From Juba to Bor: Update #9

Published May 31, 2011

For those playing along at home, Bor is 128 miles from Juba. It took a little over 4 hours to get here in our trusty Landcruiser. We averaged about 30 mph on the mostly improved gravel road. There is surprisingly little in the way of villages between Juba and Bor. An outpost here and there, we may have passed 10 or so small villages. Who knows what is beyond the sides of the road, but Juba comes to an abrupt stop and you’re pretty much in the bush until you arrive in Bor. In Bor, you’re greeted by the world’s shortest road improvement, probably less than 200 meters of paved median divider and a 4 lane road. Them back to dirt.

I’m not sure how much fuel we used (tank is still almost full) but we’ll need all the fuel economy we can get. Diesel is $6.75 USD per gallong. For you international metric nerds, that’s 5 Sudanese Pounds per Liter. See that? I did math! Anyway, it cost $124.00 USD to fill up the tank, roughly 18 gallons. And folks back home are complaining? Supposedly, there is a refinery being planned and/or built which should help.

Bor has changed quite a bit from our visit 2 years ago. The first thing I noticed was that instead of empty power poles, there is now a network of overhead wires snaking through town. (For those that know me well, of course that’s the first thing I’d notice!) Each power pole it seems sports a street lamp blazing bright in the noon day sun. Not too sure why other than to advertise the power company!

Many more people walking around town, many more nice hotels along the river (The South Sudan Hotel has a branch here as well – we won’t be staying there….)The Freedom Hotel is instantly recognizable from my last visit, I even remembered how to get here. It’s in much more finished form, however. The half-finished bar/restaurant is now fully complete with Wi-Fi and nice tables and chairs. And VERY busy. Lots of people sitting around on their laptops. Two years ago our team pretty much had the run of the place. James and I will be staying at another “local” hotel. Clean, very simple, and cheap. I’m afraid unlike the last trip, we can’t get the half-finished rate at Freedom Hotel. Which now, by the way, features in-room AC and full bath. Zoe, it’s come a long, long way from army tents! Actually, I think the army tents are still out back.

Tomorrow we’ll drive to Jalle. About time….

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