Friday, March 02, 2007

Khartoum, Sudan Date 11/26/2004:

It's Friday and apparently a High Holy Day. Our driver was late (called to let us know) because he had to go to prayers. When he showed up he was in a white dress?..robe?...whatever they call it but he also had one of his giveme caps on. No flying yet, we are still working on Sudan permits, so most of the day was spent finding things to eat. I never thought I would find such joy in finding a jar of mayonnaise for sale or for that matter yellow cheese. Still no joy for pinto beans or corn meal. The meat here is very good, no pork but nice chickens and I bought a whole beef tenderloin for almost nothing. The veggies suck big time. Not a clue how I'm going to work around that other than keep looking for other sources. One thing I've found is the stores do not all carry the same thing so maybe there is hope. BTW it is really hard to de-glaze a pan and make a decent sauce with out wine, I'm getting there with other acids but damn I miss my beer and wine.

I am not a mathematician so I do not totally understand the Theory of Chaos but to drive in Sudan is, from my understanding of Chaos Theory, a demonstration of the beauty of chaos in nature. Stop signs, it is as if they do not exist, roads...maybe we stay on them ...maybe not, roundabouts are a thing of beauty, all of this going on with an amazing density of vehicular and pedestrians traffic on and along side the road, crossing it, coming on and off buses and private cars and trucks. Add in the donkey, jitney, and donkey cart traffic as well as the number of people living by the roads, some with herds of goats, it is astounding that traffic moves at all. But the reality is that it moves with what appears to be great efficiency. Go figure.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Khartoum, Sudan Date 11/20/2004:

Our apartment is on the third floor. It is large with three bedrooms, one bath, a kitchen, and a very large sitting area. It is almost clean, with a combination of English, French and Middle Eastern wall plugs. The best you can say about the bath is it will get you wet enough to soap and with effort you can rinse. The stove is small and the pots and pans are barely usable but I’ve managed to feed us so far. We are close to the airport and in a "nice part of town" but that is all relative. There is an ever present dust haze and traffic is unreal.

I went to the UN this morning to get my ID badge. For the return home instead of our regular driver I used one from the UN. What an adventure, “yes, yes I know the way” almost two hours later and at least six stops to ask directions we found it. The traffic is insane, it is total chaos, there are ¾ finished buildings everywhere you look, men in white robes riding tiny burros, herds of goats on many of the vacant lots, and people moving, standing, talking, and sitting on rugs under any shade they can find.

This is not a place I would vacation but if you were intent on seeing the world it would be a fascinating country to visit and I would guess a must stop if for no other reason than the mix of cultures. I'm trying to learn how to recognize the different cultures and ethnic groups but for now it is very confusing. Each has different ways of dressing so in time I will get it sorted out.

Khartoum, Sudan Date 11/19/2004:

Poor is poor the world over. Khartoum could be anywhere in the third world. It really reminds me of some of the places I've been in Mexico but here many of the men and women wear long white outer garments and there is not a beer to be found. There really is great cultural diversity, I've seen Arabs, Blacks, what appear to be tribes men with ritual scarring, and modern clothing, close to the full range of dress. I'm having visual overload.