28 – Xmas in Kadogli
Fri 25th Dec, South Kodorfan Hotel, Kadogli
I spent my day just relaxing. I’m the only foreign guy at the lokanda. Everyone else seems to be a middle aged guy in white robes. Just how many of them there are i cannot tell, since they mill around the courtyard and go in and out of the surrounding areas. Below is the piece of granite on which i have my bucket shower.
Slept in. Enjoying the slow pace of life. I am an anomaly here, since there are no tourists. Abdellah from the hotel who speaks good English tells me there were more tourists back in 2007, but the number dried up. Any UN personnel still around are from the Arabic speaking countries, and anyway the UN people aren’t tourists. He also tells me about the upcoming elections in April, vote rigging by the ruling party and many other interesting stories.
I am actually picking up quite a bit of Arabic, the problem is that there are so many versions of the same word, depending on whether it is MSA (modern standard arabic) or the Egyptian or Sudanese (i am assuming both are the same). After a while i’ll pick up common words and speak the local lingo. I think I must sound pretty stupid conversing in MSA when everyone else does it in the local dialect/speech. It of course helps that I can actually read Arabic (albeit without understanding), so once in a while, i’ll indulge and impress the socks off the locals. =)
I went out in the afternoon to get tickets for tomorrow (two bus companies with tix to Khartoum, 11 hours, 70 SDP, Hafawa and El-Shihaab Express). Then went through the local souq, which was arranged in an organised grid. It looks like the handiwork of some NGO. This is really rural Sudan, where people come in from the nearby villages. Took some photos, it gets a bit sensitive here with the shots, since i can’t be bothered to get a photo permit back in Khartoum. Plus with all the military clothed guys (i’ve seen at least 4 different patterns/colours of uniform, what gives?), i only sneaked a shot here and there. Whereas up in the Nuba mountains and nearby villages yesterday i was just snapping away.
Food is cheap, in general a good meal sets you back 8 SDP max (about 4 SGD). Since I am blessed with a strong stomach, the untreated water I drink everyday does not really bother me, unlike one guy i met in Khartoum who told me he gets sick drinking the water. I probably should consider getting some multi-vitamins. It is very dry and the skin holding my nails are beginning to recede. =( I am starting to like fuul, which is the staple of stewed fava beans. With a little bit of salt added, it is quite tasty. And eat like the locals, tear off a chunk of bread, use it as a ladel and scoop a chunk of fuul. Yummy. And I’ve also taken to halib, warm milk served by the roadside shai ladies.