Monthly Archives: June 2008

Africa Dispatch: Egypt

Egypt cell: +20-161229519
Thuraya: +88216-51071135
me@christophbangert.com

Dear all,

Chiho and I are in Egypt. Yesterday we left the African continent and we are now in a small town called Nuweiba on the Sinai peninsular. When I look up from my computer screen I can see the deep blue waters of the gulf of Aqaba right in front of me and the Saudi Arabian shore in the distance.

We traveled a great distance since my last dispatch reached you from Dar Es Salaam in Tanzania. Many things have happened. I’ve been wanting to write this dispatch for a long time, but other things always seemed to get in the way.
In Uganda I was persuaded to shoot down some huge rapids of the Nile river in a rubber boat instead of writing a dispatch. In Kenya I spent all my time underneath my Land Rover repairing prop shafts, replacing rubber bushes, break pads, engine oil, gear box oil, filters, etc…
In Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital, I was struggling to find a decent internet connection, which I finally found in Khartoum, the capital of Sudan. But there I didn’t have time to write a dispatch either, because I spent my days and nights under my Land Rover once again, changing wheel bearings, engine oil and fixing tires. All this happened on Sudan’s only camp site at 45 Degrees Celsius. That’s 113 Degrees Fahrenheit. How was I supposed to find the energy and concentration to write a dispatch anyway?
In Northern Sudan and Southern Egypt I got sick with a bad cold and fever despite the incredible heat and I barely managed to sit up straight in my driver’s seat.

So here I am, on the shores of the Red Sea with a nearly impossible task ahead of me, namely to cramp almost one third of a journey of a lifetime into one short dispatch.

But first some practical notes:

On Wednesday, August 6, 2008, two days before our wedding, something very German will occur in front of my parent’s house in my home town of Daun in der Eifel. It’s called a “Polterabend” and it involves the destruction of old ugly plates and tea cups as well as the consumption of lots of beer and sausages. Please consider yourself invited, you just have to bring some old china. (yes, that terrible flower patterned one that you never liked anyway.) We wold love to have you there.

Here again a link to Chiho’s blog. She has been working hard on it every other day or so, while making me (!) correct her english spelling each time:
http://web.mac.com/chihochiho/iWeb/Africa/Blog/Blog.html
Here in Japanese:
http://web.mac.com/chihochiho/iWeb/Africa/CF9DBF1E-9DEB-4735-BA07-91818EAD8EBD/025A919E-4072-4144-81D9-A3FDF9419BE3.html

And again a map of our great journey so far:
http://web.mac.com/chihochiho/iWeb/Africa/Map%202.html

Some new pictures and a video you can find here:
http://africablog.christophbangert.com/

No dispatch would be complete without a friendly, but persistent hint towards my Iraq book. (As the ever present Egyptian hasslers always put it: “Just looking, no buying!!!” Right.) Here we go again:
http://www.amazon.com/Iraq-Between-Jon-Lee-Anderson/dp/1576874001/ref=pd_sim_b_title_2
And the German version:
http://www.amazon.de/IRAK-Schweigendes-Land-Christoph-Bangert/dp/3771643694/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1205256569&sr=8-1

I was very lucky to win one of only two honorable mentions at the international festival for young photojournalism called “Lumix” in Hannover, Germany.
You can check out the other winners here:
http://www.fotofestival-hannover.de/index.php?id=54&L=1

And at the Look3 Festival in Charlottesville, Virginia, I was represented with a slideshow this year.
http://www.look3.org/2008/index_08.html

That was the easy part.

I did not even notice it. We were driving extremely slowly, maybe with 20Km/h through a busy market in an Egyptian oasis town called Bawiti. I heard a terrible sound, but did not understand what had happened. Some men in the crowd pointed at the car and shouted. I stopped the car immediately, and to my great horror I watched a man pull a little girl from underneath my car, right next to my window. I don’t have the words to describe how I felt in that moment. It was the worst possible thing to happen, a terrible nightmare that became a cruel reality.

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