First, some pictures from Elephantine Island, an island in the middle of the Nile River at Aswan, just before the first cataract, where we stayed in a Nubian house for a few days in the shadow of the Mövenpick Hotel:
Then, a few pictures from Kitchener’s Island, another island just west of Elephantine, where Lord Kitchener had established a botanical garden back in the day. Kitchener had also overseen the building of the railroad—which we would later take to Khartoum—to supply the Anglo-Egyptian war against Sudanese independence. The gardens were slightly disheveled, and I was rather surprised to find the caretakers using basin irrigation, a practice in use in the area stretching back millenia. While it is great for row crops, it seemed rather out of place in a botanical garden.
The next few photos were taken from the ship we sailed in from the Aswan High Dam to Wadi Halfa. We had to wait pretty much the entire day on the ship in port, waiting for the longshoremen to load the ships. It was interesting to see what work on the docks must have looked like before mechanization.
We spent some time in Wadi Halfa before taking the train to Abu Hamed. There is an interesting history of Wadi Halfa here, but it is unfortunately out of date. While the town was obviously ecnomically depressed, it was not nearly as bad as mentioned in this article from 1996. This is the only picture I took in Wadi Halfa, a shot from a qahua with a Mexican wrestling poster (Rey Mysterio) among the shisha pipes.
Our train derailed in the middle of the desert en route to Abu Hamed, and we were stuck there overnight without water until an engine arrived to take us back to Wadi Halfa (the derailed car—the sleeping car, in fact—was at the front of the train, so we were only able to go backward on the single-track road. Here are some pictures from the site of the derailment. Be sure to read the comments for more info.
Once we finally arrived in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum days later, I had gotten a cold and wasn’t going out, so I don’t have many pictures from there. Beyond that, I was rather wary of taking pictures in Sudan, as one is supposed to get a permit from the Department of Wildlife to take pictures in public. One picture I really wish I had gotten was of the kids coming out of school across the street from the Khartoum American School, where our couch-surfing host works. The kids were all dressed in bright green and black camouflage uniforms, prompting Adrienne to ask, “What do they think they’re camouflaging themselves in?” To which I responded, “Well, they’d blend right in in a vat of mint-chip ice cream.” But alas, no pictures of that. Instead, we decided to take pictures of the remnants of Lord Kitchener’s army when it build the railroad through the desert, rather than taking the artifacts themselves back with us.