Cultural experiences … Khartoum

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.

Random thoughts

I’m officially on holiday for a week. I’ve decided not to leave the country but rather, to stay here and job hunt for my next teaching post. I also need to catch up on sleep and to establish some better sleeping habits.

Since I did not travel this break, I get to bring friends to the airport (and pick them up eventually). As I was driving home at 2 a.m. this morning, I was struck at how many stores were still open. The local taamia (falafel) man was still frying falafels and several stores were still brightly lit and open. I’m trying to remember if that’s usually the case. I think places might be open later because of Ramadan.

Ramadan is almost over. I’ve never been in Sudan for Eid before. I’m interested to see what the city’s going to be like during Eid. I’ll keep you posted.

First weeks of school

School started on August 12. It’s been a couple of weeks of school now. My classes are developing nicely. We’re all involved in getting ready for our accreditation visit.

Last night was back to school night, where parents came to visit their children’s teachers and classes. Yesterday was a long day and I’m happy that it’s the weekend.