The heat that melted the Jerseyman
Trip Start Apr 09, 2008
138Trip End Aug 30, 2008
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
Where I stayed
We woke up to a hot sun beating down inside the tent. We have all four windows open but it still feels like sleeping in a hot oven. Still, there was a nice breeze this morning which we were all thankful for.
Our fridge stopped working last night; it seems the battery has been totally drained, only after one day! We have two batteries and every time we stop for the night, I switch it to one so not to drain both of them and to eliminate the risk of not being able to start Foxy the next morning. But it is just so hot here the fridge is working overtime. We quickly finished the milk and pineapple chunks for breakfast. The yogurt had to go.
Wanting to do a bit of washing before we set off into the desert in a few days, I inquired where we could get our laundry done
The oldest of the bunch, the one who was probably in charge, made me empty my yellow bucket and plastic bags of clothes. I had to carefully take each one out and lay them on the dirt ground as he counted. He picked everything up from the ground, dropping a few pairs of underwear, scooped them back up and marched to the tap. I tried to imagine this man, dressed in a wide, ankle-length white gown (the common Sudanese outfit for men called a Jalabiya), with strands of greying hair, hunched over his plastic basin scrubbing my underwear and socks. For a traditional and conservative country like Islamic Sudan, this concept was just too funny.
He told me, (well the Manager translated for me), that for the 31 pieces of clothing (socks count as 2 items), he will charge me 8 Sudanese Pounds ($4 US) and to come back at 4pm to pick them up. Not bad at all. I said a hearty "Shokran" (thank you) and walked back to the others.
On my way, I passed a group of men sharing a meal of beans, cheese, tomato, onion and flat bread
They pulled up a white plastic chair and insisted I sit down. I was shoved some bread and told to "Eat Eat! You MUST eat!" A couple of them had decent English so we were able to get the basics across, like where I was from ("Oh do you know Jackie Chan from Hong Kong?"), what I was doing here ("We hope you enjoy our country"), and how hot it was today ("This time of year is the hottest in Sudan, why you travelling now?" Hmph, good question.)
For the rest of the morning while I caught up on a bit of blog writing under the shade of the trees, Matt worked on Foxy, changing her front wheel bearings in the intense heat. I have to say I have the much more enjoyable and cool job.
We are entertaining the idea of splurging on an air-conditionned hotel room tonight. My only concern is that if we do, I'll only want to sleep in air-con rooms for the rest of the trip, so long as it's hot.
This afternoon, I went down to the junction again hoping to get online at the internet café. Since yesterday's blackout, the entire Sudan Network is down and nobody knows when it'll resume again
It is incredibly interesting to be here, watching young adults share a meal, both girls and guys together, chatting animatedly, laughing excitedly, and sending the usual tell-tale flirtatious signs that young people do worldwide. Except here, there is absolutely no physical contact. The only contact I'm observing involves a lot of eye-talk; isn't it amazing what eyes can reveal?
The girls are all wearing headscarves and no part of their body is showing except their beautiful face, hands, and for those wearing sandals, feet. Some are wearing make-up, mostly eyeliner, eye-shadow and a bit of lip gloss. They are all elegantly dressed and they all exude an air of absolute confidence in the way they walk, sit, eat. These are the cosmopolitan women of Khartoum, of the whole of Sudan probably, and I love what I see.
I am conscious about not wearing sleeveless shirts and shorts here. I am also conscious about how short I am in relation to the people here. Everyone is SO TALL in Sudan, the men especially. I haven't seen one overweight person either, just extremely leggy ones.
Start: National Campsite, Khartoum, SUDAN.
End: National Campsite, Khartoum, SUDAN.
Distance Traveled: -
Road Conditions: -
Temperature: slight breeze early morning, a lethargic heat all afternoon