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Published: February 22nd 2012
After waking up in Abri, we found our minibus to Dongola. This was a fairly tight squeeze all the way but the road was brilliant again, so the journey wasn't too bad and took only about 3 hours, which was a lot less than we had expected. We checked into the Lord Hotel, which was another lokanda.
Dongola was a much bigger and busier town than the previous two we had been in so far in Sudan. However, there is not a whole lot of interest in the town. We hadn't registered yet, something you are required to do within three days of arrival in Sudan. It was just as well that there was not much to do in Dongola, because the process of registration took up most of our afternoon and a much bigger chunk of our Sudanese Pounds than expected.
At the police station, we were passed back and forth between three different offices, filling out forms and photocopying our passports. The last guy then told us we had to pay 171 SDG which was about twice as much as I thought it would be. The Visa had cost half what I had thought it would be,
so maybe this was where they were making up the difference.
It was early evening by the time we finished at the police station with another page on our passports taken up to say we had registered. As we left, a policeman at the gate also checked our passports to see we had the sticker. I have started to think that all these hoops you have to go through are created purely for the purpose of giving the police something to do. We also had to get a form filled out to say where we were staying.
We later found an internet cafe, but it was closed. However, some guy helped us out and told us to wait. He went to wake up the owner who had apparently gone for a nap. We got some dinner later on at the restaurant beside our hotel. We got some fish which had been taken from the Nile and was actually delicious. We had hoped to find some shisha, but couldnt find any. We then got talking to a Sudanese guy, with very good English, who told us that the government had banned shisha from public places because they were afraid
of people doing drugs in them. So having managed to cope with alcohol being forbidden, we now had to go on without shisha and make do with tea. Not surprisingly, the town was very quiet come night time and this was their weekend. It's hard to see how people socialise in places like this at all.
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