We spent a week in Khartoum sorting out visas and a few other issues. We met up with Ahmed who is a cousin of Amira, a work colleague of Pierre’s. Ahmed entertained us and took care of our needs whilst we were there. Friday is family day and we were fortunate to arrive to a Friday family feast. We hadn’t seen meat for a while and were very hungry after a day’s ride. The grilled lamb pieces arrived in bulk on four different platters. Complemented with a plethora of salads, different types and levels of spicy tahina, fresh local bread and a delicious lamb stew to top it off. Great company too. Thanks Amira for hooking us up. Your family is great.
It didn’t end there. We were taken for lunch at a restaurant called Al Housh as guests of the owner and were treated to yet another feast of traditional Sudanese delights. This place is an experience. The award winning design recreates a market atmosphere and the choice of food and lingering aromas is beyond the imagination. You can dine inside or outdoors with a view of the Nile and then take a trip to the Omdurman Souq down the road which is another experience on its own.
We pitched our tents at the Blue Nile Sailing Club. An exclusive members only club which provided good security and was very central for our convenience. Here we met a Dutch guy, Peter, who is travelling through Africa in his truck. He said he was travelling with his German friend Arne. We had met Arne through the warmshowers.org website and had spent a night with him in his apartment in Italy. We had lost touch with him in Egypt and by pure fluke we were now camped right next to him in Sudan. What a great surprise.
Arne is a laugh a minute – he wanted to cycle through the desert with his diving goggles and snorkel to fend off a sandstorm. The four of us went to the Ethiopian Embassy to apply for our visas and were each issued with a numbered queuing card. In the rather quiet waiting area Arne’s number was called, he stood up and shouted “bingo” at the top of his voice and caused such a stir that the four of us were able to apply together and skip the queue.
In a rather unorthodox style, our visas were ready in 20 minutes but we had to ask for an hour so we could enjoy a cup of freshly roasted, hand ground Ethiopian coffee and some injera in the awesome surrounds of the embassy gardens. Such a guilty pleasure.
A trip to the dentist gave me the all clear after biting into a piece of wire found in a packet of peanuts. I was diagnosed with sinusitis, not bronchitis, tonsillitis or even a cracked filling. The smiley Dr Fadil Elamin has recently moved his practice from London to Khartoum. He had trained with a South African practice in London, immediately recognised my accent and was so stoked that I had popped by that in lieu of payment I posed for a photograph with him and his staff. If you need a world class dentist in Khartoum don’t hesitate to drop him a line.
After a bit of bike maintenance, 38° in the shade and loaded with water we were, once again, off into the unknown.