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Around Omdurman


View 2014 Sudan & Egypt on alexchan's travel map.

large_5550_13946509071322.jpgHaving a cuppa tea outside the Ethiopian church in the morning.
As it was Friday, town was rather quiet. After a quick cuppa tea outside the Ethiopian Church, we took the buses to the train station. Here, Marius bought his train ticket to Wadi Halfa; a 50h journey. The process took about 2h as their smart web-based booking system wasn’t performing (anyway, I guess that’s the reason).

We were ready for lunch by the time we got back to the hostel. We fed ourselves well with a grilled half-chicken. It had been nicely seasoned and was accompanied with a bitter salad leaf, lime and chilli.

As it was super hot, we rested in the air-con room. I could hear the Friday prayers still going; I think they start much later than midday due to Khartoum [Khartoum-travel-guide-1178590] being west-end of the timezone.large_5550_13946509086896.jpgMarket outside the Ethiopian church in the morning.For this reason, we didn’t head out to Omdurman by bus (changing twice) till around 1430.

The souq at Omdurman is essentially a large collection of shops and stalls. Nothing like Damascus, Aleppo or Istanbul, but I wasn’t expecting that anyway. We explored and grabbed a tea each as a consolation prize; we had hoped for some freshly squeezed juices to quenched our thirsts but we couldn’t find them after having seen them from the bus earlier.

Walking around the souq, I noticed that Marius had a wonderful nature with locals who wanted to chat, or those that he wanted to photographed. I complimented him on this and he said that he had to re-set his a***hole personality which he had acquired (out of necessity) travelling through Ethiopia. New country, new attitude!

From the souq, we took a tuktuk to the Hamed al-Nil mosque and cemetery where Sufis would perform their weekly dervish-style worship.large_5550_13946509085932.jpgMarket outside the Ethiopian church in the morning.There was lots of chanting at first. Drums came in for the second half when the crowd formed a circle; the dervishes would twirl inside that circle.

This is nothing like the white peaceful whirling dervishes of Istanbul, where they are dressed in white. This is a noisy and colourful affair; some are dressed in red and green while others ad more Ethiopian/Rastafarian colours.

We were surprised by the number of tourists there. There was even a Greek tour group! I thought no one came to Sudan because of all the travel warnings!

We managed to get back to the hostel by bus with one change. By the way, I learnt that local snap their fingers when they want the driver to stop, ro sometimes they hiss!. We grabbed a simple dinner of taamiya sandwiches at a stall. The seating area was stifling so we opted to walk across the road and sat at a tea stall and order some teas to wash down our delicious sandwiches.

To me, Sudan is where Arabia ends and Africa starts. Having seen a few Arab countries, I really felt like I was in Africa. For Marius, it was quite the opposite. As he had been Africa a lot already, it didn’t feel like Africa to him at all!

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Posted by alexchan 17:00 Archived in Sudan

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