Sun 27 Mar
After teaching I pop home and then meet Mango Juice Girl for breakfast. We had planned to go to Elephant Island, up the Blue Nile somewhere, but when she made enquiries she heard of "couples" being turned away by the police; so we decide to go off to Tuti Island instead.
At the end of the ferry road we head north and take a track alongside a swollen irrigation channel, often in the shade of large trees; it's very pretty.
Towards the north end of the island we discover where the water is being pumped into the channel from the Nile. On our return route we stop to chat with some brick makers who give us tea and try to convince us it's OK to swim from their waterfront, but there's a steep mud bank so we decline. Not put off they offer to bring leaves to line the bank for us. Instead we take a horse drawn cart loaded with bricks till we reach a beach, further down the island.
Mango Juice Girl discards her long black eibiya revealing pink fake-leather trousers and a figure-hugging top and soon we're in the water and cooling off. The current is strong so there is no real chance of swimming. Minutes later an angry man in t-shirt and shorts is shouting at her and it is pretty obvious he thinks she should get out. From what I can gather other people around are protesting (to him) but she complies anyway; I'm angry but I certainly don't relish the idea of him calling the thought police. We wander back to the road and hail a rickshaw to take us to another beach. Having explained the "problem" she translates that he can take us to a private garden where we will not be disturbed. Sadly, swimming seems to have been forgotten, instead we while away the afternoon, happily relaxing on a borrowed mat, in the shade of a large mango tree.
Later, we walk back – past mango groves and fields along the Nile to the ferry. On the Omdurman side we continue along the Nile through the fish market up to Morador. The light is changing now and everything is looking beautiful. We get the bus home and find we have the flat to ourselves for another hour or so. I keep thinking of Lou Reed's Perfect Day but somehow the words don't really fit – could it be the wrong person? Or is it simply that we lacked "sangria in the park"?