Sunday, July 30, 2006

Trip to Omdurman

Yesterday we got a photography permit from the Ministry of Tourism (just down the street from the man standing on the sidewalk to skin the sheep carcass). So now we can click away--we've pledged only to take photos of nothing defamatory of Sudan or revelatory of defense secrets.

David bravely drove us across the Blue Nile to Omdurman, an area not much frequented by expats. Amazingly, he managed to find his way without getting lost. We visited a museum, the Khalifa's house (Ed, Eleanor, and Sam against one of the walls of the house). It was an interesting contrast to the museum house we had visited in Cairo--this one reminded us much more of the adobes in the southwestern US.

They're repairing the Mahdi's Mosque near the Khalifa's house. Check out the scaffolding around the minaret.

We also visited the souq--the market--in Omdurman. It's the biggest one in the country. I'm sure it's possible to find just about anything there, but we were completely overwhelmed by it and had no idea where to go to find anything. We had a great lunch of kebab there, though.

Our guidebook said there was a camel market west of Omduruman. David followed his instincts and we got in the general vicinity (we kept stopping to ask people the way--as we got closer Ruth drew a picture of a camel for us to show people to be sure they understood us), but we never did see it. We think someone tried to tell us that we were in the right place but that the camel market wasn't operating that day. It was a fascinating drive, though--wonderful to see more of Khartoum and to glimpse the mountains outside of the city.

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