Friday, 14 June 2013

I Invite You!

      Sudan is a very relaxed country in which to travel. The people  roads, and deserts can easily be enjoyed if you take a deep breath and just go with the flow. Inshallah ("If God wills it"),  is a term used frequently, whether you are going blue in the face waiting for someone to fry two eggs, or suffering through the bureaucracy of registering with security before or after you check into a room. Nothing is ever hurried, so you learn to relax and enjoy the never ending cups of tea.

     Travel in a Muslim country is very different from other parts of the world. Representing a very specific way in which society behaves, as a tourist I always pay the same as the locals, and treated am treated no differently. I am left to enjoy my privacy when asked to be left alone, or treated like a king if looking for any type of help.

       " I INVITE YOU " are words that are spoken a lot in Sudan. The invitation shows deep honour and respect. As a guest as I am hosted in ways not experienced anywhere else. My host would be offended if I wanted to pay for anything, and stops at nothing to see that anything I could possibly need is provided.

       It's a combination of Hell and Paradise while travelling Sudan with a motorcycle. Photo sessions of people sitting on the bike, offering a ride, or answering the same questions again and again never get old where people are exceptionally helpful and friendly.  With temperatures reaching 50 degrees celsius, I questioned what I was doing here many times, but constantly made shade and water my companions and had fun,  reminding myself that no one invited me here!
There are many places worth seeing in Sudan, but never visited by tourists.

Friend Jeremy warning me not to drop my bike again!

Camel riding
Temperatures up to 50 degrees celcius in Sudan!

       It would not be a trip to Sudan without visiting some of the many ruins, temples, and pyramids with dates from 9th century BC. Riding into the desert for some fun, I set the GPS as best I could.   Two friends on motorcycles from France and I set out for lost temples. After dropping the bike four times in one day I was ready for bed. Bruised ribs still and the dust in my lungs make sneezing difficult.  I have a black and blue foot that has almost healed. And the feeling of a BMW landing on me after a fall is also fading. Dragging the bed from my room into the hotel courtyard to sleep communally under the stars with a cool breeze off the Nile river definitely makes it all worth it at the end of a hot day. Mornings start early with traditional bread, beans,and tea. I stock up on water and fuel reserves before starting the day's search for the next pyramids.
Although the White and Blue Nile are prominent geographical features of Sudan, the country is really just sand.  I am sure many eager students have done many PH D's on this. Now young men spend hot days in the desert with metal detectors turning rocks in search of gold. They relax at hotels for a few days in new clothes, cell phones, and big dreams before returning to their work camps.

       There currently is only one way from Sudan into Egypt. It is a 20 hour ship up the Nile to Aswan, Egypt. The shade under a life boat was a premium spot during the day, and at night, cruising the Nile under the stars was a great way for me to relax my bruised ribs.  It is now close to two years that I have been making my counter clockwise trip around Africa, along with many loops around several countries. I am filled with many thoughts as Egypt will complete the final loop. There are a lot of people, and places I hope to see again, but know it's time to start thinking about the next ship from Egypt into Turkey.

Cruising to Aswan

From the ship to Egypt

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