Iron Butts Pursuit – 2 March 2010, a Customary welcome to Tunisia

DJJ and GH with Transalp 
By Danny John-Jules
and Graham Hoskins

Tuesday morning found us eating breakfast with new Tunisian best pal Rashed and exchanging pleasantries with our waiter, Jalel, who thought he looked like Bruce Willis. Jalel thought Danny was a dead ringer for Will Smith and Graham his was worst nightmare as he was the only one who declared himself atheist – Jalel couldn’t understand why someone would have no religion. What a character – he’d have made a great stand up from the word go when he asked us why we were eating with the poor people in the ‘buffet’ section.

We were expecting an easy path through customs as Tunisia is meant to be the most European of the all the North African countries. We should be so lucky! As we rolled to a standstill at the customs point, there were obviously several different levels of official. The least official and most shifty looking was very helpful with getting our paperwork in order – then he asked for a bung. We refused and maybe that’s were the problems started? The next and far more official looking guy walked over and asked in very good English for any ‘radio walky talky’ and GPS. Being a polite Englishman, I obliged and they were all carted off along with our passports. Ten minutes later he was back with a shorter, fatter version of himself in tow who seemed to be a higher level and declared that the radios were ‘interdit’ and must be taken and left at another building. A two-hour sweat-filled circus of walking to and from the ‘other building’ ensued with me having to beg in very poor French to be allowed to keep the radios and GPS. I had to settle to keep the GPS and leave the radios from our intercoms there. I was given a very official receipt so the I could collect them on our way back – even when I explained that we were not coming back the helpful official just said ‘not my problem’.

Finally we were through customs and on our way to Rached’s island, 450km away. It should have been a 4-5 hour journey. Leaving as we did at about 6pm, we should have been there about 11. Try 4am – bad traffic, worse roads, food stop at an authentic roadside shack and an island ferry meant we got to Rashed’s dad’s house just before the birds started singing.  In fact, we did hear cockerels crowing as we were unloading the bikes. Only one bed was available which Danny took as the senior member of the duo. Graham’s bed was a row of settee cushions two foot wide. They were luxury.


Garmin is supporting Red Dwarf star Danny John-Jules and team mate Graham Hoskins in their quest to ride nearly 7000 miles by motorbike for Sport Relief. Their ‘Iron Butts’ Challenge will see them circumnavigate the Mediterranean Sea, covering three continents and 14 countries in 15 days guided by a Garmin zumo 660 sat nav.