The Real Paradise Hotel

We’re in Sudan, day 3, in the capital Khartoum, it’s really hot.

Entering the city we agreed to spend a little more than the usual 5 to 10 dollars on a filthy room, figuring that we’d save loads on alcohol anyway.

So we’re at a mediocre hotel in the middle of town, the bikes are parked in the rear foyer, we’re sharing a “suite” with Matias.

Our suite has hot running water, electricity, WiFi, breakfast included and clean beds (albeit incredibly hard).

Our suite does not have a strong smell of feaces, a million mosquitos, dripping taps that don’t actually work, broken tiles everywhere, stained sheets that smell like (I’m not sure what but Sally calls it) dirty head, a broken toilet seat or exposed wiring. It’s the real hotel Paradiso.

Feels a bit like cheating actually, but we’re headed from here into the desert camping so are making the most of it.

We went out last night for dinner in a Syrian restaurant. Turns out there are lots of Syrians here, and their food is AMAZING! After weeks of ugali, non descript inedible meat, beans, rice and cabbage, the feast of fresh tabouli, chicken, eggplant, yoghourt and mango juice left us all draped in our seats with big smiles.

The friendly Syrian owner grimaced when I mentioned the only thing missing was a beer “here it is not easy to live, too many rules, not so much fun…”

It’s Sharia law in Sudan, which means a lot of things, but Matias summed it up quite well recently in an expletive ridden rant in Spanish saying something like…

“Now I understand, no alcohol, no drugs, no sex, you can’t even see a woman, this horrible screaming coming from ten different mosques 5 times every day… it wears you out! In another week I’m going to start praying for something too!!”

Of course there were plenty of “puta madres” and “en la concha de tu madres” thrown in as well…

On the up side, the men here are very friendly! (we dont/can’t really talk to any women). Yesterday on the highway a man came over to the stall where we were trying to work out what was being sold for lunch, I initially thought he was begging because of how dirty he was, but he translated the food for us then invited us for coffee and shisha at his stall down the road when we were finished.

We chatted for some time about Argentina and Australia, and when we asked to pay he just smiled, put his hand on his heart and said no, you are my guests.

These acts of kindness are so humbling when you consider the man sells coffee for maybe 30c per cup out of a mud hut on the highway.

He spoke fluent English, explaining he was a qualified translator but there was no work, so he and his wife sold coffee here, (and the odd bag of charcoal made in the next village, hence the dirty clothes!).

It’s 830am now, I’ve been awake since the morning prayer at stupidoclock, time to wake Sal and get some breakfast.

Love to all at home xxoo

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