Nubian mechanics

24th August 2014 by Helen

Not keen to hang around late with the cockroaches we were on the road pretty quick this morning. Having skipped breakfast we stopped as soon as we could for a coffee at a traditional coffee house. The only women were serving but we were both welcomed to take part and the men took an interest in the strangers in their midst as we enjoyed freshly brewed Sudanese coffee made in old tin cans converted into saucepans and served from old tin cans beaten round into the most amazing little coffee posts.

Leaving there we came across quite a few police checks but no problems, just checking permits and paperwork. Pretty run of the mill stuff.

Run of the mill stopped though when we stopped for lunch – snacks grabbed along the way. That was when Paul noticed some extreme wear on the wheel around the wheelnuts and a problem with the wheel bearings. With a fair few kilometres still to go this could be a problem so Paul set about doing some roadside mechanics. Under normal circumstances this was a job that would take no more than a couple of hours. In the scorching desert heat this was no normal circumstances. But the first problem was the key to the padlock on the back door broke in the lock. Now that might seem just a small inconvenience but this was a super duper padlock designed to be unbreakable. And all Paul’s tools were inside behind the padlock. But all was not lost. The grinder was in the side locker. With the padlock cut in half Paul got on with the work in hand. In the heat it took longer than expected but eventually he finished. The occasional truck slowed in passing to wave and check we were ok but shortly before we were ready to go again a seriously dilapidated old car turned up with three curious young men. We chatted, the watched, we took photos and they shared their very chilled muddy water with us, which we drank with hope in our hearts (it turned out to be alright). They were delighted with our spare spade in exchange.

Back on the road we continued into Port Sudan, arriving at the Baashar Hotel a little after dark.

Tourist cockroaches

23rd August 2014 by Helen

Today’s drive out towards Port Sudan first took us past the Meroe Pyramids. We noticed lots of shredded tyres decorating the roadside and a few small shrubs or trees but otherwise there was little to break up the flat desert. The occasional village of a few small houses tended to blend in with the desert, with the exception of the ornately designed mosques.

Our plan was to travel as far as we could today and we reached Atbara where we stopped at the Nile Tourist Hotel, one of the places listed on our SatNav (Tracks 4 Africa). When the power cut hit we discovered a new game – stamping on cockroaches!!


22nd August 2014 by Helen

It turned out to be a good thing that we arrived a day early because we found out today that everything is closed on a Friday and we would not have been able to get our permits, etc until Monday. Phew!!

We spent the next couple of days based at the hotel in Khartoum, catching up on paperwork, booking flights, and communicating with the shippers. On Friday we took advantage of the hotel’s free guided tour of the sights of the city. It was very hot walking around outdoor ancient monuments but otherwise it was a real change and a great day out that ended with a close up experience of the whirling dervishes at sunset.

We had a quick debate when the shipper said they could stuff Landy into the container in Khartoum but it was a pretty easy choice that we would rather make the drive to Port Sudan ourselves.