Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Back in time in Sudan

When we arrived in the small town of Sawakin in Sudan we had the impression of having travelled back in time a couple of centuries for the people in this place sitting along the shore of the Red Sea live in what we would call “traditional” ways. We couldn’t say much about the rest of Sudan since Sawakin was the only stop we would make in this country and only for a couple of days, which is almost a shame but time being limited and the Red Sea having huge distances to cross we couldn’t afford to stay longer. Nevertheless, we still had time to go wander in the streets and the market to get some bread and other staple food we could find while walking between donkeys and camels used for carrying stuff around town. By the way, the flat pita bread they have here is the best we found so far. Probably cooked directly on a hot stone it tastes good and is dirt cheap which are the only two things you really want to know about it anyway. Details about the cooking, storage and transport are probably better left unknown! Of course as it would be expected in a remote place like this people don’t really speak English but are extremely patient and welcoming. In the market we took a few pictures and one of the merchant asked us for a printed copy of the picture. Having a digital camera it was hard to explain that we don’t print the pictures but keep them only on the computer. But back to the boat we remembered that we still had a few sheets of photo paper and printed four pictures and went back the next morning to give them to the people on the pictures. They were very pleased by this gesture but like it is the case in this part of the world they expressed their gratitude very quietly; a characteristic we started noticing in South-East Asia and which prevails up to here.

This picture shows what we would call the “Central City Water Facilities”. I could go on with sarcastic comments about the infrastructures of this town and the way they live but this would be disrespectful for this little community whose peoples try to make the best of what they have. Yes, water is carried by donkey carts and market goods sold on stalls made of a few planks or palm baskets but what can we expect in a country made of sand and shredded by years of civil war? From what we heard and saw Sudan is now politically stable and plan to split into two countries by next July or so. But this really seems remote events in the calm and peaceful town of Sawakin