Northern Sudan during a Muslim holiday

Trip Start Oct 10, 2009
Trip End Aug 31, 2010

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Where I stayed
Al Fagr

Flag of Sudan  , Northern,
Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Arriving from touristy and unfriendly Assuan to Sudan really was a big "splash bum bim peng" experience. Suddenly all people are so nice, almost everybody is greeting you on the street, they want to know where you are from, what's your name and what you do in Sudan. I think we have never shaken as many hands as during our time in Sudan. It's a very warm and relaxed atmosphere, the Sudanese people give you the feeling that you are really welcome in their country and that they appreciate that some tourists decide to make Sudan one of their destinations. So you basically shake hands, and shake even more hands and you smile and it's really really warm and friendly!

So after Wadi Halfa we decided to go down Northern Sudan along the Nile river, the so-called Nubian region. There are basically many small towns and villages along the river, and you really feel Africa! There are fewer restaurants, after dark there is pretty much nobody on the street, the supermarkets only have 30 items or so and the roads are far away from being paved. We also realized thast our way of travelling has to be adjusted- the hotels are getting more dirty, a hot shower is utopia if there is even a shower respectively if there is even running water or a toilet (the bush toilet has become common for us). Due to the lack of a shower we even decided to take a bath in the Nile, which was not only really cold but the sight of a crocodile a few days later made us realize the special kick of this kind of body wash.

Since HelMan basically stands for extreme hardcore spontaneous backpacking, of course we didn't know that we were travelling to a Muslim country during Eid, the most important Muslim holiday (comparable to Christian Easter/Christmas). This means that everything is closed for 3 to 5 days, including hotels, restaurants, supermarkets or any other kind of shops and of course there is also very limited transportation available. To make a long story short, we basically were sleeping at people's houses because we didn't have a hotel, we were eating beans ("fuul") 3 times a day and actually had to beg for food for the first time in our lives and we were stuck in Abri for 3 1/2 days because there was no bus to the next town. Furthermore we saw the slaughter of 5 sheeps in total (a Muslim has to sacrifice a sheep during Eid) and Heli even was allowed to assist (what a bloody honour, hehe). Apart from the kinda negative experiences during Eid we spent wonderful times sitting at the banks of the Nile, watching the sunset just by ourselves, the kind of travel experience everybody is always looking for, just enjoying the peaceful moment without hassle and letting the mind slip away and simply relax.

By the way, on the bus from Wadi Halfa to Abri an old man shit his pants, it smelled really bad so the people in the bus simply put up incense sticks...

After we finally got a bus out of Abri we arrived in Kerma, which wasn't much better because everything was still closed and we stayed at a place that was incredible. It was probably the most messy place we have ever seen and the following day Sven, the german guy we meet again and again, refused to sleep inside the room because of moldy yoghurt below his bed.

However our neighbours was apparently an egyptian family which seemed to have some serious problems... the father a choleric, the kids seriously bored and the wife definitely lazy.

Due to our hardcore backpacker attitude and drinking water from the Nile Helmut felt during our first night some sickness. however it stayed with the feeling. the following night Manuel got seriously sick and had a morning he spent on the toilet.

Kerma was nothing much to be talked about, it was a dirty little town with no good access to the river and some friendly people. We left town very early. the bus was supposed to leave at 8. we left at 10 towards Karima.

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