Like I said before, it’s like a machine. I have not had such a sustained assault on my sleepiness since the New Grand Tour (see my website) and it leaves me in awe of those who do this day in, day out. I normally need seven or eight hours to function in Britain, but here in 40º or more heat (and with a hot breeze blowing) we are expected to run from 7am until at least 8pm.
The security gear up, the cars run and we’re off.
But Mao is a celebrity here. He is the voice the North has wanted, but he’s also a politician who seems to have the best interests of the nation at heart. People see the advance car (Air Force One, as it’s known) and prepare blockades. I ride in the security car, so we stop for all of these blockades and Mao usually stops and emerges, either by door or sunroof, to give a quick pep-talk.
The lengths people go to is amazing, sweeping the road and laying down blankets.
The daily journey is a long string of stop-start trips. I’m lucky to be following the campaign in the north, because here the people remember and know him.
I’m forever conscious of the students who I was talking to eight short days ago, and at this point I would recommend knowing manual settings on a dSLR, because the shifts in light are far too unpredictable for any auto setting. Speeches take place in the shade, but movement is in the sun. Auto will not do that. Fix in your mind settings (and latitude) for both.
Sometimes the campaign takes a wrong turn
And you end up at one of Amin’s former palaces, in this case Lotuturu. Stunning views but few votes.
And then the day rounds off. Sometimes it’s a daylight rally.
And sometimes it’s at night.
In which case you’d better hope the headlights are pointing in the right direction.