Every F**^ing Hotel

Day 44, stage 34, 104km

Start, bush camp

Finish, Arba Minch, Swayne’s Hotel

After yesterday’s ride I took an ORS sachet – oral rehydration salts. They usually give these to kids who have chronic diarrhea and are in bad shape. But athletes also use them. I had tried to take one the day I got lot on the last off road section. But it tasted so vile it almost made me gag and I never did force it down. This time I put half a sachet in a litre of water instead of a full sachet. And while it wasn’t the best tasting beverage in the world, I could get it down. I am glad I did. After feeling increasingly run down for several days, today I felt much better. While I can’t there was full spring in my legs they were much more responsive and I felt much better generally.

Today was not long but we were off road again. In the Sudan the off road section had been sand, sharp gravel, corrugation and cracked earth. Now we had really bad tracks made of fist sized rocks and larger boulders. Picking a route was tricky. Most of the time I was bouncing over sharp rocks and boulders sitting proud. The going was slow. The wind was also with us in force today. Throughout Ethiopia we have been riding into a headwind. Going uphill on a rocky track makes the headwind even more noticeable. But we also had some sections of tarmac today, which allowed us to ride more quickly. So we had a testing day with a taste of off road again but not a killer day.

We also had a bit of a bonus today. Our campsite was in the grounds of a hotel in Arba Minch so Vince and I got a room and had a good shower. We also decided that not only would we try to stay on track for EFI (every f**^ing inch) but that we would also try to stay on track for that other much coveted award, the EFH (every f**^ing hotel). Not sure there are any medals for this though. There was also a decent restaurant there so we had some beer and some French fries. We get no fried food from the camp kitchen. We get whatever you can cook in a big pot over a Gas ring as well as, from time to time, some meat grilled over a wood fire. So, as dreadful as it sounds, whenever we get the chance for some fried food we go for it.

The hotel and camp site were at the edge of town on top of a hill. We had tremendous views of two lakes we had cycled round today. It was an odd kind of place. We were in a kind of suburb. There were dozens of soviet style apartment blocks, arranged in regimented rows on the roads leading to the hotel. They were obviously fairly new and just as obviously in a poor state of repair. Street life was an odd mix of trying to be swank shops, pool halls, bars, and makeshift kiosks. It was good to get a sound sleep in a bed before the next two off road days.

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