Pole to Pole
Day 73: Khartoum
On the way back we run into trouble. We have stopped in one of the featureless desert settlements that border the city. Our several minders have gone to buy drinks. Through the car window Basil photographs a beautiful robed figure against a background of drifting smoke. His camera is spotted and two or three men approach the car pointing and demanding the film. Basil refuses to hand it over. A crowd gathers and soon the atmosphere is as hot as the day itself. Arms stretch into the car in which we are sitting, fingers jab at the camera. Someone shouts to us not to get out of the car - as if we could. We are surrounded and people are banging on the roof. All the fuss is because they thought that Basil was snapping not a fine figure of a Sudani but the rubbish tip in the background. With a smart piece of sleight of hand Basil passes over to them an unexposed film.
We end up filming the least provocative thing we call think of - the point where the waters of the Blue and White Niles meet.
A group of pelicans bobs obligingly along the line where the waters merge, and, yes, it is possible to distinguish the different colours. The White Nile is clearly grey and the Blue Nile undoubtedly brown.
To bed, with another sandstorm howling into town.
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- Series: Pole to Pole
- Day: 73
- Country/sea: Sudan
- Place: Khartoum
- Book page no: 155
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