AT#640 - Travel to Chad


The bags back on the road. There and read it's go real good pass board. Amateur traveler episode six hundred and forty today. The amateur traveler talks about some lesser known places like did Lee mountains, Fata injury and lesser known events like the Toyota war as we go to the country of Chad. Welcome to the traveler, I'm your host, Chris Christensen. And let's talk about Chad. I'd like to come back to the show Francis. Tap on from wonder, learn dot com, who's come to talk to us about Chad Francis. Welcome back to the show. Thank you so much Chris honored to be back, and we're actually talking from the same state now you are back from Africa after five years. That's right. But his five and a half. If you want to be the original plan was three years as I recall. Exactly, right. It was going to be a three year trip. And then I extended to four after about a month. And then also after about another year, I said, yeah, I'm gonna need five. So that's just the way travel sometimes worked for long distance travel. And I was thinking myself, I should just tell people I'm just for five years. You know, it's a five year journey, but then I think to myself, well, people feel really heroin when they go on for six months of travel, and for me to just say five years and not count that five and a half, six months travels an enormous accomplishment. And so I should just throw. Away, those six months, and you came back from your Africa trip with video for a documentary with the material for a book that you're putting together with at least two strains of malaria and a wife so it was a eventful trip. Absolutely. In fact, I got yeah. Obviously any five year trip is going to be pretty momentous, but going to every single African country all fifty four is going to really add some spice to the journey, and we should say wonder learn is a new podcast, which is new sense. We last talked. We have talked about Cameroon on this trip. And we've also talked about Western Sahara. Yes. And you pitched me Chad. Because this is a big hole in the amateur traveler map of Africa. Why should someone go to Chad? Kinda similar reasons. Why I'm specializing in your so far in your mature traveller in these places that nobody goes to and it's because it's true because. A lot of people are just not interested in going to Nigeria Somalia or Central African Republic or Congo or or even gobble. And so obviously, Chad is for quote, unquote, advance travelers in other words, people who've already done the Liuw, and they want Loubet more than Venice, for example. So they want to step it up a notch and step up the intensity or the interesting nece or the outwardly nece back in the day. When you and I were children, just traveling to another state was a crazy different experience. But nowadays with all the chain stores and chain restaurants and chain everything there's not as much variety, you can go to Japan and also and see some of the same. There might be a Starbucks in Japan for a line. Yeah. Yeah. That's right now, I've been to Japan three times, it just gonna remember if there was a Starbucks, but the ritual reason why a lot of people travelled a hundred years ago fifty years ago was to really get out of their comfort zone and try something wild and different. And nowadays. It's a lot heart. You have to trouble even further or just in weirder. Places, quote, unquote, we places and Chad is one of those places. Excellent. And I wanted to say in case people didn't pick it up already the five and a half year project. He were on you spent at least a month in every country in Africa. And so Francis has some basis for comparison of Chad versus other African countries. So what's kind of tannery do you recommend for chat? Okay. Well, Chad is enormous and a lot of people say that about their countries, but let me just put that into perspective. It's about nine times the size of New York state it a bit bigger than three times the size of California. So at of three Californians and that. It's Chad is a bit bigger than three Californians. So California prides itself would being a big state while Chad is three times. So and you throw in the fact that there's terrible infrastructure, and so there's no five that's causing the entire country. Well, there is an I five but it sand. So your progress is much lower. So it feels even bigger than three times the size of California feels like twenty times size of California. Because of the fact that it might take you two weeks to just cross from one of the country to the other. Now, I'm assuming you got there overland and that we're going to get there probably flying. Correct. So most people are gonna fly into the capital, which is called engine, which is in the bottom of the country. It's not at the very bottom. But anyway, it's kind of like the southern south west corner of the of the country. It's the most populated part of the country is, and that's where most people are gonna fly into you're gonna have to get a visa for hand. It's I think pretty straightforward. For US citizen or European person to to get it. Although it's not fun or easy. But they're probably not going to say, no to you. Chad is a pretty open country as far as for tourism and stuff like that. But they just don't get a whole lot of tour. So you're gonna fly in there. And you're going to want to check out engine to begin with hotels are relatively affordable. And you're you can get something decent for fifty dollars a night. If you want to spend hundred dollars of it fine. You have to be aware that at any moment there can be water cuts or electricity cuts usually fancier hotels are going to have backup generators and their own well supply or backup water storage tanks. So you're not gonna feel it if you're staying at a hotel, that's at least fifty dollars a night of public close to one hundred at least in the capital. The capital is surprisingly clean, and I wouldn't say modern. But if you go to the rest of it's going to feel like, wow, this is where civilization is. This is where everything is happening and definitely. One of the things that set itself apart from the rest of the country because the rest of the country is desert, and that's the only reason you're going to want to go to Chad not the only reason, but the you're going to have to love desert's if you don't like desert's don't gotta chat. Okay. And then from there the Tinari you're going to need. I mean, you could spend as little as one week if but pretty much then you're going to see engine on your maybe go to Lake Chad lake. Chad is relatively close to Jamaica. Which is about maybe a days journey away on the map, it looks like it's right next door. But because again, the infrastructure is pretty poor. It's going to take you at least half a day to get out there, depending on whether you're renting a car or whether you're taking public transportation to get there. And so that's for the the week long tannery. That's it. But I think it's a shame. If you're going to go to chat to spend only a week, it's kind of silly the visas usually good for thirty days, and you should really take advantage and take all thirty days. Chad goes at a slow slow pace. And so you're going to want to. Have plenty of time to not just travel, but then to hang out with people everything goes, very, slowly and chat. And so you're going to want to go definitely definitely to the mountains the Tiba St. mountains, which are near Libya up north that's to me one of the best parts of Chad. And then if you have time, you're gonna wanna see the northeastern part of Chad. And if you really have time, then go check out the southern port tie, which is much more green. So that could give you a thing you can do all that in about a month. Okay. And so if we are doing that let's say we're going to let's start there is that something we can fly to. Yes. Yes. As it's going to be a long drive. Yes. It's going to take you at least a bit less than we to get to a place called Phya. That's F A Y fi is kind of like the biggest town in the northern part of chat. But there are flights that go there because of course, the president's gotta get around the his country and other dignitaries. Leaders. And and of course, business people. They're definitely not gonna take public transportation or any kind of road. But I like taking those words anyway, you can also fly into Zouari, which is near the Nizhny border. Or I think barred I also has an airport. Anyway, the short answer is there are flights that can take you up and definitely fi. As is the place that you you can land into and are the expensive if I'm doing that instead of taking the long slow route well expensive compared to the budget airlines, you're used to in South East, Asian American Europe. And so you you're going to spend a let's say probably three hundred dollars round trip. Okay. If you're going to take an internal flight within chat, San Francisco LA is probably one hundred twenty bucks but that same distance in. Chad is going to cost you three times as much, and let's say we're going here. What are we doing there? Again, you're in a desert, and so what you're gonna wanna do is go with a local four by four and then explore the desert in the St. mountains for. Example, they have some extraordinary mountain ranges. They have the tallest mountain. It's actually a volcano in the entire Sahara. It's about three thousand eight hundred meters. I think are so things like that. It's called AMI Cousy. And it's fun to see it on Google satellite map, as you see me Cousy just massive volcano that just sitting kind of in the northern part of of Chad there. I actually climbed to top of it, and it's fun because when you're at three thousand eight hundred meters, you're going to be incredibly gold, and especially during the night, the time you wanna go, by the way, I should have mentioned this from the beginning you wanna visit Chad during our wintertime, so in the northern hemisphere wintertime, so therefore anywhere between let's say October at the earliest and March at the latest on March, you could probably go all the way till April. Or so you're going to start pushing the temperatures up in April. But around the time the nights are quite cold. They can even get to freezing certainly what you're up at one or two thousand meters of elevations in typist. So you're gonna have to bring. Warm warm clothes, but it's really difficult. If you go any other time of year, it's going to be scorchingly hot, and you're going to be utterly miserable. Okay. Well, and you mentioned Emeco being the tallest. I'm seeing thirty four hundred and forty five meters or eleven thousand three hundred and two feet. I can't picture mountains in the desert as you get up the mountain. Do you leave the desert at does it have any more moisture that traps from storms that are coming by? Or are the just no storms that come by. And that's why this is good. Good question. There are some desert's, for example in southern California. There's it's a pretty much mostly a desert, but as you go into Santa sinto mountains, they start also in the treeline pops out of nowhere, and all these big trees and kind of redwoods, and that kind of stuff and the same thing in New Mexico, you go up into the higher elevations of New Mexico and all sentries start appearing and right Lola vicious. They're not there. So the same phenomenon happens in the Sahara, but much less. So so the vegetation. And can appear a little bit more abundant at the higher elevations. But you're not gonna get these big trees simply because they just still don't get the level of precipitation that you need to have to grow a big tree. I love the desert mountains, just because you have this extreme amount of his ability, for example, I like the Appalachian trail, and they're you're on top of mountain, and you really can't see more than two meters in front of you, you really have no visibility. But when you go to the desert, you have used nonstop all the time and the further up you go even more of us nonstop all the time. And so it becomes a a real pleasure to hike in those mountains. Obviously the big challenges water. You get about as good as you're going to get. I mean as far as backpacking experiences out there. And there's even whatever's thing that surprising when you go into mountains is that there's wildlife you'll see like a buck or antelope that are out there in the middle of like wondering where the hell they get water. But there are little bits of water sources out there, and that's how these desert creature survey. Five are there particular operators that you would recommend are? We just going downtown when we fly in and looking for somebody or did you range this time I had my own car, and I've always been kind of independent traveler yet. But I do have a few phone numbers, and unfortunately, mostly spices. They don't have websites or anything like that. They just have a phone number, and you hope that the phone number still works. It's their mobile number. And by the lingua franca of Chad is French and very very few people, actually, speak English. And that's going to be a challenge for people who don't speak French. But they're extremely friendly people. Most people in the desert are more friendly. I think than almost any other kind of place out there after having traveled all over Africa. And I think it's because in the desert you're in your so vulnerable, and you're just on the brink of death. I mean, you're about roughly a little bit your majority of you as water, and if you don't get water you're gonna die in roughly three days. And so as everybody knows that of course. And so they're going to be a lot more generous, and helpful because everybody feels very fragile and vulnerable in the desert, including the locals, and so there's this kind of goodwill and a willingness to either share their food their water their hospitality. Let you stay under their tent whatever it takes to make sure that on your journey. You're going to be okay. I'll give you one example when I was up in the northern tip of Chad near the Libya border because I was climbing the tallest mountain of Libya, which is right next to the Chad border. And I was going up there you were trying to call. I'm the tallest mountain in every country as I recall, you're right. And so there I was with my wife and her brother, so my brother in law, and my brother-in-law had never been on any mountain his life. And here we are climbing the mountain of the Sahara rejoice who's my wife climbs several mountains, but we were at a point where we were running low on water, and we saw some green vegetation down low so Moustapha who's her brother's name and I decided. We're going to go down and check to see if there's water down where the green vegetation is. And I told my wife just didn't feel like going down and climbing back up, again, we'll meet at this designated point of an hour to ahead. So we went down. There was no water where the was we climb back out. And she's nowhere to be seen. We're walking walking awaiting and walking waiting and the end I went and then Stafa collapsed out of exhaustion. He was just like I can't go anymore. I really exhausted. So I said fine just sit here. And wait I'm going to go to the top of the mountain. See if she somehow up there on the top of the mount on the summit, and then I'll come back down and get you. Meanwhile, the sun is setting and when I come back down the mountain, not only did I not see rejoice on top of the mountain, but also Mustafa has gone as well, I had not listened to me because I g his location. So I knew that I came back right where I left him, and he was gone, and he obviously became impatient. And just decided I'm gonna go can't leave. My sister be out here. The night is falling. I gotta go look for her. I gotta give it one last chance, which of course is the stupidest thing to do because he didn't know how to get to camp. I was the only guy who really had a good sense of because I the most experienced backpacking who knew how to get back to camp. So I went back to camp yelling their name all the way down because the sun was setting. I got down to the camp at night, just as the as I can practically not see anymore, and nobody was there. I was myself. And I waited I put a flashlight outside kind of like a beacon to kind of like somehow saw the light. And they didn't come all night. And since nobody was there. I got the pleasure of having to sleeping bags, and I was shivering with two sleeping back. So you can imagine how cold it was for those two who had to spend the night out in those temperatures with just a jacket and nothing else. And by the way, the last time rejoice had water was two PM. And so she was going to have to go all night and into the next day without any water Mustafa had lesson a leader. When I last saw him. I get up in the morning assists soon as the daybreak. I had a GPS device. I send out a signal saying, you know, hey, I'm in trouble. But of course, the there was no way the military is going to send a cop helicopter out there. Cruzi if you look on us I like dishes in the middle of nowhere. The chat doesn't have the budget to do that. They have no search and rescue. That's going to happen within twenty four hours. So pretty much is down to me to try to find these people. But the problem was this. I didn't have any water either. So to use a lot of expend a lot of energy to go run around the mountains. And this is an enormous mountain. I can't tell you how big is and to just be going up and down valleys and going down ravines and coming up ravines. And yelling out their name and using the precious fluid that you have to yell and scream you don't realize how much fluid you use up when you're kind of exhaling and yelling to do all that under these conditions. Was was very stressful. Of course, here's my wife. My brother-in-law. I'm an position of losing. Both of them miraculously at eight AM or so Mustafa appeared at orgin he came up in. And then he's like, where's my sister? And I'm like, I have no idea. I said Mustafa you look exhausted terrible. So I'm going to take you back to the camp. You're just going to sleep at the camp and just rest and just gather. So because you're no condition to push on. And I'll look for rejoice. And on our way back to the camp. I said wait a second. Let me just yell out. One more time rejoices names yell at her name. And all sudden, boom, I heard a tiny tiny reply because I went up to crest. So that my voice could really carry. And that's when I heard her voice as it. Great. And so then around thank God who was like still early. It was like nine thirty in the morning so before the temperatures became scorchingly hot. And that's when. Really start losing your hydration. So super cold at night very hot during the day, and it's a tough situation, and we still had to walk back about twenty five miles about thirty five forty kilometers or so it's still long way back. But fortunately, I had kind of conserve water gave everybody sips of water. And so we made it back to the place, but that was a near death situation, which is exactly where we're telling people to go to chat. Well, or maybe carefully. What you need to do is go with a guide. I mean, we didn't have a guy. Exactly. And most people are not going to separate like we did. And but it's just a show. How fragile you are when you're going hiking in reser, you're really pushing it I had a similar kind of experience in Asia where where I was alone, and I had run out of water and near the worst e hydrogen state in my entire life. I'm not going to get into that story. But I will tell you. But then when I went up to the Libya mountain there because after EMMY Cousy after this Chad mountain, we were lot more wise, and we were like, okay, we're gonna really load up on water. And we carried a think about thirty five liters of water something seven leaders of water. It's a lot of water. You can how much that is between the three of us. Then we dropped off water on our way on our path that we recover water on our way back so that kind of made it a little bit more manageable. But anyway, this is a long story. We went to tech Crowe. I think it's called tech row or to crow which is in the northern Taddei won't appear on any map. Up. It's a basically a military base. That's run an oasis. And there I got there and the guy he gave me free water free diesel fuel at one point gave me a canister to to carry it. And he was just incredibly generous. And this was a military guy. And usually and put this in context and the other fifty three African countries almost everywhere, I went people would be especially people authority would try to bribe me try to extract the most amount of money from try to bribes from your other. Yes, thank you. This guy on the other hand because we're in the middle. Fragile desert. He was far more generous and not at all doing the typical practices that you find all of African by the way, another side point in Sudan, another desert state again, the Sudanese super generous super open super hospitable. And so I think it's something to do with that desert culture that really makes people different than than other cultures. Excellent. We wanna talk anything else about norther. Chat or shall we? Go back down to Lake Chad. The only thing in northern Chad in its place. I haven't been to but I've heard about it's near Fahda f. So there's fi a Wii, and there's da FA DA. And so there are some petroglyphs that you can find a near Fahd down, these strange rock formations exotic from Asians, and they have some mazing climbs for those Alex Honolulu who is a free climber. That may have been bunch of news in two thousand eighteen with his free solo documentary. He also went to northern Chad. And remember him rock climbing up in there. And so there's probably some YouTube videos, you can see about him climbing up there. But the point is is that it's fascinating when you're in northern part of Chad Indies, you'll find these ancient drawings. These are six thousand seven thousand year old drawings in the caves that indicate that there was all sorts of wildlife there, you see pictures of giraffes pictures, I think elephants, and it was basically like the. Keren getty. And obviously these people didn't go to Teheran getting come back and draw pictures about how their life wasn't as Getty is because the Getty was right there in northern Chad. In other words, it was a very verdant place where you had a rich animal life you had cows. And you see pictures of cows all over the place. And so the whole Sahara was like that about ten thousand years ago, but the the climate changed over the centuries and eventually just the Sahar just expanded became desert. There is pockets up in the northern Chad where you can still see huge huge herds of camels. I can't remember the places where the best places to find them. But they like to go into certain ICES. I'm seeing that exists. We'll Dr K. Yeah. That that that's it. Yes. And so it's really a remarkable place to visit. If just people go onto the moon, and you see the desolation or see the desolation on Mars and people want to run off to Mars well. Chad is like Mars, it's just a little bit cheaper to go and it has oxygen. You can enjoy the oxygen water. But the. Right. Earth's gravity is they're excellent to next. Yeah. Late. Chad is a fascinating place because ever since they've been taking satellite imagery of it in nineteen sixty and look at it. Now, the Lake Chad has been slowly, but surely disappearing obviously most people attributed to the growing population, the deforestation also other climate change issues. So both the locals and the globe are working hard to basically make Lake Chad disappear, and it's not their intention, obviously. But that's the end result. So it's one of these things that you probably want to check it out before disappears. There's a good chance that it will become just a puddle by twenty fifty. And so it's something that is remarkable not a very deep lake, and it's has vibrant fishing community out there. The only problem with Lake Chad at the moment in two thousand eighteen two thousand nineteen is that still book. Rom is goofing around a little bit in that area. It's not a hundred percent super super duper safe. However, I don't want to saturate the level of danger a lot of people tend to do that you just need to take prudent measures staying hotel, that's secure don't hang around too long. There. Don't spend a month in Lake Chad. And then you'll be able to see a very different side of the country by sparring the fishing villages. The ecosystem that exists out. There is quite fascinating and the interchange between Julia and Asia where it all they all come together in this and also came around. So there's four countries that pretty much share Lake Chad. And as a result. It's a great melting pot. The only downside of courses again. It's a trafficking zone for all sorts of things because it's so easy, and there's so little control and most people don't have trinity and saw that can have these big searchlights if you wanna smuggle something in. You can go at night there's very little. Stuff. However, I will say that there is some level secured. I'll tell you my deportation story. Do you want? So basically, I was in Nizhny air, which is into west side. And I was driving across all of Nizhny. So from engine all the way across new year, the southern part of the year to go into chat because I was trying to get my way to Cameron, and I got a visa finally for Chad. When I was in neom e the capital of new year from the embassy took me a long time to get it. But I finally got it. But then my car was having tremendous amount of problems and it had so much promise by the time. I was able to go with my car the visa had sorry. My passport had expired a had gotten stamped on a French passport. And my passport itself had expired the visa had not I think it had not maybe it had. I can't remember. Anyway, the point is is that I decided to do something I done and don't tell anybody, please Chris. But the my passport, you know, the words I decided to. Change the validity date of the visa because they always do it in a pen, they write things down. So if you change like six into an eight or whatever you can extend your visa that way. You know, people do listen to this show. But anyway, so so I changed the dates in order to extend my visa to go inside. And I got in. And they just let me in somehow thought they were gonna look at my French passport and see that I had expired. Nobody did not show to nother person after that. And they also let me so I thought okay, great. I'm in the country. I was in bowl. So it's b o l if you look at on the map, it's pretty deep inside of Chad. If it's on lake tied itself, and by then I had gone through 'immigration all this stuff. So I was just kind of walking around the town waiting because I was hitchhiking in on a big truck, and he had to like, refuel, or do whatever you have to do. So I was just walking around the town and exploring bull, and then all some this guy came up. Here's a close. Didn't know he was an immigration official, but he wasn't immigration official sitting there and bull in the middle of the country. So to put that in perspective, it's like going into Denver and all sudden an immigration official like. Border patrol says, hey, what are you doing here by or whatever Utah Lee salt, like show me your passport stuff? Like what I went through migration long time ago. You guys asked me this. So I was like, okay. I just showed it to him. And he's just like, you know, but your passport's expired. I was like, oh, okay. And then he'd like put a microscope and looked with a look carefully and says, and you've changed the date on your visa and stuff like that. So you're under arrest. Go great. And so I said, I can we resolve this any other way because I was spending. I just bribe him and he lets me go MRs, you know, if you just had a valid passport you'd be fine because your Visa's valid because he I kind of convinced him that visa was legit. And I said really, that's all I need. I just need a valid passport. And you'll let me continue onto Gina and says, yes, but unfortunately, you're French passports expired, I said, okay, wait a second. Here's my Chilean password password from Chile which expires in two years validity left in it. And the same thing with my. United States passport which is also expiring in two years. So I said, I Vala there's two valid passports showing you that. I am who I say, I am it's the same guy who's in the French passport. And now you've got to valid passports. You ask me just show me, a valid passport. Now. Let you go. And there it is an this is. Oh, yeah. But this is not but you're visas on the French coast, but it I'm the same person. You know, you wanted valid passport. There's your valid passport as well. I'm confiscating these other two passports, you just gave me and you're still under arrest, and we're still going to deport you. And so I was thinking because I've been threatened so many times and kind of held up and all sorts of stuff some policemen. Have grabbed my cellphone and confiscated it. They're all sorts of things that these happen in Africa when you're traveling all fifty four African countries where you're gonna run into the stuff and ninety nine percent of the time. You can always get out by just bribing people, and they'll eventually just relent or you just beg where you feel make themselves feel sorry for you. They'll give up eventually, I so I was just sure. That this was going to be another one of those times. And so I said, okay. Hey, can we work it out and work out? And then they put me on the vehicle, and I was getting to us. Okay. I'll just bribe somebody on my way out or anything nowhere. Chris able to buy my way I tried and tried and tried and tried all the way, and I was in Nizhny, and they finally give me the boot Nizhny they're gonna take me all the way to the capital, and I stupidly got out of the car. I should've just sticked with it. Because in the end that was a waste of time. Because anyway, that's a whole nother story. But yes, Chad was the only African country to deport me. But the happy ending is that I showed a different passport when I replied when I was in Cameroon to reapply to the Chad embassy, and they didn't know the head deportation record. That's the thing about Africa's because they're not computerized most places. There's no way for them to pull up your record instantaneously. And so you can still be a criminal like me and reapply Nelson. They'll look at you with a fresh face. It's nice. I'm not sure that any of this. Recommend the traveler. Are we going to recommend for them? Where are they going after late Chad, you might want to go from Fatah? You can go all the way down to obey. She wishes a town. That's the biggest town in the east side of of the country. That was the town that I departed there. I went to the east I went into Sudan, which on the other side of that is Dr four so it's if you wanna go to Darfur another hot tourist spot you wanna go through Vichy. And the border is open there. Now, it is. And so that's what I did it. It's again for the adventuresome traveler, that's where you wanna go. Well, it was positive for second. You say the border is open, and you mentioned are for and Boko haram. So let's talk about safety and Chad specifically as a country, I know that they have had issues in the past way back in the eighties the Toyota war, which I'm going to bet that since I hadn't heard of it. Most Americans of never heard of with Libya in the north there. What are things like right now in Chad? If we are careful over by Lake Chad. Yeah. Two thousand eighteen two thousand nineteen things are extremely calm. Okay. The only places that are bit tiny bit sketchy is near Lake Chad. And the only other place were you might have a tiny bit of caution is along the border the kind of the southern border there with Central African Republic. Maybe there's a. I don't think it's a big deal. The Cameroon border is totally fine and the Sudan Darfur border is largely fine as well. So look anything can happen. There's no guarantees in life. We've already said this is not travel wanna one. Exactly, right. This is the advanced traveller where you're going to go to the Club Med is that right? But they're plenty of Sandon son, just like a Club Med. There's. The only other place, I visited tiny place called Fianna. That's F I A N G A is right on the other side of the Cameroon border. And that's because my wife's grandmother lives there. So my wife comes from the northern part of Cameroon. And when you grow up from the northern part of Cameroon her mother lived in Chad, she lived in Nigeria. She lived in Cameroon. So there it's it's all kind of blending the borders are kind of porous and just to give you I went to Yanga hung out there and could've gone back to Cameroon. There was really no border. Check the border tech was only as you're leaving Fianna to go deeper into Chad. So it just shows you the it's kind of like, I don't know. So if you're in Juarez, and you wanna go to El Paso, it's kind of like, they don't check your passport. But then once you're leaving wires to go deeper into Mexico than all sudden, they check your passport. It's one of those situations. Okay. It's a little bit more vegetation down the southern Chad. So I can't really recommend too much there simply because I haven't spent much time there again, this is for the independent traveler what I would recommend is if you could rent a car that would be useful unless you want to have the fun experience. Like, if you're a solo traveler, I would go and just take the buses and the public transportation because rental cars extremely expensive because you're going to need a four by four and even more importantly going to need to know how to get yourself out of the sand because you sure, yeah. Can get yourself stuck in the sand. And if you're all by yourself, and you have no skills. Believe me it happened to me myself. So I know what I'm talking about. Then you can really be screwed. So I think it's better you could just take a bus ride. It's going to be slightly slower actually will be slower. But at least you're not going to have to do the digging when your car gets stuck. Okay. Anything else we want to cover before we start to get some of our wrap up questions. The key thing. I wanted to size is just the fact that you're talking about a country again, three sides, California population of only twelve million. So they're also mostly Muslim there are pockets of. I think about a quarter of the population is Protestant. Or forty percent is what half. Yeah. But I feel the influence. I don't know where those Christians are hiding because everywhere I seem to have gone, I guess, they must be in the southern region of Chad. That's where they must be because everywhere else, I went to a very Muslim country. So if you're woman, you're going to want to bring a head scarf and always cover yourself up, and if you're a man never wear shorts. So these are just simple protocols that you want to abide by it is a poor country, but very hospitable country, and you're not going to have to fear for your life. I think you're gonna get a very very different experience than those who are going to. Let's say Tanzania and safaris and all the other stuff you're gonna get a I don't like calling it offensive. Travel experience because I think there's a therapy in the Grand Canyon. But I still think that you should sometimes get out of your comfort zone and go someplace that is wildly different. Even if it won't be always enjoyed enjoyable and perfectly run tour. You're standing in the prettiest spot that you saw Chad. Where you standing what are you looking at? That's an easy one Makusi tallest mountain of Chad. It's a remarkable area. And you probably even that would have to be calling. Exactly. And sitting there all shivering where we went. And I could give you the GPS coordinates. There is a hot spring that is there and because it's right next to Cousy. Yeah. Right. I it's it's kind of sad in some ways. It's kind of like you get all excited because there's natural hot spring out there. But unfortunately, the Chadians the locals there have really kind of I think they could have made it a wonderful touristic destination. But they're just not being good stewards in my opinion to be blunt about it. There's a lot of trash they pick a certain area to do their laundry. It's just not well maintained, and it's kind of sad and disappointing that they're not doing it. Also, by the way, it's not a co Ed kind of jump in the women have their certain hours, they go, and they have to go fully clothed into the hot springs, and the men have their certain hours where they can go and they just have to wear. On something to cover their bottoms. Okay. One thing that makes you laugh and say only in he's only in Chad only in China will I'm going to get deported. It's probably not the only place I'm going to get to it. But it was really the only place, I got bored. It and only in chatter did that happen in all of Africa. And I broke so many laws all over Africa and had so many one of all communities to be deported, and rightfully so. But it was only in Chad where actually happened. I feel like this might be the point where I tell you that we've had three point five million downloads metro this year. This year, and that may have been a bad bad thing to talk about if you had to summarize chatty and just through he words, what three words would you? Use desert would certainly be one of them empty would be another. And it's probably an overused one, but friendly is is it comes to mind as well. They are quite friendly people. The only thing to sometimes be careful of is that sometimes they're going to say, okay, you're the foreigner. They're nice to you. And then all Sunday say, hey, so can you help out my family give me money that kind of stuff? Sure, it's something that happens all over Africa. But in general, people are genuinely hospitable and friendly, and that is something that is remarkable. And should be treasured. Excellent. Our guest again has been Francis tap on of Francis tells a little more about the upcoming book and commentary. Okay. Well, basically, the book is gonna come out on Africa day, which is may twenty. Fifth and it's going to come on twenty twenty which will be the sixtieth anniversary, and it should be fifty four chapters so one chapter per country, it's called the unseen Africa. And it should be a big fat book like my previous book that in Europe. And it's going to not be a travel guidebook like a lonely planet, rather it's going to be a travel log, and it's going to help people distinguish between. Okay. What's the difference between Chad and easier in Nigeria and Cameroon and Central African Republic. These all countries that are bordering, the Sahara or in this era, and how can we distinguish between the two and to help people through that. And for the documentary, and I'm going to be doing it's again kind of the same idea. I just think that we have a limited perspective of Africa. And I want to kind of enrich that at the same time. I think we have a very politically correct notion of Africa. Sometimes we were frayed of criticizing it because people will call us race. This and all that other kind of stuff. So they'll be times in the book. And in my documentary, will I will not shy away from saying things that might be viewed as politically incorrect pointing the finger at Africans for some of their own problems. But I think it's necessary to kind of make people understand that not everything that's bad in Africa is the fault of the foreigners. Yes. Some of it is, but some of it is indigenous in its own creation of the Africans themselves. So I kind of just took me five years to figure that out, and I think it's a valuable lesson, and I would like to share and show some of the evidence of y believe that is true. Excellent. And if you want to hear you before the book comes out, you've also got a podcast now, which is yes. And it features this guy named Chris. So you claim that episode hasn't come out yet. I believe but yes. So yeah. Wonder learn dot com. So to wander and learn that's what somebody should subscribe to the show. People have some extra time in the day. You can listen to me when Chris is talking to your I can say a few words of travel advice Francis. Thank you for coming back on a with your love for Africa and your love for Chad. Thank you so much Chris. I got some good feedback on the episode from last week on butts. Wanna Diane said, I really enjoyed that podcast. I felt like I was there with the sounds of the animals and the excitement when the lion sauntered by the camp. I'm glad to hear that. I was certainly my intention. And of course, if you do want to be there, then join me in Africa in may of two thousand nineteen on safari to South Africa, but swan and Victoria, Falls and more information about that at amateur traveler dot com slash Africa, two thousand nineteen at a couple reviews on amateur traveler here in December one was from Matteo James who said Chris two Xs and os OG original gangster for those of you who don't have cool friends. Like, I have I have the opportunity to chat with Chris. And he is the real deal in the travel world. Not only is he will traveled, but he's authentic and careful about sustainability. He truly is one of the veterans in the industry has. Save the way for others. Great work, Chris keep it up. Thank so much. And then I did get another view from a Woodland's soul. It said this is a great episode. I look forward to exploring this area during a USO trip in the upcoming spring a quick correction. The name of the Serbian artists mentioned is not Maria Abramovich, but marina Abramovich two different names. I am from the area and the differences more than just a letter just throwing that out there. Thanks, and I should come at that. If you're doing a come of the episode, that's better to send that to me in Email because the people who read these won't have any idea which episode this person is talking about I happen to know. It's the Hudson valley episode, but that's just not the best way to leave a comment on an episode. There's really no way in apple podcast to do that. Or put a comment on the episode coming on the episodes, even better because then people who read the episode will get that. Even if I don't get around to correcting it in the show notes with that we're going. To end this episode of amateur traveller, if you have any questions sent an Email to hosted amateur traveler dot com or better yet. Leave a comment on this episode at amateur traveler dot com, and thanks so much for listening. See? Camp. Building.

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