Sunday, 1 February 2009
Sudan (سودان ), Khartoum
After a week absence from modern technology we are now in Khartoum. During the last week we have traveled through the north of Sudan and got an idea how big this country is. Most fascinating is that life just exists along the Nile. From ancient cultures to modern civilization. The northern part of Sudan is still very simple. The infrastructure (roads, communication, water..) is still very basic. Nowadays there are a lot of projects going on in cooperation with the Chinese government. Sudan sells oil to China and gets in reward credit and infrastructure projects. The good thing is that the roads get paved to the north. We had already a 12 hour ride on a dust road through the dessert. The bus broke down, nearly got stuck in the sand and overloaded with goods.
Accommodation in Sudan is also very basic. Simple beds and common sanitary but that is OK for us. Just in Khartoum prices are ridiculous high. But we don't want to complain because the people here are so friendly and nice. Everyone seems to be happy that we visit Sudan and many are trying to talk with us. Unfortunately not all speak English but we also lack in Arabic.
In Karima, a little village at Jebel Bakal, an ancient culture site with pyramids, we have met a group of students on an excursion. They have been so lovely and invited us for coffee and we took a lot of pictures with them. In this group was also Hassam, a journalist from Khartoum. He took very good care of us and helped us to find a hotel. We had to ask in over 10 different places because all where full. There is a fair going on and all "cheap" places have been sold out. Hassam also invited us to his newspaper and at the opening ceremony of the fair. Politicians, local artists and a firework - all in a colorful mix with the audience.
Yesterday we managed to get our visas for the next country: Ethiopia. We will leave Khartoum tomorrow and take the bus to the border. Of course we have to switch buses, don't know the time table and probably get lost in transit again. Public transport runs here on best effort basis. A time table doesn't mean anything and its always helpful to add a few extra hours to a journey because of interruptions like: praying, eating, fixing the bus, praying again and finally finding yourself alone without connections at the terminal stop.
Edith and Walter are doing well. Especially Edith is now used to travel life and takes also some discomfort with a smile. Walter has also everything under control and I haven't been arrested yet. That's a good basis for our next round trip in Ethiopia.