get the visa, but after a certain point one has to admit we are failed.

We still would enjoy all we can from this trip but everyone prepares the return to home. Our little convoy of 4 cars will go to Kebili to stay close to the desert. We try to get authorization and at least we can test the cars in the sand. At lunchtime we leave the road and go into the wild nature. We build up our camp and everyone prepares some food and gets some rest. Our Latvian friends have a break down with their tire. A 10 cm long metallic stick has been crushed to the tire. And all it happened on the asphaltic road! Incredible.

Before dawn we arrive to Kebili to a very nice hotel. We are regrouping with the other teams and having fun. We are also sharing our projects what to do, where to go now. Let’s take Tarmo the Estonian, who drives all alone a Mazda van, and decided to discover Africa in 2 months. As he can not enter the Sahara from the East he will take a ferry from Tunis to Morocco, and he will try to enter from the other side. Or take Wacek, who is more than 70 years old farmer, and joined to TSR with his friends Marek and Grzegorz. (Those who followed our previous adventures know who they are).

It’s really very nice to meet interesting people who are also doing same crazy things like we do. Like Crazybird who is driving in a little car towards Burma, or everyone who are here in TSR with us. All of us are crazy in a way but also have something special. Let’s take Arek Pawelek, who is a real adventurer, and also participates in TSR. In 1998 he was the second person who sailed across the Atlantic Ocean with a 4,5 m-long inflatable boat! Then he was the first who single-handed sailed around Cape Horn on an open RIB! So all of these guys are great characters in a way, and also they have great hearts too. They are different but in a way they are the same. All of them have a same goal: the adventures and helping the others. We made nice friendships and learned a lot from them. We hope to have great fun together tomorrow when we enter the Sahara. It would be our last adventure within TSR… This year.

As we couldn’t go to Benin we have to find out how to get there…. The story will continue.
Gondwanateam will return back! Sooner you might think. :-)