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Pole to Pole

Day 66: Atbara to Khartoum

Michael Palin - Pole to PoleThe room which I share with Basil has, like its occupants, seen better days. The washbasin sports hot and cold taps, but only cold water, and that flows into a basin covered in a thin, waxy layer of coagulated dirt. The beds are narrow and the linen grey enough for me to bring out my own sheet sleeping-bag.

Surrounding the room is a wide balcony with a couple of cane chairs, and it is from here, soon after 6.30 in the morning, that I look down onto a green and pleasant garden, in which a pair of security guards are fast asleep. They are not just asleep at their posts, they are asleep in their beds, at their posts.

Having packed my bags for the thirty-fifth time since the North Pole, I make my way to what is proudly signposted as the Dining-Room, and after a remarkably good breakfast, including porridge, we catch the bus to Khartoum. The bus is built onto a Bedford chassis, circa 1956, and richly decorated in bright primary colours like some 1960s hippy caravan. It is 'air conditioned', which means open at the sides.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Pole to Pole
  • Day: 66
  • Country/sea: Sudan
  • Place: Atbara
  • Book page no: 145

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