First sights of Khartoum. Getting off the plane having touched down for my first time in Africa let alone in a country such as Sudan. I was the only foreigner in the airport and I was pretty sure no one else spoke English. It was pretty overwhelming. I was tired after the long plane trip and getting through immigration was a little scary. I had a letter and contacts for my school but it wasn’t like my phone was working! I had been told to have $100 USD with me at immigration for my temporary visa and that someone from the school would be there to help me. They weren’t right away and the immigration “officer” didn’t speak much English. Fortunately it’s a “small” country— I came to learn this later— and somebody called somebody and then somebody else appeared to help me through the process. This was my first lesson in relying on the kindness of strangers and blind trust!
The marketplace or souq is the place to be. It was exciting and daunting to shop there. Our driver from school , Ali, was proud to show us around and help us negotiate. I bought a tobe, traditional Sudanese dress, which is essentially several yards of fabric that I’ll later learn to wear.
We ventured across the street to the Hotel Regency— not a bad hotel from what I could tell, we just wanted some sun by a pool. Little did we know the spectacle we would cause lying out there in shorts GASP. WE WERE FOREIGNERS, (khawaja) and had lots of guys who suddenly needed to take a little stroll out to the pool area. When I say pool area I mean AstroTurf, a few lawn chairs and a tiny pool all situated outside the glass doors of the lobby sitting area. We were too naive at this time to realize how awkward this would be! On the flip side we did see some cool hookah pipes!