dongala to khartoum.
When a child soldier armed with an AK47 waves at you, wave back…
So we currently reside in Khartoum the capital of Sudan well North Sudan. We arrived here by riding through a lot (and a lot) of desert with the subtle change of some minimal vegetation and slight change of finer sand as we headed further south. Getting to this point since Dongala has been very interesting, we’re cycling in Sudan how can it not be.
The routine of this stretch has been ride, stop for food, ride, more food, ride and finally search for a subtle camp for the night. This is again repeated again the next day with each day beginning with very cold starts which does nothing for our tans (or wind burnt lips.) These long stretches of road are broken up by the occasional village (think several straw huts with surrounding goats) and cafes (think some walls with snack stands.) The days are also broken up by constant waves/thumbs up and/or riggy didge hand gestures to people along our path, cheering us along as I’d like to think but the real reason being the genuine Nubian hospitality.
So for now its Khartoum and what I would call a well deserved rest day and just as importantly running water. Despite not feeling like doing much but taking it very easy we’ve managed to check out some of the city including the old city market, joining of the blue and white niles and indulged in a ‘traditional’ beef stroganoff. All of this whilst passing a ridiculous amount of government buildings from the ministry of agriculture finance to the high court of fish farmers… oh how fun the bureaucracy would be. This said to get my Sudanese photography permit which is required to actually use your camera was relative easy. So now with said permit in hand I can start using my ‘proper’ camera.
From here we head south on our hopeful descending journey to Ethiopia a country that is going to offer so much in the way of sites but more importantly a point of difference in cuisine oh and the ability to have a beer (sharia law here in Sudan.) Fingers are also crossed that the country doesn’t feature signs marking each individual kilometer to the next town which after a while became a tad annoying like an inner voice taunting you. We were intending on heading directly south towards to border between the new countries although have been told to stay a little more north due to some continuing unrest between the differing religions. I am envisioning more waving military landcruisers with anti-aircraft guns and armed child soldiers. Local advice we will take.
I have listed a quick summary of some of our everyday subject matters below.
Food – Our diet has nearly solely consisted of beans, eggs and bread. A nutritional meal that was quite a novelty for the first few days but one that bores pretty quickly hence the beef stroganoff last night. Dinners whilst camping in the middle of nowhere have so far managed to get quite gourmet i.e. two minute noodles with tuna and beans. Occasionally we indulge with a dessert of a biscuit or two. Due to riding some big distances (averaging 150kms) we literally can’t eat enough, sometimes 2 large bowls of fool (beans) with numerous rolls of breads.
Drink – water… and when available a lot of it. We have been trying to drink local water i.e. river sources which are cleaned with our steri pens (think miniature lightsaber). Love the sugar drinks when available although Sudan has gone to the dark side by mainly stocking pepsi over coke. I am hoping the anti-US sentiments aren’t so wide in Ethiopia and they’ve made the right choice between these two.
Camping – when we have an hour left of daylight we start looking for suitable spaces i.e. spa resort with suitable barbeque facilities… In actual truth we opt for somewhere away from the road, between dunes and ideally a spot that offers a nice sunset which isn’t too hard in the desert.
Bikes – going very well besides Shane breaking too many spokes. I haven’t gotten to the point of pedaling in my sleep although it can’t be too far off considering we do sit on the bikes for a long time. So far the wind gods have been supportive and very keen for this to continue i.e. some days averaging 28/29kmh if this means anything to anyone. Wildlife – easy… not much. Camels (dead and alive), donkeys (even in capital cities) and vultures. I am thinking we will probably see some more exotic ones before the trip ends.
Okay that’s me done for now. As mentioned tomorrow its back on the bikes for more km’s, greener vegetation and a pretty good chance more beans and eggs. We have all really enjoyed Sudan so will definitely miss it but all feel fortunate we have visited and experienced such genuine hospitality. It’s a country that has always seemed so exotic and remote, one that will always seems to be troubled by warring factions and differing opinions; fortunately we all now know a little more outside of this stereotype.
Thanks for everyone’s comments, it’s much appreciated. I will try to update again once in Ethiopia.