Posts Tagged ‘Sudan’

Eloquent
exaggeration

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2009 states this about the Nile confulence in Khartoum:

Arabian poets call it the ‘longest kiss in history’ — which, admittedly, sounds much nicer than ‘confluence’ and does more to convey the import of this river collision. The pale-silt-carrying White Nile, rushing up from Uganda, and the soily Blue Nile, on its way west from Ethiopia, get it on in Khartoum — meeting, flirting for a stretch (their coloured waters flowing together but still visibly separate) before entwining for a monotone future together, watering farmers and pharaohs all the way through Egypt. Take a ferry to rural Tuti Island, in the middle of the city, and look back on the liquid love story.

Our impression was a little different. Haha.

We’re not out of Africa yet, we’re in Egypt, which has a distinctive Northern African/Middle Eastern feel. And so it feels as though we’ve left Africa behind us now, although the continent will surely stay with us for years to come.

We’ve covered roughly 20,000 km overland, across 12 different countries (excluding Egypt), not really knowing what to expect as we moved from one to the next. We enjoyed every country we visited, but a few definitely stand out in our minds, namely Namibia for its spectacular desert scenery, Malawi for it’s warm and friendly people, and Ethiopia for it’s unique culture and breathtaking mountains.

Here are some of the small things that will remind us of our time in Africa:

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Shop on Main Street Wadi Halfa

We arrived in Wadi Halfa after what felt like our longest marathon journey to date: seven whirlwind days around Ethiopia, followed by a two-day long border crossing and four continuous bushcamps across a stinking hot desert. Our arrival was welcomed, yet still somehow anticlimactic. We were onto the homestretch, getting to Egypt, but the some of the worst was yet to come. Don’t get me wrong here, I am loving traveling through these parts of the world, but it is full-on. There is very little relief from the skin-melting, life-sucking, dry heat of the Nubian desert. After a while, even the hardest-worn traveler craves staying put in one place, a little shade, a cold beverage, a bucket shower, bare shoulders and knees, and sweet, sweet air conditioning…to name a few.

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We’re in Wadi Halfa right now, on the border of the Sudan and Egypt. We’ve spent the last week driving through the Nubian Desert from Khartoum, with people dropping like flies from heat stroke. Since we’ve arrived in this small, dry town, we’ve spent three days sitting in the heat waiting for our ferry to depart. The temperature yesterday peaked at a cool 47 degrees Celsius, in the shade. We’ve never had to drink this much water in our lives. Someone told us that it hasn’t rained here since 1991, and then only for half an hour. It’s another world.

Today we get on a 30 hour ferry that will take us to Aswan in Egypt. Our budget ferry tickets get us luxurious placement on the ship: we will spend all 30 hours laying on the top deck, on the floor, competing for space under the lifeboats for some hint of shade. We will be in Egypt with the Oasis truck for another two weeks, and after that we’ll be back on our own, just two wanderers with a lot of distance left to cover. We’ve decided to take 6 weeks or so to travel up through the Middle East and through Eastern Europe on our way to the UK, where we’ll be catching another ship across the Atlantic. This time we’ll be stopping in Norway, the Faroe Islands, the Shetland Islands, and Iceland, before disembarking in Sydney, Nova Scotia.

We’ll be treated to some A/C and some internet in Aswan, so we’ll share more details then. Also watch for some new posts about our time in Sudan, as long as we don’t melt before we get out of here!