I really enjoyed my time traveling overland through Sudan. After some up and down times in Ethiopia, Sudan was a welcome relief (which surprised all of us that were traveling together). Because of Sudan’s oil reserves and corresponding Chinese investment, things actually worked there.
Our overland truck took four days to drive through the desert from Khartoum to Wadi Halfi, where we were to catch the ferry to Egypt.
I was drinking a nice, cold glass of water last night with Lawrence of Arabia on the TV and thought back to these days in the Sudanese desert. It was incredibly beautiful. I cannot wait to go back and do some more desert travel (in fact, I have a trip in my head planned where I am going to cross the Sahara on camel back, perhaps in 2012).
The quiet. The stars and night. The vastness of the landscape. It is different from any other sort of terrain.
While I had a great time, I won’t be going back at the same time of year that I did it. We were there in July. Middle of the summer. It was hot. It was Africa hot (movie line reference, if anyone cares to guess). It was over 50 degrees Celsius every day, which was the highest our gauges went to.
As an American, I had to look that up. That’s 122 degrees for most of you reading out there. Yea. Hot.
So the absurd heat is one thing, but being in the shade almost the whole time helped that particular situation. What was unbearable was the water.
First, have you ever drunk water that is warmer than your body temperature? Not just a little water, but about a gallon and a half a day, which is about what you needed to drink in this heat, even in the shade…. and that is your only choice of liquid.
Second, the water we had on the first half of the trip was water we got out of the tap in Khatroum. Regular water, that we treated. We ran out of water in the desert and had to fill up our jerry cans on day three from a local well. That picture is the water we got out of the well.
The color was one thing, but the taste…. o’ my. It tasted like chalk. And also had a metallic edge to it. You know how you hear people say this or that was “the worst” or “the best” whatever in their life. Personally, I think most of those comments are pure hyperbole.
On the other hand, I can state conclusively this was the worst water I have ever drank in my life. Not sure I’ll ever be able to beat that dubious distinction.
But none of that was even the point of this post. I tore the meniscus in my left knee that day hauling the water out of the well. Later that night, my knee swelled up to about twice its normal size. Obviously, we didn’t have any ice to ice it down, so we just wrapped it up and I dealt with it.
When I get back to home about a year later, I finally went to the doctor. MRI. Yes, torn meniscus. Little surgery to clean it up (though I still get some pain in that knee still) and I’m good to go again.
Man, I paid dearly for that crappy water.