Thursday, February 3, 2011

TdA Rest Day 5. Khartoum.

Wow. This is a wonderful city. Considering the population and GDP per capita and the media attention that this country gets abroad, I have to admit that my expectations were not good. It goes to show me the value of seeing things for myself.

There are a lot of regular city things here and then there are a few things that serve as reminders that Sudan is not the most popular kid on the block. There are ATMs, but none of them appear to be compatible with foreign cards of any sort. As far as I can tell, credit cards are useless here as well. Petty crime and scams don't seem to be a problem here, though there are apparently warnings about terrorist attacks. Having said that, I have not seen the security set ups (car and people scanners) that are so popular in other 'at risk' big cities (Bombay, Delhi, Cairo, Nairobi, etc). Really, it feels quite safe here.

Walking down the street or sitting down for lunch, it is not unusual to hear someone say 'Welcome to the Republic of the Sudan'. Seriously, the hospitality here is touching. People There are people in the group that have randomly been invited into people's homes for lunch. Mike-without-a-bike and I asked a guy for directions today and he walked a few blocks with us to show us the way!

Every television that I see is tuned in to Al Jazeera or BBC and showing live coverage of the situation in Cairo. It is hard to believe that we were there just a few days before things started to deteriorate. I'm so grateful to have had the chance to pass through when I did. I really hope that this is the start of a new and positive era for the country.

My legs feel better today than they have since I started riding from Alexandria. Maybe there is something therapeutic about an 70kms of easy spinning that work a bit of the fatigue out of one's legs. Unfortunately I seem to have contracted the plague that has been going around camp. At least it is a rest day. Hopefully better by tomorrow?

We've got a stacked schedule over the next week. Eight consecutive days of riding, I think. Six to the border with Ethiopia, and then two more to Gondar. I have no idea what to expect in between. But, if it is anything like the last couple of weeks, I think that I'm going to like it.


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