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Memories of my travels between 1972 and 1982

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

April 6th: Khartoum

On April 6th 1981 I was In Khartoum, making final preparations for returning home.

Khartoum at Sunset:  My picture
Mary and I spent only a little over a week in Khartoum.  Getting my papers right turned out to be quite easy: I suppose I had put in all the hard work in Juba.  We toyed with coming back via Egypt but decided against it for one reason or another.  We stayed in the Grand Hotel as it cost only a little more than the dump we started out in.  The Grand was the turn of the century hotel built for Thomas Cook's early Nile Cruises.  It still had its lovely lines but was getting a little seedy; everything was there but nothing worked quite right.  One attraction was the swimming pool, one of the few in Khartoum, but they started emptying it within an hour of our checking in and it never got refilled.  Still the river views were good.  I carried on with the process of trying to fatten up; this included the giant, everything imported from France, eat all you like buffet at the Meridien Hotel; fine for me but Mary wasn't getting filled on the salads which passed as the vegetarian options.

I made a quick farewell trip over to Tuti Island and enjoyed once again the country in the middle of the city.  We did a trip over into Omdurman and walked around the souk, but my heart was not in it.  I was ready to go home.

I ran into many old friends as the teachers started to come back after the teaching was over.  The teachers in the north seemed more satisfied than those in the south and there was plenty of talk of coming back.  My friend Richard had done a great trek with a horse called Huxley out near the Chad border.  Some people from the far north had been starting camel journeys.  Indeed I'd heard of one teacher who had been doing real desert journeys: Michael Asher's book "In Search of the Forty Days Road" would be published in 1984, providing great evidence that Sudan was at that time one place in the world where ways of life remained which were unconnected to the modern world.  He may have made some of the last great journeys that remained to be made by Europeans.

Omdurman Souk:  My Picture

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