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Pole to Pole

Day 70: Khartoum

Michael Palin - Pole to PoleHassan Kika and the Eritreans appear to have saved our bacon. They say that they can let us have the vehicles we want by the weekend. They estimate it will take us about three days to drive from Khartoum to Gondar in Ethiopia.

Back to the hotel, much relieved, only to have my enthusiasm dampened by an English couple who have just spent five weeks in custody in Eritrea after their yacht strayed into a restricted area. They were not treated well. There had been some 'physical stuff' and no legal representation. 'And don't believe any estimate of time they give you.'

The couple, who are on their way back home, have with them a white parrot called Gnasher, who is a Category B protected species, so all sorts of export licences are required. They now have the paperwork but Air France will only take him in a special box, which they are having made at the moment. Meanwhile Gnasher is getting very twitchy and nibbling at anything he can find.

'I've already had to pay for two pairs of curtains he's eaten in Asmara,' says his lady owner resignedly.

Never a dull moment in the Khartoum Hilton. And it's British night tonight in the buffet.
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  • Series: Pole to Pole
  • Day: 70
  • Country/sea: Sudan
  • Place: Khartoum
  • Book page no: 152

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