“Blimey, no! Surely not. Jeez! Yes, I’ve crapped myself.” We were camped for the night on farmland about 300 kilometers south of Khartoum, Sudan. We’d ridden there from the U.K. on our scooter and sidecar, and we’d had the most incredible time coming through the desert. It’s a great place to ride because the people are so friendly, and you can camp anywhere. Tonight, a farmer said we could use his land. It was a perfect location, empty and about a mile from the main road. After dark, there was no one around and all we could hear was the sound of singing in the distance. The only other entertainment was the crackling campfire and the billions of stars above. Oh, and the fact that I’d crapped my pants in the middle of the bloody Sudanese desert….
I told Reece, but what deserved a full-blown laugh merely got a snicker. He was also a mess. We’d both come down with a horrific case of food poisoning. The next eight hours were spent going in and out of the tent, digging holes around that poor farmer’s land. It was disgusting.
We woke up feeling completely rundown but decided to get on the road as soon as possible, and began packing. I was outside the tent when Reece crawled out. As he stood up, I saw a shadow flash of something running up his leg. At first I thought it was probably nothing but had to make certain.
“Reece, stay very, very still. There’s a scorpion on the back of your knee.”
“Oh my god! Get it off, get it off, get it off!” Reece pleaded.
I grabbed the nearest stick and flicked it off. Reece was saved.
Later, when we got on the web, we Googled “indigenous scorpions” for the area. The first that popped up on the list was called the “Death Stalker,” unmistakably the one that had been on Reece. True to its name, the Death Stalker was known for killing the young, elderly and weak. Fresh offthe back of food poisoning and 300 kilometers from the nearest hospital, Reece would have been dust—a close shave.
We’d been on the road for less than three months and, having never ridden a motorbike before planning the trip, were pleased we had more or less made it through the Sahara, our first big challenge. Apart from an odd puncture and a failed bearing, everything had gone swimmingly well, and we were just one more wild camp away from making it to Gondar, Ethiopia.
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