Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Northern Kenya Day Four
Soleil means "sun" in French, but it was also the name of a French cyclist I met in the desert.
He was deeply tanned with a grizzly beard, a grungy sleeveless undershirt and brown trousers which had a broken zipper.
We exchanged pleasantries. We cursed at the road. He asked if it improved later on and I assured him that it was terrible for the next 50 km.
Then he tried to bum cash off me so he could buy a visa into Ethiopia. It turned out that he had had to spend $6 to repair the ball bearings on his bottom bracket and was now utterly penniless.
He had had a business in South Africa but it had run into problems so he decided to buy a used Rockhopper for $100 and cycle back to France. He was sleeping out in the open at night. I don't know what he was eating.
I worried that he didn't seem to have enough water for the desert. He wasn't carrying a lot of gear. On the front of his bike he had some rock climbing shoes and a coil of rope and on the back he had a guitar.
It is the duty of cyclists who meet in the desert to help each other so I gave him $20. I have since heard that you can't buy visas at that border post, you have to do that in Nairobi. Maybe you can talk your way through. I hope he made it home.
Posted by Dan Carpenter at 4:26 AM