Sudan – desert days

This morning we arrived in Dongola after three days of long rides through the deserts of the Sudan. The whole atmosphere in the country is totally different from Egypt. Much more relaxed, quieter, cleaner and definitely less crowded. After the starkness of the desert it is great to be in a town again.

Starting to get into more of a routine now so have had time to look around and appreciate the landscape. We have had two nights of camping by the Nile which has been fantastic. After the unremitting blond sand, there is this sudden burst of the softest green, and clumps of date palms, with the huge slow river in the middle.

Yesterday, we went in for a wash and a swim. A big improvement on getting clean with dettol wet wipes. The water was murky when we first got in with hordes of hungry gnats at the edge, but as we went further, it cleared and was cool and soothing for all the (very) achy bits.

I am blogging from a Computer Sciences Institute which is full of young boys who are doing exactly what you would expect – using facebook and looking at pretty girls.

Dongola is a really nice town, small but incredibly friendly and full of characters. We have met the portly pharmicist who is actually an actor and only moved to Dongola to appear in a play – but stayed; had lunch at the local cafe – beans, potatoes, rocket salad and meat with lots of fresh bread; had a race in a Tuk Tuk against two giggling Sudanese ladies – we lost; and bought a pile of sticky pastries which we ate while watching the Egyptian riots on BBC Arabic TV.

So far, people I have spoken to are split on whether the riots will mean a change in government in Egypt or not – Mubarak has a strong hold. But eveyone has their TV sets permanently on and is watching to see what happens.

Haven’t eaten for …ooh two hours at least … so time now to go back for some supper and may even stay up till after 8pm tonight. Happy days.

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