It is hard to imagine that anything could adequately prepare you for a bicycle approach into the city of Khartoum – as an experience, it fell exactly between exhilarating and traumatic. We found ourselves racing to beat the setting sun as we approached the outskirts of the chaos, which ultimately turned out to be a race in which we were comprehensively beaten. Negotiating the traffic, potholes, herds of cattle and hordes of people without the aid of a single road sign was not the ideal way to close off a 130km day. As night fell, a chirpy tuktuk driver pulled alongside to have a good chuckle at our situation, before advising us to be ‘very careful’; which, without wanting to seem ungrateful for the inside information, did seem to be pointing out the glaringly obvious.
After overcoming the above, the city itself provided a much-needed and relatively comfortable rest stop. In some positive news, we secured our Ethiopian visa in record time, although this has been offset by the sad news that our i-pod has broken. It’s been a roller-coaster week.