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Pole to Pole

Day 70: Khartoum

Omdurman, Sudan 
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Life in Omdurman: buying and selling in the souk.
Michael Palin - Pole to PoleThere may be a way out of our predicament. Clem has made contact with a group of Eritreans who are experienced at cross-border transport. Where, when and whether they'll take us will depend on a meeting later today. Meanwhile we go to film in Omdurman, across the Nile.

The British never bothered to incorporate Omdurman into their new plan for Khartoum and it remains very much an African city, without high-rise buildings or great monuments.

In the souk - the market - there is every small item one might want. These are essentials, not luxury goods. Spices, oil (for cooking and lighting), piles of metal buckets, cooking utensils, cloth, cottons and food - bananas, limes, lemons, mangoes, dates, onions, huge bowls piled high with nuts.

On one side of an open area a line of men are sitting crosslegged on the ground. Each one has the tools of his trade arranged neatly in front of him. One has a short spade on a bridge of bricks, another a light bulb on top of a tool bag, another a bag of paint-brushes with a plasterer's trowel on top. They are waiting to be hired for work and seem to be quite placid and patient until we raise the camera, when all hell breaks loose. A man with a pickaxe gestures at my head so graphically that I automatically shield myself. He smiles broadly at this, thank God.
Omdurman, Sudan 
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Life in Omdurman: buying and selling in the souk.
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  • Series: Pole to Pole
  • Day: 70
  • Country/sea: Sudan
  • Place: Khartoum
  • Book page no: 150

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