Friday, January 29, 2010
After 30 hours on the ferry and 400 km of riding through the Nubian Desert we have set up camp in the Dongola Zoo.
The ferry was quite a scene...best described by this picture and the fact that I watched 3 people trying to wedge a full refrigerator onto the back deck, to no avail - however they did manage to jam it into the last bit of empty space in the engine room. I shamelessly will admit that I enjoyed a cabin bed(after a quick bed bug test), but many other TDA riders had to jockey for sleeping space on the deck. We had the luxury of boarding 7 hours early, and were therefore probably not very popular with the 100s of others who then packed the lower and upper decks with their TVs, juicers, suitcases and other supplies they were taking with them to Sudan.
On arrival, we had a short bike ride to the soccer stadium in Wadi Halfa - our campsite for the night. We were apparently a bit early, since we arrived to the automatic gunfire of a military exhibition and celebration being held in the stadium.
It was at this point that I felt like I had really arrived in Africa, not just because uniformed men were holding their AK-47s in the air, but also because the terrain and people seemed drastically different then in Egypt. The 100s watching the exhibition were dressed in an array of amazing colors, and were friendly and excited to greet us as we made our way through the crowd.
There was not much food left in the 2 Wadi Halfa restaurants, after we stuffed our faces with fresh pita, chicken and beef kabob, beans, pepsis, tea, more pita...but I'm sure they were happy to have us.
Back on the saddle and back in the desert. Two 150km days followed by amazing campsites on the Nile, under a big moon. Soaking in the river was an unexpected pleasure, especially since the temperature during the day has gotten well into the 30s(90sF).
Yesterday was a quick 100km day into Dongola. I beleive I speak for most if not all of the TDAers, that 3 weeks ago, 100km being considered an easy day?? - laughable.
I have been energized by being in Sudan. The people are so friendly and very hospitable...Ubuntu is strong in here.
P.S. we are the only animals at the Dongola Zoo
at 10:36 AM