Monday, January 28, 2008

Wadi Halfa, Sudan-Jan. 22-24th

After the overall enjoyable experience of the 18 hour ferry ride, we landed in Wadi Halfa, Sudan. Because of the construction of the Aswan Dam several villages were "relocated" to Wadi Halfa, which used to be an oasis of sorts and very pretty. Needless to say, Lake Nasser is pretty but there aren't many trees to speak of, mostly mud-brick homes and sand and dust. The people fought the government fiercly but guess who won!

I was super surprised at the efficiency of "processing" our bags: inspection was no more than us opening our bags and them putting a sticker on them. We were told to "hide" our electronics and anything valuable. Well, there was no need to worry. In the meantime I went to the falafel stand and managed to procure one for our 4k bike ride to our camp at the soccer stadium.

We set up camp outside of the soccer field amongst the sand. It was blowing like usual so you definitely need two people to help you. Getting to Wadi around 4:00 and setting up camp by 6:00 we decided to walk to town. It was a moonlit night and you really see the stars unlike even in northern Michigan. Once we got into town, people started offering to pay for our meal and tea. Sudanese people are known for their hospitality and wanting to pay for your food. We graciously accepted and sat down to a meal of fried fish and tea! The town is fairly small (although larger than Petoskey) and the men congregate around 3 TV's which are placed outside of restaurants to watch FOOTBALL (Soccer). It seems like a great way to bring community together.

As it turned out our support trucks which were on a different ferry didn't get to our camp in time so the next day was declared an official rest day. That means that camp meals are not provided and we have to fend for ourselves! We were all over the town that day: shopping for toilet paper and assorted sundries, having turkish coffees or tea, eating lots of falafel and/or fish, and going to the market. In the market we saw the obligatory fresh cow legs hanging from hooks with flies buzzing around, bananas, onions, tomatoes, okra, and grapes. Some guy wanted to try out my bike so I let him. Right as he got on another guy said to me in English, "he biggest thief in town." Thank god it was a joke and I got my bike back.

Wadi Halfa seems a town out of time. In fact, time itself moves slow. Everbody says "welcome" to you in English, tuk-tuks (ricksaws) and moto-taxis are buzzing around as well as donkey carts loaded with various things being prodded by their drivers, and men stopping to talk and eat. We don't see too many women outside as they are probably taking care of their kids.

After a day of relaxing, we returned to camp for some bike maintenance and the changing of tires. I am proud to say that I managed to change my tires mostly by myself. We were told the next 4 days would be comprised of a variety of terrain: some tarmac, some hard-packed dirt, and some loose sand. I went to bed that night anxiously awaiting the day.


thomas said...

Hey Kerri! WOW I so wish I was there with you!!! I am glad to see that it is going well and that you are healthy... No sympathy from me on your saddle issues thought! HA!

Mamma donna said...

Hey Sweet Kerri, We are soooo proud of you! I sent a message earlier but it didn't go through. We think of you everyday...and worry about your butt. Know that we are smiling at your success and all of the joy that you are having...Hugs, Mamma Donna & Pappa Ron

Anonymous said...

Kerri. Wow. Looks like fun and treacherous. Be safe. Continue to keep us in the loop. -Lac D. Su, TalentSmart

Dahab said...

wow, I am really Proud of you, Kerri! I am from Wadi-Halfa and currently a student in your country, USA :D I am in NEW YORK. I am glad you visited my hometown and I am really happy to hear that you got our hospitable treatment :D We really enjoy foreigners coming in and I wish more and more would come! THank you and I always wish you the best of luck and I wish I saw this blog earlier...