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Memories of the trip so far: Week 2

Arrival in Tunis was the perfect intro' to North Africa: Confused, bureaucratic and slow. They had a job deciding if I was a vehicle or foot passenger. Eventually the officials asked questions and understood, and then wanted to know all about the trip - cue more time wasting.

It was a warm dampish day which would fit into April at home when I got cycling. After a bit of getting lost, I got on the road where Ill spend the next 2000 miles. Shockingly, I was hit by a passing car's wing mirror straight away - they don't give you much room here! After 100 miles with no food as I had no Tunisian money I found a basic hotel and a cash machine.

Vin races across Tunisia

A couple of days later, as I tracked south past the bay of Sfax, the hot desert wind blew in and rose to be a full-on sandstorm. Tunisia's 400 miles was varied in every way and took 75 hours; then I reached Libya.

In Libya, road signs and menus were gibberish to me as they were Arabic only. But I had a guide to translate for me. Having a guide was a condition of the visa, not my choice, but at least he could be handy. On the first night in Libya he found the Youth Hostel. At about 2 pound 50p per night, Id say I got what I paid for.

Next day I started with a wander around the Roman ruins of Sabintha - magical in the dawn light. Then I headed through Tripoli where all the glass on the roads gave me a puncture. We stayed with a friend of my guide that night and it turned out to be very much part of the travel experience I was after, quite a party - but it did keep me from eating and sleeping as my main off-bike occupations.

I'd had some stomach cramps during the previous day, but next morning I was properly ill. Hot and cold sweats, headache and weakness - I made a slow and late start, rode 30 miles, checked into a hotel and haven't moved since. Diarrhoea quickly became extreme, and I'm in no condition to push on. I just keep drinking water and taking medicine while time ticks away. I hope 'travellers tummy' is just a bad part of the big adventure of circumnavigating the globe - many people think Ferdinand Magellan was first to circumnavigate to globe, his ship did, but he and many crew died of disease, dehydration, and starvation on the voyage... I'll think myself lucky with a few days off ill compared to that.