. . . AROUND THE WORLD 2001/02
Africa 1999
Around-the-World 2001/02

The Team

Jeff Willner
1. Start: Recipe for Adventure
2. Zimbabwe: Hyperinflation
3. Namibia: Southern Circuit
4. South Africa: Circuit 2
5. Zambia/Malawi: Sketches
7. Kenya: Bandit Country
8. Ethiopia: Diary
9. Ethiopia: Border Run
10. Sudan: Across the Sahara
11. Egypt: Cape to Cairo
12. Jordan/Syria: Sept. 11th
13. Turkey: Hospitality
14. Bulgaria/Romania/ Hungary
15. Slovakia/Austria/Poland
16. The Baltics & Russia
17. Scandinavia
18. Western Europe
19. Brazil: Clearning Customs
20. Argentina: Revolution
21. Argentina: To Ushuaia
22. Patagonia Disaster
23. Buenos Aires Beautiful
24. Uruguay: Beaches
25. Chile: Expedition Life
26. Bolivia: Atacama
27. Peru: Transit
28. Galapagos: Gorgeous
29. Ecuador: Jungle Run
30. Knifepoint
31. Dubai: Lay over
32. Singapore/Malaysia
33. Thailand: Hospitality
34. Cambodia: Ankor Wat
35. Vietnam: Hanoi & Halong
36. Laos: Back to Basics
37. China: Beijing Tour
38. China: Shanxi
39. China: Western Province
40. China: Tibet
41: Nepal: Mountains
42. India: Driving Struggle
43. Pakistan: Dodging War
44. Iran: Overcharging
45. End: One Last Laugh

Sally DeFina
1. Cape Town: Robben Island
2. Zanzibar: Mike & I
3. Kenya: African Driving School
4. Sudan: Mud Crossing
5. Patagonia: Goodbye Max
6. Malaysia: Mike Update
7. Thailand: Ko Phangan
8. Cambodia: Phnom Penh
9. Vietnam: By Train
10. Laos: Vang Vieng
11. China: Meet Mr. Chen

Jody Finver
1. Start: Surreal Solipse
2. Great Zimbabwe
3. Brokedown in Kenyan Desert
4. Egypt: So Should I Hyphenate
5. Poland: Home is Where the Truck Is

Gulin Akoz
1. Start: Bits and Pieces
2. Zambia: Diaries
3. Egypt: Africa Memories
4. Turkey: For Your Information
5. The Team and The Bean
6. Somebody Else's Child
7. On My Own
8. Long Lost Memories of Childhood
9. The Tree and the Boy
10. Jealous
11. The Aftermath


Panamerican 2003
Various Trips
Planning an Expedition


Kensington Tours can help you plan your own expedition anywhere in the world.




#4 - So Should I Hyphenate?
Jody Finver - 2 September 2001

(Luxor, EGYPT) - "I would rather swim from Ethiopia to Egypt than go through the Sudan, Jeff." Those were my words to him before embarking on this trip. I had no intentions of traveling through the country. I had even told my parents I wouldn't. But the group had talked me into going saying that I would be safe traveling in an international group. See, I am the lone American passport and in my eyes, I thought the Sudan was just another Libya -- a country teeming with hostile, anti-American propaganda, terrorists, and sand. I had visions of being kidnapped and sold into slavery in the south. But I must say, the concept of going to a country deemed 'dangerous and unsafe' by my embassy made it too tempting. So while part of me wanted to get rejected and fly to Cairo, a larger part of me was anxiously awaiting the harrowing drive and hoping to see this so called danger zone.

My preconceived notions were totally unfounded and I am convinced that the American Embassy gets its information from Bazooka rappers cause the Sudan was the safest, nicest, friendliest country I have ever been to in my life. It was daunting to encounter so many genuinely friendly and hospitable people. Perhaps it is the New Yorker in me that makes me think everyone is out for something., but the people of Sudan.. or the Sudan… however you call it.. it's part of their culture to help people. Funny, but that never gets relayed by Peter Jennings or the American Embassy.

As an American I would happily promote tourism to Sudan. Go.You'll have a wonderful time -- provided you bring plenty of money and rehydration salts. Damn hot there. And as a woman, just be prepared and laugh it off like Sally and I did.

" I am strongly desiring to kiss you."
"Please? "
"I have a boyfriend."
"For me?"
"But -"
"One kiss."
"But - please -"

At this point, I couldn't bear to overhear this ping-pong conversation from the hall and I walked into the room where Sally and one of our hosts sat. It was our last night in Khartoum and the boys were going for broke. While swimming, one asked if he could be my boyfriend. I laughed it off and relayed the story to Sally having no idea what was in store for her later that night. Sally was money in Sudan. Blonde, blue eyed, full-figured, you couldn't blame the guy for trying. You could however blame his friend, who less than an hour after his friend was shut down, crawled into her bed and tried to spoon her. On the rooftop, with Jeff, Gulin, his friend and myself all attempting to sleep. Sure he was 26-year old bucket of repressed hormones and she the blonde temptress, but ewwwwwwwww, it was revolting. Sally to her credit kept her calm. She ousted the guy and moved her bed smack dab next to mine where I sat awake and on guard for most of the night. When morning came, I told Jeff what happened. He responded, " Gooooood times." We left silently as the boys pretended to be asleep, embarrassed at their mis-judgement of this particular western women.

Gulin had been safe through the Sudan. She used her middle name, Zeynep, a nice Islamic name. She was their sister. Their cousin. As for me? Outside of the simple request to be my boyfriend, I was left alone. But I was told by several Sudanese women as well as the men that I needed to eat more. I was too skinny by Sudanese standards. I suppose being sick in Wadi Halfa with food poisoning/stomach bug/ heat? didn't rack me up any points. Fine with me.

As we were leaving Sudan the men had warned us about Egyptian men. They were not extolling words of praise. They said one of us should be married to Jeff for safety. Sally told them that Jeff and I were getting married. In actuality, we got married in Khartoum. Well, not exactly so calm down Mom. It worked out like this: In many Muslim countries, men and women can't share hotel rooms unless they are married. Sometimes they even ask to see marriage certificates. (I remember that from my last visit to Egypt.) I have been wearing my mom's wedding band all the while traveling and since I am not wearing Sally's St. Christopher medallion that says 'Love, from Mike' around my neck, and since I don't have the name Zeynep and can't recite words from the Koran, I was picked. Romantic, huh? He wears a ring that Sally bought for herself and we downloaded a marriage certificate from British Columbia superimposing our names on it. December 31, 1998. Looks legit.

I was dreading coming back to Egypt. When I was here a few years back, I had some pretty terrible experiences.. I mean it was bad. No, exaggeration to it. Egyptian men are forward. Aggressive. They grope… and they don't let go. On the cargo boat heading here, the engine dude was pestering me (in a crew of Sudanese, he was the lone Egyptian, no surprise). Sally said Jeff needed to put in a good show and so my husband appeared, sat by my side for an hour and voila… the asking me to massage him later or something to that affect stopped. So all in all, I guess being married puts me at ease. (Even if my husband snores louder than the call to worship.)

By the way, Jeff and I are registered at Land Rover. We still need shock absorbers, though cash would be graciously accepted as well.


Copyright January 1999-2011
All rights reserved - Jeff Willner
Contact: jeffwillner@yahoo.com