MON, 09 APR
Decide to look for the Temples of AMARA as mentioned on the map. Pass
a police station and walk towards the river. The old village must have
been quite close to the palmtrees along the river. All the buildings deserted,
without roofs and walls dissolved by floods. Walk through gardens. Reach
some rocks in the river and take a swim. The current is quite strong.
Proceed to the north. The village is very long. Can't reach the end. Cross
the new village, stretched out a few hundred meters far inwards the desert.
Walk up a small hill and overlook the area. Children spot me and wave.
After some time they come closer and two boys shake my hand. Very shy
children. Elder children come and a young man. He invites me to his house.
His father is sleeping on the veranda. The yard and the veranda are really
empty spaces. On the veranda only three beds and a carpet. Plain walls.
Get some tea. Nobody speaks english. Children are very curious about me
and come into the yard.
Long way back. A driver gives me a lift half way. Get back when it is
already dark. Visite the restaurant and the chai shop. Smoke a water pipe.
Crowds of men gather around and ask me questions about money in Austria,
about marriage and the camera. Back at the hotel a security man checks
my documents and writes the datas in a school book. TV in the yard is
on until 24:00.
TUE, 10 APR
Very small insects under the net. A dozen really small creatures. Squeeze
some of them. Red liquid ? Hotel seems to be deserted. Just the man I
have seen sitting in the wheat field in Amara yesterday. The one who invited
me into his house was working on the field. Now is wheat harvest here.
The habob (duststorm) is good for that, people say.
Visit the chai shop. Talk to the customers. Have to. The owner is 50 years
old, he says, and he will leave for Khartoum today. Bus/truck in front
of the chai shop. Loading activities. Piles of sacks filled with fulbeans
or wheat on top of the vehicle.
Chai shop. The kettles are put on wood fire. There is always some smoke
in the room. Charcoal is better for waterpipe than pieces of glowing firewood.
Meet the young man from Kordofan, who is working in a bakery. He came
here because his uncle, who was already here, told him to come. His salary
in the bakery was 1000,00 - 1500,00 pounds (4,00 - 6,00 $) per night.
About 10 hours. Recently a new bakery opened, operating with electricity
and machines. The owner of the bakery he works has low sales now and pays
only 500,00 (2$) a day. This money he spends for food, tea, cigarettes,
accomodation. He can´t save any money. And he can´t go nowhere.
The ticket to Khartum costs 40000,00 (16$). To go to Egypt or any close
foreign country will cost much more. Very difficult, indeed very bad situation
here, he says.
Walk towards the south. Fields. Harvest. Wheat. Donkeys on the harvested
spaces. Houses destroyed by floods. Palm trees. Three men sitting in the
shadow of a wall. They adress me in english and invite me for tea. They
ask a lot of questions. Leave. Pass an old two storey high building. Women
invite me to have a look at it. Quite pleasant company. Doesn't last long
and three men come along and take me to the river. Between the palmtrees
and the river a wide section of fields. The ferry passes. One of my companions
invites me for dinner in the house of his sister. Excuse myself and proceed.
Huge sandbank in the near. Stay there and take a swim. Strong wind. Blows
the sand over the bank. On the other side of the river just a very poor
band of palm trees, only a few meters wide and then the golden sands of
the desert. In the south of the sandbank the island SAI is located. Proceed
through palm tree gardens until a place the ferry takes off to the island
and then walk inwards the country. Stay a short time at the same men still
sitting in the shadow of a house. The big cliff in the distance. A lonly
palmtree in the desert. Walk along an artificial channel back to Abri.
Only one restaurant open. Rest at the hotel. Smoke a waterpipe there.
The receptionist gets it from a nearby chai shop.
Visit a chai shop in a sideroad when it gets dark. Rather quiet. Only
two men, talking moderate. Traditional music from a ghettoblaster. At
most of the chai shops I am already known and of course heavily questioned
about Austria. Everybody wants to go there.
Doesn't last long. Someone spots me there and takes me to the chai shop
on the main street. More than ten men hang around and ask me so many questions
until I am exhausted and leave for the hotel. TV program in the yard until
24:00. Some nuts even knock on my door.
WED, 11 APR
THU, 12 APR
Foreigners in the village. Marc has come yesterday night. The receptionist
shows me his book. Before I can wash my face the security man knocks on
the door and wants me to see his chief. Shall bring the camera with me.
Go there after some time. Spacy office. Mr security checks all my papers
and wants to see the film from the beginning. Show the film. Shots from
coming down the cliff in the desert and walking through palm tree gardens
near the island SAI. Meet Marc. He has to take the bus to Khartoum today,
otherwise he will miss his flight. He was in Delgo and in Wawat where
the temple of SOLEB is located. Meet two other travelers. Young canadian
and a man from New Zealand. He seems to be traveling a long time. All
the zips of his backpack are broken. He has to wait at the security office.
The visa is expired. Later on they leave for the island SAI. Carrying
all the luggage. Find out that there is transport to SAI at 13:30. Stay
at a kiosk like chai shop next to the car parking. A Land Rover leaves
for the ferry. The travellers are already on bord. Have to wait about
an hour. Myriads of small insects flying into eye corners, nose, ear,
mouth. Very awsome. Terror. All passengers heads in a cloud of these beasts.
Finally taking off.
The island is some square km big. Inside desert, one hill. Rocks on the
riverside and the temple. Very beautiful stones. Bigger clay buildings
around the temple site. Looks like a fortress. Next to it a building that
housed the archeologists. An old man comes along and wants some money.
He shows me some tombs in the desert. He is rather unfriendly but curious.
Walk back. Pass a pump station and a deep well. Have to hurry, the boat
supposed to go back at 15:30. Get there at 15:50. Ferry has already taken
off, but returns and takes me on bord. Walk back together with the engineer.
Later we split. I am totally exhausted and have to rest several times.
Stay under a palm tree, a man invites me to his house.