Getting out of Sudan (finally)
I love Sudan. I left Sudan.
This blog is a little premature as I actually wrote it on Wednesday March 29th and hoped to cross the border into Eritrea on Thursday 30th. So that would have been yesterday for those of you who got the Friday Blog notice on Facebook, Twitter or by email.
I finally got the Eritrean visa and I'm aiming at crossing the land border. These days there aren't many Europeans or Westerners that can say that. Perhaps none at all. It has been slightly frustrating to be in Sudan throughout this entire process as the Sudanese find it hard to relate to: "What's the problem? Why don't you just go to Eritrea?" As it turns out the Sudanese can travel to Eritrea with the greatest ease. I can't say the same for me. Anyway; I'll update you all on Eritrea in next weeks blog (I hope) and I'll round up this one shortly.
I just wanted to tell you that I owe so many so much. If I was to thank everyone then it would be to comprehensive. As an example I met Dafalla who is one of the boys here in Khartoum. He is a friend of both Hatem and Marwan, whom I've introduced several times earlier.
Last Friday Bkry, Mohammed, Marwan, Dafalla and I went to experience Dirwish Dancing. Spectacular!
He's also a good friend of the groom (Abdallah) from the wedding I attended. Dafalla told me to come by his workplace at the NTC Tower (National Tele Communication Tower). It's the tallest building in all of Sudan, and it towers 106 meters (347 ft) and Dafalla works on the 18th floor.
Don't tell me they didn't know what this looked like before it was erected? ;)
I arrived and had a cup of tea with Dafalla and the 3 beautiful ladies in his office. Afterwards Dafalla wanted to know if I wanted to see the view from the roof? Did I ever?!? Absolutely!!! So we headed further up. Then he told me to follow him and I did. We then arrived at the bottom of the antenna which towers above the building. And then we started to climb that too!! Eventually I reached the very top. Not just of the building, but Khartoum!! And pretty much the worlds 15th largest country too! Although if you count Sudans towering mountains then I didn't :)
Dafalla at the top of Khartoum.
Yours truly at the top of the NTC Tower :)
Great stuff. For whatever reason I've always enjoyed getting up high. Airplanes, trees, mountains...anything really. I call it my "ladybug gene".
The southern view over the Blue Nile from the NTC Tower.
And now to the finale! Once I exit Sudan I will receive an exit stamp in my passport. This means I can't get back into Sudan without a new visa. And Sudan does lie right in between Eritrea and Egypt. I thought it would be clever to have an Egyptian visa in advance in case I needed to prove to immigration that I had intentions of leaving Eritrea. Also in order to apply for a transit visa through Sudan. I actually had an Egyptian visa, but it expired after a month. So I went back to the Egyptian consulate to apply for a new one. The guy behind the window had a hard time understanding why I needed a visa and why I couldn't just get it in arrival in the airport. Yeah...I hear airport, airport, airport quite frequently. Eventually he gave in and took my application and money. He then told me to come back at 3pm.
The Egyptian consulate in Khartoum.
The consulate is only open between 10-11am for foreigners. So I've been having a hard time getting there on time as all my appointments with the Eritrean embassy have been at 10am. I then came back at 3pm like instructed while hoping to collect my passport and my visa. But what I found was a long line of people waiting. It was 37 degrees Celsius (98.6 Fahrenheit) and they had us waiting 90 minutes before someone came out and told us to come back the following day. No good for me as I was planing on leaving early towards Eritrea. So I told them that I needed my passport. Then suddenly I was told that I could get my visa immediately. I just had to fill out some extra paperwork. So I filled it out. The next thing I knew was that I was handed my application back along with my money? And then I was told that I couldn't apply again until after a month!
The pointless queue in the unbearable heat. Thank you.
Great Egypt? But not to worry. I have a plan for solving that. Have a great weekend everyone ;)
Mr. Torbjørn C. Pedersen (Thor) - with a plan ;)
"A stranger is a friend you've never met before"
ONCE UPON A SAGA