Sun 11 Apr
Easter Day on the banks of the Blue Nile; I'm happy and well. It's so lovely to have left all those francophone countries behind. I love Khartoum: hot, dusty, Arab, fresh fruit juice on every corner, and things work too: power, water supply, street cleaning, broadband cybercafés, pharmacies.... ok I'm going on a bit... Land Rovers too.
I'm camping at the sailing club, as I did on my previous visit to Khartoum. The gardens have greenish lawns, shady trees and overlook the Blue Nile; enjoying, if you're lucky, a refreshing breeze. It may well be Easter Day, holiest day in the Christian calendar, but in this Muslim dominated capital Government offices are open as usual. I “register” with the Department of Immigration and apply for the all important travel permit with the Departments of Humanitarian Affairs and National Security.
On the way back I pop into the Natural History Museum (admission free). Among the glass display cases are curiously featured a four legged chicken and an eight legged goat, whether these are freaks of nature or a taxidermist’s joke is not clear. More impressively is the fantastic collection of stuffed birds, a bit like a three-dimensional version of Collins’ "Birds of East Africa". Outside there are many caged snakes and lizards, two crocodiles, and a pen of giant tortoises.
Nearby, the Ethnological museum has an excellent, hollowed-wood Azande war-drum styled as a water buffalo plus good examples of jewellery and scale models of different sailing vessels
Mon 12 Apr
Easter Monday, it's a public holiday. Government offices are shut, which is frustrating if you're waiting for paperwork, and museums are closed too, which is annoying if you're a tourist. Still, it's 42C in the shade so I put my shorts on and sit around the sailing club reading. Late afternoon I'm treated to an exhilarating ride in a five seater hovercraft on the Nile(s), circumnavigating Tuti Island at sunset.