Dongola to Kerma
Jul 03, 2005
The trip from Dongola two Kerma was supposed to be two hours, and it was actually just that. In addition, the small pickup had a roof, which kept away the midday sun. The truck starts almost empty with only six passengers, and then slowly fills up until it was very overfull. But still, it was great. It's funny how your standards change.
Now, finally we're traveling along the river. It's green and pretty the entire way. There is another beautiful Nile sunset. I suspect that if someone traveled through Sudan by boat, they'd think that the entire country is green and tropical. But just 150 feet from the river, the green ends, and from there it is almost endless desert.
I end up trapped in Kerma for a few days waiting for a ride, but it's a nice place. I can always head down to the riverfront for a cold soda, a nice view, and a cool (well.... relatively cool) breeze.
One day I make some friends in a cafe. Sudanese, of course, as there are no tourists here. They invite me to go with them to their house on Bhadri Island in the middle of the river. We take a ferry, and then a pickup truck. As we ride through Bhadri Island, I'm just stunned by the scenery - it's like a green and steamy rainforest -- much more of what you'd expect in Sumatra or Borneo, instead of the middle of the Sahara in Northern Sudan.
First we visit the village elder. He is an old man, and comes out with a walker to keep him upright. But he's a true character, who is absolutely full of energy. He approves my visit, and we continue on to my new friend's house.
I spend the rest of the day sitting in the shade of a tree with them, reading and playing cards. It's a bit striking to have a whole town of only men - the women are all locked in the house. A massive feast is prepared for the guest, that's me. In the evening, they drop me off at the ferry and I head back to my hotel.
One more note. The entire route along the Sudan is dotted with ruins. I didn't have any information about them until I arrived here in Dongola, and a tour agent showed me a brochure. I don't think that I'll have time to see them. But so far as I know, there is no other info like this anywhere on the web so I took photos of the brochure, and posted them on geekeasy as an article.
Leave a comment! I'm much more inspired to write when I know people are reading.