(Sudan) It is hot. Hot. Hot. HOT!!!

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I’ve heard that Sudanese is very kind. So, I expect no harassing. But it is not. Although people are very welcomed while I ask for tent, many street people are still very rude at me. Also, the weather is too hot ever that I can be exhausted very easily at the afternoon.

North Sudan

19th Oct 2013
Yesterday I crossed the border, but it was too hot. In the immigration they ask me to copy first and last page of my passport. When I went back to do it in Ethiopia, too many people cheated on me. Ew…
Anyway I got copies and gave them. They said I have to register address and give them my picture and pay 220 SDP (35 $). It is my first experience about registering address. Usually it needs letter of hotel. But they didn’t ask me and did all things by themselves. After finishing things on the border, one immigration guy guided me to hotel, because it was too dark to know by myself.
It was shocking thing that beds were at the outside. It looked like a refuge. It cost only 1$. I set up my tent at the opposite side, a police station.
The next day I go back around the border to eat something. Many Ethiopians cross the Sudanese border to work, because right now it is the holiday of Sudan.

 

North Sudan

While I eat local donuts, I find that I am the only woman. Muslim country looks different from others.

 

North Sudan

It is too hot and there is nothing to see. I get a headache. I think I am affected by the heat.

 

North Sudan

Unfortunately, I get a flat tire at the middle of the road. I do need gloves, because my tire is too hot that I feel like I am going to burn myself as touching a tube and tire. I try to find the thorn or something on a tire. But there is nothing on the tire. Later I find that it is damaged around a valve stem. I think it happens because of heat.

 

North Sudan

It is too hot to do anything that I don’t take many pictures.

 

North Sudan

At 5:30 pm I cycle into small village and find some small house. As I enter and greet to them, they give me water first without asking anything. What a hospitality! Actually I’ve heard from other cyclists that Sudanese are very hospitality. But today on the road I realize that a street people are not much different as other street African people. But when I face them personally now, it comes different way. They offer me a net bed that I set up my tent there.

 

North Sudan

This is their small kitchen. In the night I see very interesting thing that a woman roasts coffee beans and makes it ground. And then she boils it on the water. I didn’t see this one in Ethiopia that it is very nice thing to me. Later she makes pepper and ginger ground. And she boils it as well. Finally she mix all thing. It is spicy coffee.
Another interesting is their culture. One guy who can speak a little bit of English comes and talks to me. At moment, he says he has to go to the other side where men are gathering. He tells me that they eat separately. Men have to eat first. When men finish, then women and children can start to eat. Wow. Our old Korean culture was like this! Interesting!

 

North Sudan

North Sudan

North Sudan

They are enjoying being taken picture. The night is cooler that I love it. My headache gets much better.

 

North Sudan

North Sudan

20th Oct 2013

Typical Sudanese scenery

 

North Sudan

Cow with goats

 

North Sudan

Roundup

 

Sudanese food

I am hungry that I stop to have breakfast. It is Sudanese pot that there is boiling beans.

 

Sudanese food

Frankly speaking, I am disappointed at what I get. It is really………ew… I miss Ethiopian food. My breakfast is mashed beans, tomatoes and too much oil. What worse part is too many flies around restaurant. .

 

North Sudan

North Sudan

North Sudan

North Sudan

There are many camels. I am wondering they are moving house or just hang around? What are they carrying?

 

North Sudan

I want to stop for the hotel at the city, Quadarif to do laundry and have the rest. But it is expensive or rusty. Even the owner cheats the price to me, because I have different skin color. Many people shout at me while I look for the hotel. The angry part is a child kicks my rear bicycle bag during cycling. Are you crazy?? I could fall down, and next car squeeze me!!!!!!!!!! Oh….
Many people have told me that Sudan is good country for cycling. So, I expect only happy thing. But there are still much harassing. Oh.. Please…please.. don’t make me a devil.
I give up having hotel and am out of city. When I buy some bread, people tell me that I must not cycle now and wait until 5 pm, because it is too hot. Yes, I KNOW! But I don’t have choice that I have too much fear to cycle in the night.

 

North Sudan

The sun goes down. I am wondering where they are going. Farm? Or Factory?

 

North Sudan

North Sudan

I have to hurry, because the sun is going under the ground, and it will get soon dark. But it is too beautiful to keep going that I stop and look an amazing sun. Every day it is amazing to see the sun.

 

North Sudan

Today I get a place, thank to kind people. It is lovely that the night is cool!! Oh..

 

North Sudan

21st Oct 2013
It is the village I slept yesterday. When I got into the village yesterday, children shouted at me loudly that it was scary. Oh..please…
But morning is very quiet.

 

North Sudan

I start sweating a lot, though it is 8 am. I think the temperature is going up to 40 to 45 Celsius (104~114 Fahrenheit) at the afternoon. There is a beautiful bird that I try to follow to take a picture.

 

North Sudan

North Sudan

It is stunning!! I am so happy to see very beautiful bird.

 

North Sudan

But my happy feeling is ended soon, because one car almost hits me. I though he did it on purpose to steal my camera. But people on a 4*4 car just laugh. OH…MAN! You did for fun? You think it is fun? Are you crazy? I become too angry that I try to kick the car. But they go faster and faster to make fun of me. I try to do what I learned from Ethiopian, to throw a stone! But they are too far already. Oh…………..!!!!!!!!!!Bad guys. There are too many crazy bad guys on African street.
(The picture is not that car. I just take the picture of it, because there are too many people sitting on a truck. )

 

North Sudan

I can’t breathe well around 1 pm. The air is too hot or there are not much air?

 

Sudanese food

I find one restaurant. It is a goat! I want to eat beef, but it is not easy to have. I guess because a got is cheaper. There are too many flies ever that I feel disgusting.
A local people eat meal with their hands. I am wondering that why culture is not developed the way to use a fork or knife with this unhygienic condition.

 

North Sudan

A goat is being hung.

 

North Sudan

Around 2:30 pm I can’t move with too hot heat that I decide to have the rest. There is moisture in the bottle. It is just too hot. I can make a tea with my water without boiling.

 

North Sudan

I can’t believe that how people can have enough water in the semi-desert. Maybe it is because of Nile River? But the thing is they need pipe. Pipe is everywhere??
That colorful bottle on the picture is for the pray. They wash their head, face, hands and feet with that water. And they pray on the mat. (Only man, not woman at the outside)

 

North Sudan

It is very hot, but pot for boiling beans is keeping heating. Around 4 pm I start cycling. But it is still too hot.

 

North Sudan

I feel weird thing with my bike. I stop and take my rear wheel. What is going on???? Rear hub is unscrewed and shaken. What is the problem?

 

North Sudan

I started late 4 pm, and I spent my time to look my wheel. The dark will come soon.

 

North Sudan

It is too embarrassing that I am on the middle of the highway in the night. I’ve never been on the highway in the dark that I must calm down not to get panic. I am sure that if I cycle over 10 km (6.25 mi) more, than I can reach to a small village. But my bicycle is not working properly, and I am too afraid to cycle anymore. I try to hitchhike with my small flashlight. It is not easy to get a ride. There are only few cars, but I think they are afraid of me as well that they don’t stop for me, because it is too dark.
Later I get a lift by a kind local bus. I ask a driver to a police station. I show them my passport in a police station, and I set up my tent. There is no water that I can’t wash. Oh.. Water….GOLD! I’ve used to listen this word from people in Africa. “I can live without electricity, but I can’t live without water.”

 

North Sudan

22nd Oct 2013
I go to some bicycle shop. I ask him “Can you fix it?”
He says “YES”
(There is some person who translates.)
But when I see he tries to fix, totally he doesn’t know bicycle!!!
He spends whole morning that I sweat too much under the sun to keep watching. It is weird that he moves a hub’s nut to the center. I don’t know why he moves. It should be placed at the end of hub. Could I trust him? Oh.. I don’t have choice. Shaking rear wheel gets a bit better now.
My speed gear is not moved well after fixing it. So, I ask him tuning it up. He tries to tune up WITH AN WRENCH.
‘STOP!!! STOP!! STOP!! Don’t break my NEW rear derailleur!! It is not with wrench! But with small screw!!’
So I fix it myself. (I am not good at mechanic that it takes time and I sweat A LOT.)
Oh……man.. I am afraid about what he is done with my rear wheel. It could get worse, because he doesn’t know this bike well.

 

North Sudan

It is too hot that I buy water and small snacks. When I go to the restaurant to have lunch, one local guy is rude to me. So do I to him. Then we insult to each other with one word Oh..Oh… Who says Sudanese is good country for cycling? Maybe.. I am a solo woman. That’s why you harass me???

 

North Sudan

Is it traffic sign or what? How kind you are that you never use English. Another hard part in Sudan is I can’t communicate with people in any English. The worse is people don’t understand even the word of the toilet. Ethiopian who has unique their language even knows a toilet. Why not any English here?
(Later I heard that the government prohibited teaching English. So, elder people can speak English better than young people who never learned English. I think these days a child starts learning English again.)

 

North Sudan

It is desolate. Around 2 pm, I am exhausted again that I stop and stay under the tree.

 

North Sudan

The style of house is changed although the scenery is the same. Tribe is changed?

 

North Sudan

The sun is going down. I put up my tent at a small village without the problem. This house is a bit different that everybody has meal together. There is one soup in the center and much bread around it. People tear it and dip in a soup.

 

North Sudan

23rd Oct 2013
This is the place I set up tent.

 

North Sudan

North Sudan

North Sudan

Here are kind local people to me. Everybody has five children at least. I ask they have a hospital. The answer is “nope”. They give birth to a baby at home.

 

North Sudan

On the road I see some aerogenerator which is connected house. Is it working well?

 

Sudanese food

I go to have a meal not to cycle in the afternoon. It is quite cheap that it is only one dollar. Anyway I miss Ethiopian food which is very beautiful. I think Ethiopian food is the only one which is very unique and cultural in Africa countries I’ve been.
Today I don’t take any picture after it, because it is too hot to do anything.
I could sleep in a net bed as well in the night.

 

North Sudan

24th Oct 2013
There is some rides at the next to the bridge.

 

North Sudan

People have said that the Sudanese road is better. But I think it is not true. The road is just like other typical African road which is made by China. It means worse that there are much bumpy and holes. The annoying thing is car doesn’t share the road with me that they drive closed to me too much. I feel like I can be hit in a second. ….worse driver in Africa!!
When I pass a small village, children throw stone at me. Actually it is the second time in Sudan. I thought that Ethiopian is the only one nation who throws stone. But it seems there is another nation, Sudanese.

 

North Sudan

The worst thing happens to me. My rear hub which a local guy tried fixing is totally broken. It is cut at the middle. Man. It is totally his fault because he moved a nut to the center, which is not a necessary, I think.
I am too tired with people.
This is some of typical African (or undeveloped village) mechanic way.
1. They don’t know how to fix, but they say they can fix anything
2. They don’t have any proper tool.
3. They try to force. Not to with tool but with strength.
5. They don’t have skill and tool that it takes a lot to fix.
6. If it takes 30 minutes in a normal bicycle shop, they can do it for two to four hours.
7. Worse part is they don’t fix, but break.
8. The worst part is there is no choice. Only the thing I can do is crossing my fingers when I need them.

 

North Sudan

While I am despair, I see a water pot. It has been seen very often everywhere. I am wondering how they could have water easily. It is totally different from other African country I’ve been.

 

North Sudan

But the embarrassing thing is there is no cover. There are dusty and other things. But people don’t mind it, and just they drink it. I usually buy water not to be sick. So, these days I spend a lot of money on buying water.

 

North Sudan

Square Square

 

North Sudan

My rear tire touches brakes so that I release my brake. Then now it touches frame. What can I do?

 

North Sudan

It is too hot that I just sit and do nothing. One local guy asks me to take a picture.

 

North Sudan

Around 4 pm, I try to cycle again, but I can’t do it anymore. My rear wheel is shaken too much that I lose balance. It is totally broken. I pitch my tent again at the local people’s house. They are so kind to me that they try giving me water, juice and things. It is totally different between to face a street people and to face a local people at their house. I can have the chance to respect and learn when I am close to them.
People warn to me “Be careful Africa.” But as seeing picture, they sleep at the outside. It is never possible in Korea that people in Korea must lock the door all the time while they stay at home. It doesn’t matter the weather is too hot. Sometimes Africa is much safer.

 

North Sudan

25th Oct 2013
I’ve cycled over 500 km (312 mi) for six days in Sudan with extraordinary hot weather. One time around 2 pm, I was groggy. Maybe at that time I drank cold water which I bought at a grocery too fast? Being exhausted could come really easy. I couldn’t have any day off for 10 days since Ethiopia.
It is so sad that I have to hitchhike 100 km (62 mi) to the capital. I was closing to it by my bike. I could cycle it! But my bicycle doesn’t work. Oh… please.. don’t break yourself, lucky! I can’t buy gears and fix it properly. We are in typical Africa.
I am not sure I can find a rear hub for rear wheel in Khartoum. I wish everything is going well.


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9 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Oh. And for the heat…… Obviously take a break for 5-6 hours in mid-day. And I like to put my entire shirt in water, and then put it on my body. It would take an hour or two to dry out and I was relatively cool during that time.

  • I am a Canadian who lived for a year in rural Sudan (from August 2010 to July 2011) so I might be able to give you a few tips.

    It is a male dominated culture, but as a foreigner you are outside the system. So don’t worry about your gender too much.

    It is very important to ‘save face’ in their culture. So if you ask Sudanese to do something, they will always say “yes”. If you ask them if they can fix your bicycle, they will always say “yes”. However, there are very few bikes with derailleurs and gears in Sudan. So you might have trouble finding a good bicycle store.

    You need to be strong and act tough, but you also need to be polite. If they think that you are a strong, nice person, then they will respect you.

    Anger from foreigners is not good. Try hard not to get angry. I know that sometimes this is tough.

    When you want something, act like a guest in their country. This should be easy because you look foreign. Then, the Muslim social rules will take effect and they will be hospitable to you. Hospitality is a very important part of Islam so you can use it to your advantage. The prophet Mohammed traveled around a lot and so he commanded his followers to be hospitable to travelers.

    Khartoum is one of the safest cities in Africa! It is even safer than most cities in the United States. However, there have been riots and gang fighting in Khartoum recently. And, as always, avoid going around by yourself at night and avoid demonstrations.

    I used to love, love, love running in rural Sudan!!! The children always laughed at waved at me. Maybe you can try waving to the children when they call to you. I would yell to the children “Salem a-lee-koom” and they would respond “Wa-lee-koom O Salem”. This is a standard Muslim greeting, especially between adults, and it is very, very useful! In any muslim country this is good to know. It means “Peace to you” and “Peace back to you”.

    Or, to the children, you can just yell “Kafe?” (rhymes with “safe”). “Kafe” means “How”, as in “How are you?” (Really it should be “Kafe Halik”, but in Sudan they shorten it to just “Kafe”). It is an informal greeting. Or you can say “Taa-mum?” which means, “are things good?” This is also a good informal greeting.

    A good word to know is “Malesh” which means “sorry.” Whenever things get a bit uncomfortable, just say “Malesh” and walk backwards away from the situation.

    Another good word is “Moonkin” which means “Is it possible?”

    When you walk up to a house at night to sleep, loudly say “Salem a-lee-koom!” to the first person you see, or at the entrance to the house. They will say “Wa-lee-koom O Salem” back to you and then you started in the right way. Ideally, next you should said “Kafe?” The answer is “Coo-loo taa-mum” which means everything is good, or “Hum dil-le la” which means “thanks to God (everything is good).” Then you can say “Moonkin” and act out sleeping in their compound.

    If they say yes, then say “Shokran!” which means “Thank-you”. If they say no, just say “Coo-loo taa-mum” and smile before walking away.

    If you have any other questions, just let me know! You’re probably almost out of Sudan, but these words are very useful in the entire Muslim world!!

    • Hello Geoff,

      Thank you for tips. But it is not the only Sudandes problem. All of mechanics I’ve met in Africa said “YES” although they don’t know it.

      I do know what you mean about anger. But in reality I can’t do it ANYMORE. I am not a god or missionary that I can’t be good any more when they are rude at me. Specially I am tired of being harassed since long time ago. I treat people what I want to be treated. If people treat me badly, there is no reason to respect that person for now.

      People who have never done what I did will never can imagine or think how much I am being harassed and bothered on the road. It is really different story about moving as solo Asian woman . When I am with a man, they stop even greeting in all of Africa. Anyway, I guess I can never get a sympathy from people. I will be look very rude person, because I get angry with POOR black African people.

      Actually the best way it not to cycle any more in this continent. That’s Win-Win. I don’t need to get harassed thousands times per day. But I keep going. .. . I will hurt myself as I keep going. Silly traveling….

      I am still in Khartoum that your tip is helpful. I will remember Salem a-lee-koom,Wa-lee-koom O Salem,Kafe,Taa-mum,Malesh,Moonkin, Hum dil-le la,Shokran.

      Shokran,

      Jin

      • Hello Jin, I’m following you from Italy. I’m a good bike mechanic, I would like to be there to fix your “Lucky”.
        I wish you the best. Keep cycling and keep writing!

        • Hello there, Thank you for following me in Italy. Italy is my wish list to visit country. Now my lucky seems okay! Thanks! :)

          • Sounds nice!! I hope I get there next year! I have passion of Italy!!! I don’t know why I am excited when I think of Italy! See ya!

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