When we got up in the morning, lo and behold there was our truck waiting for us - Tim had worked all the previous day and evening and had finished the repairs at midnight! We piled in for a very long trip into Sudan and our stop for the next few days, Khartoum. We took bets on how long it would take - in the end we arrived at 1am, around 18 hours of travel!
The Sudan countryside looked very bleak along the way, dry and with not a scrap of green anywhere. But the people were so friendly, waving to us and calling out "how are you" and "welcome". Once when we stopped to stretch our legs one car stopped to check we were OK. The people look so different to the Ethiopians, more African and less Arabic, and of course their clothing is different as they are Muslim.
Just after we crossed into Sudan we stopped at a roadside stall and got falafel for lunch. Food here is quite middle Eastern. Around 9pm we stopped for something to eat again, this time at a small town where we just sat on the side of the road with the locals, more falafel and tea and coffee. Very few women about but lots of men in white robes. Khartoum itself looks to be like any other large city, lots of big buildings and our hotel has good facilities and very fast wifi!
On our first day here we set out to find the point where the Blue Nile meets the White Nile. We had been told the best place to see this was from the top of a ferris wheel in an amusement park on the river so we set off in this direction. We stopped on the way for a fresh mango juice (with added sugar - they add sugar to everything!) and also some shwarma, shaved pieces of meat with chopped capsicums and onions served in a fresh bread roll - delicious! Then popped into the very interesting National Museum to see lots of Egyptian looking artifacts and learn a bit of the history of the area. We will be visiting the Sudanese pyramids in the next few days. We eventually found the amusement park and ferris wheel but both were shut down. We found someone with a bit of English and told him what we were looking for and pretty soon money had changed hands and we were taken to the very spot where the two Niles met - not very impressive but at least we can say we have been to the start of the White Nile in Uganda, the start of the Blue Nile in Ethiopia and the place where the two meet to become The Nile. We went out to dinner that night at a Syrian restaurant next to the hotel.
On our second day we left early to go to the Omdurman Souq, the largest souq in the country. It was a rabbit warren of lanes and alleyways selling all kinds of things - I bought a jug made out of an old tin can, recycling at its best! The local people wanted their photos taken (and didn't ask for money!) and we sat among them for a cup of coffee and tea before finding a taxi to take us back to the hotel. And that was a mission, finding someone who could read the address on the hotel card. One guy took the card to go and find someone who could read, then another moved in and said he knew where it was. We jumped in his taxi and it almost caused a riot when the other guy came back! Anyway, we got back safely.