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Pole to Pole

Day 71: Khartoum

Omdurman, Sudan 
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Omdurman: camel-shopping.
Michael Palin - Pole to PoleLater, and much against my better judgement, I'm lured into a game of squash with Noshir, an Indian working here in Khartoum. He is clearly used to playing in the heat, and is very understanding when I am reduced to a state of total collapse after less than ten minutes.

'It must have been about 100 degrees in there,' he says consolingly. May and June are the hottest months. His wife, he recalls, once left some eggs in the car by mistake and they were boiled when she came back.

He is happy in Khartoum. He sends his children to the local schools and thinks it is a good thing that they have to learn Arabic.

'It's nice out here, you don't have a drug problem, you don't have mindless violence, and the family gets together.'

On my way out of the Sudan Club I stop at the notice-board. There's a Disco Buffet on 4 October, an International Swimming Fun Day, a European Quiz Evening, even a Hallowe'en Fancy-Dress Ball. To the outside world Khartoum is the sluggish centre of a war-torn, famine-ridden country on the brink of economic collapse, but to those living here, the Noshirs and the Professor Woodruffs, it is, for better or worse, the centre of their world. For them, and even for me after half a week here, Khartoum ceases to feel remote or difficult, or dangerous. It is where we are. It is home.
Omdurman, Sudan 
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Omdurman: camel-shopping.
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  • Series: Pole to Pole
  • Day: 71
  • Country/sea: Sudan
  • Place: Khartoum
  • Book page no: 155

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