Welcome to this introduction of my blog, about me (and some other crazy people that I have not yet met) attempting to cycle the Tour d'Afrique 2019, starting on January 17th in Cairo - Egypt - and ending on May 12th in Cape Town - South Africa.

18/11/10, 66 days to go, TDA prep

After my weekend in Saigon last week, I flew back to the Netherlands. The main reason for flying back home? TDA preparations! It is not possible for me to make all arrangements for the tour when i am in Vietnam, so last week was very important for me to get organized. I also have another two weeks right before the start of the tour to make all final arrangements.

So I arrived back at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport on monday during lunchtime. I used the rest of the afternoon at the airport to arrange a 2nd pasport and to get my first round of vaccinations. Before returning back to Vietnam I will leave my 2nd pasport at a visum agency that will then arrange all the required visas for me, while using my original pasport to return back to Vietnam. It took a lot of convincing and explaining (1,5 hours, while being quite jetlagged) to actually get my request for the pasport approved, but it was very much worth the effort. This 2nd pasport is going to make my life a lot easier. So i’m really very happy that I got it!

18/11/01, 77 days to go, Saigon

The nice thing about working for an international engineering firm, is the different places you get to visit. This weekend I’m in Ho Chi Minh City for work and because I had not seen this city yet, I flew in a day early, took a day off and explored the city. By coincidence, the hotel that I’m in is located across the street from a very decent bikeshop, which also rents out bikes. So instead of taking a taxi or a motorcycle across the city, I rented a bicycle :-) (pure coincedence! Not planned at all!!! Its True!)

So I did the basic touristy stuff. Looked at the French colonial cathedral, post office, city hall, opera house... But when I was taking a picture of city hall, a young lady on a motorcycle pulled up next to me and introduced herself as Euvy (probably not spelled correctly) and told me in proper English that she was an English teacher. She asked me whether I was interested in assisting her in one of her classes, because her students had never talked with a real foreigner before. The class would be held at 6pm somewhere in one of the suburbs of the city. Because I felt I would be done with my city exploration quite soon (Ho Chi Minh City is a nice chaotic city, but thats more or less it...) and because I felt this could be an interesting opportunity to interact with some locals, I agreed :-)

18/10/10, 99 days to go, Vietnam Road Trip

99 days to go! Unfortunately back in May i've been hit by some persisting stomach bugs, for which I eventually was put on antibiotics. Not once, but twice, because the first round of medicines didn't quite do the job. All this medicines left me somewhat weak in the knees and at the end of June I found myself unable to ride more than 10km's or so, feeling just exhausted an light in the head. Not a good thing when you just committed yourself to a 12.000 km bike ride :-(

Since then recovery has been quite slow. My stomach and gut remained quite sensitive to both local Vietnamese food and more conventional western food, but there was progress nevertheless. I've been riding 25k's across the Bai Chai bridge every day for the past 2 months and during the weekends I made some 75k trips. But despite that, my enthusiasm for the Tour d'Afrique has slowly been replaced with utter fear for the monstreous task ahead!

18/09/16 four months...

Just a little less than four months to go untill I depart for Cairo! This means that I’ve slowly started buying all required equipment. I must say that I was a bit shocked to see the actual size of a 89 liter duffelbag, of which we are allowed to take two! During the next four months I will slowly start filling these monstrous bags...

And I’ve ordered a new bike. Just because its nice to buy a new bike :-) Delivery is expected at the beginning of November, when i’m back in NL. The fun has already started :-)