The next day I taught my 3rd years for a whopping 50 minutes - 50 MINUTES OF FUN - before hopping on a bus into town to meet The Hat for a sandwich-based lunch, which mostly ended up in my hair. To hide my shame, I scampered off to Waha (the mall in Souk Arabi) to attempt to buy something not awful for the American embassy party. Buying clothes here is something of a challenge. The market stuff looks a little....will-fall-apart-after-5-minutes-of-sitting-in-it-quietly, and the clothes in actual shops are a bit this-very-average-thing-costs-half-my-monthly-salary. I was lucky in that I found some denim short shorts (WHY ARE THESE EVEN ON SALE IN SUDAN?! ...IT'S SUDAN) for only a casual third of my monthly salary. SCORE. Who needs food anyway?
In the afternoon, I had the honour of visiting The Lovely American Girls at their new place in Manchea. They now have an apartment literally on the site of their new university, which is interesting. Many student types milling about. Check out their memorial to me in their living room (note: I'm not dead, I just moved out). Awesome.
In the evening, The Hat popped over to put on his gladrags and fake eyelashes (even hats must accessorise) with The Tedious Englishman and I, in preparation for round two at the American embassy. Obviously, we got totally shit-faced on water (ladz ladz ladz), and then, after one sneaky mid-amjad long skirt to shorts outfit change and half a tension-filled game of alphabetic country-naming, we made our glorious arrival into a bizarre bubble of 30SDG drinks, bad music and burgers. I love you America.
The standard drinking, dancing and SVP based almost-dramas ensued, although it was getting home that was the most fun. The Tedious Englishman was leading the way with the less intoxicated half of The Omdurman Ladz, whilst I followed behind, literally holding The Hat up because he had forgotten how to walk in straight lines, when an Irish woman and her Sudanese husband pulled up next to us and offered us a lift. There was in no way sufficient room, so I threw The Hat in, and lay across the gang in the back, with my drunken head cradled by the mysterious Irish woman. THERE WAS SO MUCH SINGING and angry potato-famine curses.
Eventually, we made it to our road, where The Hat promptly announced (or in fact, mumbled) that his trousers were falling down. Never again will I try and help an Englishman in need. Look what happened to my knee in the process. Jank - but colourful.
The whole SVP crew was invited on a Nile cruise the next day by a friendly Sudanese chap, which was very nice. As with all things, it began with a very crowded amjad ride, complete with Overcrowded Amjad Selfie - see below. It also gave us an opportunity to meet the latest volunteer - The Kentish Lass. Wonderfully for me, she comes from very near where I live at home. BIG UP THE KENT MASSIVE. Or something. Do people still say that? Anyway, what's important is that, as you can see from the picture on the right, she out-hatted The Hat. Such good form.
In the afternoon, The Tedious Englishman and I headed into Souk Arabi to get to Omdurman Souk for two reasons. 1) To find Sudanese national football t-shirts. 2) To buy a rabbit. We succeeded in one of these. BUT FIRST, a tiny wander around Souk Arabi. Check out this guy on the left, making sugarcane juice with a crazy pencil-sharpening-like machine. It looked like butterbeer and tasted like freezing sugar-water. Best drink ever? YES. I admired this other chappy for his many bananas. Not really sure why he's resting his foot so near them though.
Back to the rabbit-narrative. To the back alley we went. Almost immediately we came upon cages and cages full of animals, mainly birds, and then - rabbits. Many rabbits. Too many rabbits, stuffed in tiny cages, panting in the heat. It was fucking horrible. The first guy we went to asked for 200 SDG for one (around £18). The next guy wanted just 35 SDG. I looked into the cage of tiny miserable things and one little head perked up, and ambled over his fellow rabbit-mates to see what was going on. Without meaning to get weird and poetic, it was like...HE CHOSE LIFE. So I chose him.
Mr. Rabbit-Keeper/Murderer then opened the cage, at which point one rabbit actually fell out because there were so many of them in there, and grabbed my chosen one...by the head. He then handed it to a small boy....by the head. Thankfully, The Tedious Englishman was very good at springing into action and gestured frantically that we did not want him killed (Mr. Rabbit-Keeper/Murderer was literally brandishing a knife at the time and the boy holding my rabbit looked like he was going to strangle him at any moment). I handed over the money, took my box full of shaking rabbit, and have never wanted to get the fuck out of anywhere so quickly. Unfortunately, we were in Sudan. You can't really get the fuck out of anywhere here quickly.
So, into a rickshaw we went, and crawled through the traffic, madness and oppressive heat of Omdurman. The one good thing about this was that we were moving so slowly, that The Tedious Englishman was able to lean out of the moving rickshaw and buy some mint for the rabbit from a boy on the street. Two buses, one rickshaw and many strange looks later, we finally got the shaking bundle home. Meet Jefferson Rabbit.
See you next week for more Sudanese shenanigans, including Nuba wrestling (watching, not participating - I'm too good so I'm not allowed to play). Oh, and if anyone knows of anywhere in Khartoum where I can watch the Oxford/Cambridge boat race on Sunday, LET ME KNOW. Anyone supporting Oxford - No. Just No.
Oh - in case you thought we'd forsaken the family frogs now that we have a rabbit, THINK AGAIN. This week, The Tedious Englishman poured water on David Wolton Junior's head to say thank you for eating several insects in the house, and later he rescued a frog that had got tangled up in some of, what I assume was my, hair, and could no longer move. So that's erm, great.
Love, sand and tears,