21 January 2011 Staying at Blue Nile Sailing Club, Khartoum, Sudan The Sudanese couple we met in Addis Ababa offered to take us this morning to the Magdi's mausoleum in the old part of Khartoum called Omdurman. He was the man who fought the English commander Genl Gordon of the occupying forces in the late 1800's and eventually beat the English with very few weapons apart from shear pride not to be ruled by another country. He, his son and his two grandsons are buried together and a whole building is built around their tomb. We even met one of his off-springs. Afterwards we relaxed at the campsite and although we have been assured that the toilet facilities have been cleaned and brought back into working order, the ladies' was still in a terrible state and even though the people are extremely hospitable to a state where you think there must be catch, the one thing we can't stand is the way they treat their women, children and animals. Even in their dealings with Western women, clients, these women are treated as second rated citizens (if not lower). Even the lady who took us around was constantly in a state of frustration against the system. She told us about 2 young girls who were recently beaten to a pulp because they wore trousers instead of the usual skirts. Although we got the feeling that in Sudan they are practising a moderate Islamic faith due to the fact that most women don't wear burkas, one see women in the work environment to a little extent, there is obviously an undercurrent which is outside our reach. Later the afternoon we went to a so-called Nuba Wrestling event. It was held in a market area some 15km from where we were camping and it is done in a huge circular grounds. The area is cordoned off with a 2 meter high wall of various cloth and nets, so one has to pay an entrance to see it. We did not know about the ticket system but at the gate they smiled at us and invited us to sit in the 'VIP' section. There must have been close to a thousand spectators coming to watch this event but I must be honest, I still don't know why it is happening or the meaning behind it all. In the middle of the grounds is a huge ring drawn in white chalk and the 2 wrestlers must try to pin one another down on the ground. Not for 3 counts, he must just tackle somehow his opponent and bring him off his feet onto the ground. There are 2 camps of wrestlers on opposite sides of the ring and somehow one challenges another and this challenging goes along with a lot of shouting and arguments from the jolly crowd. In the evening we were supposed to go with the Sudanese couple to a restaurant but just before the arranged time we got a call to say there was some sort of an emergency and they can't make it. So together with Werner and Herta we went to a local restaurant and had some local cuisine. Most of it is wraps with a thin type of bread filled with salads and meat. The other favourite is chicken and kebabs. The sauces they make with it are really divine and although more expensive than Ethiopia, food is still value for money. We even got free dessert on demand from the friendly manager. Just as we were heading home, we got a call from the Mohammed, the husband to say he is terrible sorry about the fact that he had to cancel but he is on his way to come and meet us. He arrived with his cousin, also a Mohammed (I believe 90% of the Muslim men are called that) and the reason for the 'emergency' became obvious. He had to attend a work function and had slightly too much of the stuff they are not suppose to drink. But he was very apologetic and he summoned his cousin to take us around in the middle of the night to various parts of the city criss-crossing bridges and even brought us pizza from a South African brand Debonairs which opened their doors here in Sudan! 22 January 2011 Total Distance: 15 964 km Distance covered today: 534 km Start: Blue Nile Sailing Club, Khartoum, Sudan Finish: Wild camping in the desert some 100km east of Dongola Werner and Herta are the most perfect hosts and they invited us for breakfast - again! With a stomach loaded with lovely cheese, eggs, bread and tea, we left Khartoum. We wanted to see some more pyramids close to a town called Merowe. This time though, we encountered very little traffic because we took the road away from the Port Sudan - Khartoum highway and drove again through the desert to Merowe. Here, on the foothill of a very small scale Table Mountain, we saw a few more pyramids with their tops still intact. They were about the same size as the ones at Meroe, but not in the same abundance. Close by there is also a temple dedicated to the god Amun but one really has to use one's imagine as most of it has been falling to pieces. After a quick cool drink stop at a nearby fancy lodge, we headed into the desert cutting across and bypassing the Nile's loop on a brand new road. We encountered the first 40km not a single vehicle nor saw anyone. This part is completely void of life. Not even a camel. Shortly before sunset, we pulled off the road and tonight we are camping again under blanket stitched with thousands of stars. Slowly but surely we are making our way to Wadi Halfa on the shore of Lake Nasser where we will catch the boat on the 26th to Egypt. I believe we will be out of internet reception until at least the coming weekend.