‘Tomorrow Inshalla’, ‘Tomorrow Inshalla’, ‘Tomorrow Inshalla’, I think I had about five days of tomorrow inshalla. But still nothing was happening, I just walked three kilometres to the port, just to hear them say ‘Tomorrow Inshalla’. Most international ports around the world work seven days a week and some 24 hours depending on how big it is. This tiny port in this tiny village only worked 5 days per week, but the cargo side was interrupted for two of those days when the passenger boat embarked or disembarked.
Over crowed ferry.
Unloading at Wadi Halfa, Sudan
On Tuesday, after a long windy night sleeping on the floor of the top deck, lying next to strangers amongst boxes and suitcases of stuff the Sudanese were importing into Sudan to sell, I was lucky to befriend an Architect from Australia who happened to know my old employer in Brisbane. She came upstairs and offered me a spare blanket from her cabin (first class-ish), which spared me lying directly on the cold steel and shivering all night. When the passenger boat finally arrived, I had looked around for the barge with my motorcycle on it. I was disappointed to discover it must be behind us.
Waiting in this tiny sandy village, where all the buildings were just hashed together as quickly as possible and spread out in no particular system, was torture. Now this waiting was good on one hand as I needed to rest my shoulder which had developed an inflammation and it became extremely painful to lift my arm to even shake somebodies hand! But on the other hand I was extremely frustrated as I had no change in clothes, or a towel to have a shower and I could see it all on my motorcycle stuck on the cargo boat in the port.
I had discovered the internet cafe only worked for a few hours a day but not on Friday or Saturday, nor was it operational when there was a power cut. So, I just sat there and waited, drinking chai and traditional coffee with almost everyone in the village over the course of the five days.
Sunday rolled around and I walked once again down to the port, tracing my still visible foot prints in the sand. The customs officer was extremely angry that I had been made to wait, and now another boat was been unloaded before my boat. Dragging my fixer down to the dock, we arranged for the boat containing my motorcycle to pull up along side of the boat being unloaded and to carry my bike over the two boats. I couldn’t believe it, why couldn’t we have done that on the day the cargo boat arrived!
In a few hours, I drove my motorcycle out of the port compound. It was 12pm and I was going to pack up and just leave. I couldn’t bear another day in Wadi Halfa. I just wanted to drive to Dongala, see a different type of scenery and meet a Korean family running a guest house I kept on hearing about.
I managed to wrap up 400 kilometres in five hours. Sudan now has beautiful smooth asphalt roads carved alongside the Nile’s vegetation belt. Petrol stations had sprung up along the road, which made my petrol containers redundant. Before long I had reached Dongala and got in contact with the Korean family I intended to stay with, in their guest house. When I called them, I discovered they were at their weekly Sunday church service, so I decided to go along and see what it was all about.
Standing in the last row, still dressed in all my motorcycle gear with a couple of my smaller bags on the empty seats beside me, I listened to the beautiful singing, thinking to myself that this is exactly like they show in the movies – it cannot get any better than this, as I am living my own movie.
It turned out I had a great couple of days with this family, walking around traditional villages and floating on the Nile on an old wooden boat. After a couple of days, I couldn’t decide wether to leave or to stay longer. I called the Ethiopian Embassy to confirm I could get a visa in one day. When they answered my phone call straight away and then told me I can easily get a visa in one day, I was ready to race down to Khartoum to sort it all out and be on my way to Ethiopia!
There are more photos from Sudan if you click here