Archive for the ‘Sudan’ Category

Port Sudan

29th August 2014 by Helen

Port Sudan is hot hot hot, but then we are here at the hottest time of year. Just as in Khartoum and elsewhere everyone is polite and friendly and it’s an absolute joy to be in this country. Our first couple of days were spent making contact and final arrangements with the shippers. On Tuesday Paul was very grateful for some paid help in the final washing and cleaning of Landy before shipping, but there was still a lot of work for him to do in the 50C shadeless heat to ensure everything was packed safely and securely while I kept him supplied with endless bottles of water. On Wednesday Landy went into his container. We were a bit nervous about the photos of his lashings and we had the container opened and re-lashed. Still not confident – it seems the lashing was done the ‘African way’!

Sadly it was too hot to really explore much of Port Sudan on foot but on Thursday we took our first ever Tuk Tuk ride to the famous fish market down by the Red Sea. The market it quite small and it was late in the day but there were still plenty of fish available. Nobody seemed to mind that we were tourists wanting photos more than to buy fish but we did stop at the only nearby restaurant for our fish supper before taking another Tuk Tuk back to the town centre.

Like everywhere in Sudan there is little in the way of ‘welfare’ and begging and giving to beggars is pretty normal.

Finally, it was time to leave again and on Friday we flew from Port Sudan back to the Acropole Hotel in Khartoum. Boarding the plane a man in his early 40’s stood at the bottom of the steps making sure all the women, children and elderly boarded first but Paul managed to find me once he was able to board. Paul was a little nervous as he looked out of the window and saw how close we were sitting to the propellers of the plane at Port Sudan but all was well and we arrived in Khartoum in one piece. Having landed though we experienced something on a plane we have never seen before. Nobody, absolutely nobody stood up when the plane came to a standstill, or before the seat belt lights went out. In fact nobody, except one young teenaged boy, bothered to stand up until the airline staff began to open the doors. No rush, no impatience. Amazing!

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!!