I was making breakfast on Tuesday morning when I noticed something extraordinary. There was quiet in my neighborhood. There was an occassional car on the road, not the usual blur of traffic that I’m used to on this busy street. Khartoum is quiet during Eid.
A friend explained to me that most people who live in Khartoum visit their family in their hometowns, and most expats travel out of the country. As such, only a small core of people are left in the city.
What struck me most was the contrast with my experience the night before. I’d had an adventure. I was looking for Salih Basha street in Khartoum, and had vague directions as to where it was. I asked a policeman where it was in my limited Arabic. He climbed into the passenger seat of my car and lead me to Huria Street, where he got off. After driving for a little while, I asked another policeman where the street was. He got off his motorcycle and got into my car and lead me to the street. (I offered to drive him back to his bike but he said it was only a short walk.)
Salih Basha is a one way road. There I was driving along, looking for the clinic when I found myself in a crowded and busy souk. Driving a car through the mass of people was a disconcerting experience. I had to follow traffic to get out of the area and had no idea where I was. I counted little on my poor sense of direction to help me but by some miracle, and accidentally, I managed to find Salih Basha street again.
The drive home was significantly less exciting. I simply asked an amjad driver which turn to take, to confirm my route, and it was a simple drive home.