Saturday, 10 December 2011

The Ship of Poo

TWe had met some great people and had some lovely times in Egypt but were more than ready to move on. Leaving egypt was difficult. Since the beginning of the journey we have been  delayed many times. This time the departure that would have taken us to sudan was blocked by a combination of corrupt officials, cultural laziness and a decrepit transport system that also worked against the foreign traveler. Especially the english foreign traveler. In the end we were delayed in Aswan for 2 weeks and only managed to get tickets for the ferry to Sudan because a group of us started calling our embassies. We spent our time hassling the ferry manager, the ticky Mr: Salah, and hung out with some lovely folk on their way north, Mary and Brett and the two Richards, this is us on a cruise on the Nile to Kitcheners Island.

We were due to leave Aswan on mon 28th . Milo would sail on the barge on the 29th. The ferry crossing was supposed to take 18 hours, milo's barge should take 36 hours. All in all we should be reunited in Sudan and be on our way by thursday. . . . . .
We had only seen photo's of the ferry on the tricky mr. salah's (nile ferries ticket manager) website, the reality was for me (dee) like one of those moments in a horror film where everything  is viewed down a
dark tunnel.  The ferry is known as the ship of poo.  The group we were travelling with
Roberto and Memmo (2 italian social  entrepeneurs), Igor and Johannes (2 german bikers), Julian and Victoria (2 german adventurers) and Mick (an australian dragoman driver that had been
separated from his passengers due to all the delays).
 Before leaving the UK I had read what I now believe to be some nutter's blog, that the ferry was a real opportunity to ´"engage with the sudanese people and if you had the chance you should
sleep on deck . . . Chat . . . Look at the stars"  yeah right. Getting on to the ferry was like being in the january sales from hell. Cramming on to the tiny walkway the sudanese carried boxes with tv's, fridges and bags of cement.

The ship was divided up into first and  second class as we hadn't been able to get a cabin we were deemed second class but were allowed to sit upstairs in the 'dining' room. Good job as the smell from down stairs was stomach churning. The dining room filled up with people who proceeded to eat smoke cheap fags shout. They were friendly and after james told then i was ill they offered up a corner table for me to slouch on. We had been on the boat 4 hours when finally it started the 18 hour trip to wadi halfi, one of the other over landers had got a double cabin, he didn't want me to share as he didn't want to catch what i had but he did let me put my bag in the spare bunk. James was a star, he told the captain i was ill and managed to get me a bit of space on the deck to sleep. So wrapped in my sleeping bag i lay on the deck and about every 2 hours made a rather tortuous journey down into the bottom of the boat to the toilet.

I dont think i can find the words to describe the toilet. It was a stand up affair with a tap in the bit you stood in. The tap was broken so your feet and trousers got soaked with stuff from ladies who had missed the poo hole. I had terrible shits and over the 18 hour journey i got pretty weak so my aim got worse. Lets just say i owe a lot to tesco's wet wipes.
 Arriving in wadi halfa  we had the same joy of getting off the ferry as we did getting on.   A short ride in a dodgy landrover later and we were in the 'town' after a bit of a look round we managed to get a
room with our italian friends roberto and memmo.

  We were stuck in wadi halfa for a week waiting for Milo to show up, over the week our behaviour amused our Italian room mates especially when we decided to put our tent up in the room to keep the mossies off.

   Eventually we got milo back and we set offfollowing the old railway tracks through the deserts of Sudan.
This was just the best ever. The drive was spleniferous, James was supersonic getting us over serious sand pistes. By the end we were covered in so much dust we looked like aboriginies. We wild camped in the most beatiful place, no one else around for 100´s of k´s.

We did this right through the desert, ending up camping by the Merow pyrimids and next to the Lion Temples before heading into Khartoum.

We spent the first night in the rather dodgy Blue Nile Sailing Club campsite but then caught up with our German friends and moved to the grandly titled National Residence Campsite. Yesterday we went watch the sufi ceremony at the Mahdi´s tomb, full on singing and whirling dervishes.

It was bloody great.
Sudan has been a wonderful country, the people are amazingly friendly and are a relief after the hastle of Egypt. Tomorrow we start our journey from here and head towards Ethiopia, we should be there by Wednesday.

Much love to you all but mostly to Fish XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX


  1. Glad to hear you are both ok, Sudan sounds fantastic although the ferry sounds a nightmare. Keep up with the adventure diary its great to see what you are up to and that you are ok. Love to both Seh xxx

  2. Was starting to get a bit twitchy for news so really pleased for the update. Poor you Dee with the trots but on the upside you will probably be a size 6 by the time you get back! Love seeing your photos and being able to picture you both there. Take care of yourselves much love Fi & the Cubs xx

  3. Happy Birthday Mr West, big hugs on your birthday, love from us both xxxx

  4. Happy birthday dear James. We hope you had a good one. we had a drink for you!!xxx
    Poo hell sounded horrific!!! Thank god for baby wipes eh!!!

    I am never going to Egypt!!!!! Way too much poo for me.

    Lots of love to you both.

    Soo and chris xxxxxxxxxxxx