Hitchhiker in South Sudan

Sudan. The country is a traveler’s dream, where every traveler receives shelter and a hearty dinner in all the populated areas, where people do not hurry and never shout … That’s how Sudan’s Anton Krotov painted and that’s what Dima saw in his dreams. This country did not appear in any form in the list of my ambitious dreams, but the interest it aroused, made conscious by Krotov’s books , was certainly there. For us, Sudan started in Cairo, from the very moment we learned that a visa for a dream country costs $ 100. I spoke to the consul and the ambassador of Sudan in the hope of obtaining visas, if not free, with at least 50% discount, but they all told me with one voice that it was impossible under any circumstances, even though I was president of Russia.

We had $ 266 for two and a little bit of Egyptian money, so the choice was to go to the top and give everything to get a visa, or to go back to Nuebe and, just as they were entering Egypt, they were ferried to Syria. . It would have cost us 150 dollars for two people and the rest of the money would be enough to return to Russia, since the Syrian and Turkish visas cost 20 dollars each and the transit in Georgian, usually about 6 dollars, without forgetting Azerbaijan without visa and hospitable; This is the question: if, in November, in Turkey, we sometimes had to walk to the feet in the snow, then in January, wearing sneakers and wearing light windbreaks, would we live in the mountains? There was another option to go to Libya and continue the journey along the Mediterranean coast, but Libya is a country I knew for sure. that it is Arab and that the Arabs of us have already drunk so much blood that we wanted to quickly leave the territories they occupied. Our choice was therefore Sudan. To live without money, we got used to it and, moreover, to come to Africa and not to roam the savannah, it seemed to us a real blasphemy and the way through Libya practically excluded the possibility of falling into Central Africa. The last evidence of the fidelity of the chosen path was a small solitary sticker affixed to the Sudanese Embassy visa door, with the words ” Cast Iron Hurricane “, which represented a black motorcycle under which Russian little letters were written in Novosibirsk. And since we were born and raised in this city thousands of kilometers from Egypt, we considered it a good sign and, after having prepared the necessary documents, every two days, with new Sudanese visas decorated with holographic stickers, they moved away from Cairo, disgusting, towards the south. When we arrived in Aswan on Sunday morning, we discovered that the only way to get to Sudan is to buy tickets for the ferry, which only runs on Monday. All hydrostop opportunities were gone, as it was on the ferry stamps were put in the passport. Land borders have been officially closed. The cheapest ferry ticket cost about $ 65. When I was at the box office trying to find out if it was possible to refuse any service and food on board, in order to reduce ticket prices, I betrayed our lack of money. Even without food, the tickets that we could not afford, so I asked the head of the office directly: We left wounded Cairo heading south. When we arrived in Aswan on Sunday morning, we discovered that the only way to get to Sudan is to buy tickets for the ferry, which only runs on Monday. All the hydrostop opportunities disappeared because it was on the ferry that the stamps were put in the passport. Land borders have been officially closed. The cheapest ferry ticket cost about $ 65. When I was at the box office trying to find out if it was possible to refuse any service and food on board to reduce ticket prices, I betrayed our lack of money. Even without food, the tickets that we could not afford, so I asked the head of the office directly: We left wounded Cairo heading south. When we arrived in Aswan on Sunday morning, we discovered that the only way to get to Sudan is to buy tickets for the ferry, which only runs on Monday. All the hydrostop opportunities disappeared because it was on the ferry that the stamps were put in the passport. Land borders have been officially closed. The cheapest ferry ticket cost about $ 65. When I was at the box office trying to find out if it was possible to refuse any service and food on board to reduce ticket prices, I betrayed our lack of money. Even without food, the tickets that we could not afford, so I asked the head of the office directly: it only works on Mondays. All the hydrostop opportunities disappeared because it was on the ferry that the stamps were put in the passport. Land borders have been officially closed. The cheapest ferry ticket cost about $ 65. When I was at the box office trying to find out if it was possible to refuse any service and food on board to reduce ticket prices, I betrayed our lack of money. Even without food, the tickets that we could not afford, so I asked the head of the office directly: it only works on Mondays. All the hydrostop opportunities disappeared because it was on the ferry that the stamps were put in the passport. Land borders have been officially closed. The cheapest ferry ticket cost about $ 65. When I was at the box office trying to find out if it was possible to refuse any service and food on board to reduce ticket prices, I betrayed our lack of money. Even without food, tickets that we could not afford, so I asked the head of the office directly: To make the tickets cheaper, I betrayed our lack of money. Even without food, tickets that we could not afford, so I asked the head of the office directly: To make the tickets cheaper, I betrayed our lack of money. Even without food, tickets that we could not afford, so I asked the head of the office directly:

– Can we earn the money you are missing?

– What can you do?

– We can whiten your office.

– What, really? – The chef looked surprised. It should be noted that both the office and the reception in front of him resembled the corridors of the worst of the former factory dormitories – the furniture was covered with a thick layer of dust where it had not been touched and where it was were affected – there were dark or greasy patches, fingerprints black, exactly the same as on the walls and doors.

– true. We only need buckets, rags and detergent. In the evening we will wash your office.

“But here we have another office nearby, there is a kitchen and a toilet.” You must also wash the stairs on the second floor. If you give me all your Egyptian money and clean it in the morning, you can safely go to the port, where I will give you two of your fully decorated second class tickets, along with food stamps.

So we managed to get on the ferry and, after spending the night on its roof under the lifeboat (second-class seats), we set foot at noon on Sudanese soil. A few words about cooking on board: Fate sent us an extra coupon for meals, so we exchanged it for lunch almost immediately after departure. I have never eaten so disgusting in my life. The non-vegetarian portion of the dinner was shared with a friend and the vegetarian was eaten in two with Dima. Despite the fact that each of us had received only a third of the standard portion of dinner, we did not want to look at food anymore. We exchanged the remaining two coupons later for oranges, explaining to kitchen staff that we could not eat their food. So if someone who reads these lines will have to buy a ticket for this ferry, ask him to deduct a meal ticket from his cost,

A friend with whom we shared lunch on the ferry was also a traveler. He traveled by bike from the city of Marsa Mubarak to Aswan and, after an applied study of the road to Sudan by land, was eventually forced to buy ferry tickets for himself and his bike (he knew in advance that the only way to get to Sudan – It’s a ferry, but I still wanted to know what was happening on the land route: there were Egyptian policemen with their sense of humor and their accommodation, apparently the nerves of the travelers were in direct tasks). He had a Bradt guide for Sudan, in which I read the need to register no later than three days after arriving in Sudan, and the cost of this registration was $ 33. Imagine our surprise and that of Dima when I read about it. After all, we only had $ 66 for two! In fact, the recording was a bit more expensive. A little over forty dollars per person (103 Sudanese pounds). And it was necessary, like a visa. According to one of the customs officers, registration is a continuation of the visa application process and, like the visa, it is pasted into a passport and checked at each police station. So, in fact, a Sudanese visa costs about $ 140. In every big city, it is also necessary to look for an immigration office, which is usually hidden in a small alley in one of the most remote areas of the city (and no one knows exactly where it is), to look for an anglophone and receive a permit (thank goodness, free). visit the territory adjacent to the city. By omitting the details, I will say we were able to obtain the registration, although much later than the Sudanese law provided, and we were fined. We have such a stack of licenses that they are no longer in our bag for documents.

To obtain permission to visit southern Sudan, we had to obtain a visa for Uganda in Khartoum, which, as a rule, is not granted. But even with all the required documents, having reached southern Sudan, we were constantly interrogated by the army and the police. The fact is that southern and northern Sudan are two different countries, with different leaders, religions and even flags. Much of southern Sudan, with the exception of the Nile Valley, divided by farmers in fields and planted with date palms, is a shrub. It looks like a savannah – many thorn bushes and acacia-umbrellas, growing at a sufficient distance from each other, so we can not talk about the forest. And in this bush, hundreds of young Sudanese are hiding, dreaming of a coup in the country and overthrowing the existing government. The police and the army of southern Sudan, being protected, and sometimes direct representatives of this government, fear that these residents of Bush can not kidnap or kill foreigners in order to undermine the authority of the current government in the eyes of the International community. So, a senior official told us that his subordinates stopped us on the road and took us to his office. And another senior official told us that we could use our authorizations to visit southern Sudan, as they were issued in Khartoum, a city in northern Sudan. And dozens of very low-level police officers just pissed us off, unloaded them from our cars, interrogated, checked and rechecked all our documents, delaying us by 40 to 50 minutes at each station, which are placed every 5 to 10 kilometers, and even more often. Once when the police arrived from an ordinary car and spent about an hour in their reed office, we took our documents and went further afield, but we did not even have two kilometers to go, a motorcyclist policeman caught up with him and tried to convince him to come back. at the office. We paid no attention to him and continued. Then he called for reinforcements and two other policemen came by taxi. It was obvious that they had been ordered to take us back to the post office but did not dare to touch us, trying to be tactful in a small local taxi. Since we have been pretty . Dima insulted the police, threw his backpack on the side of the road and sat on it, back to the authorities. I did exactly the same thing, but I just checked them in English to make it clearer. Five minutes later, the police left. But not everyone could get away with it so easily. In many positions, there was serious weaponry, and the people with access to it did not always inspire confidence. One of the senior police officers was even apparently under the influence of drugs when he started questioning us. It’s hard to talk to the irresponsible in general, and if this irresponsible uncovered gun is on the table, it’s also dangerous. In short, we could not stand it. We were constantly accused of espionage and tried by all means to prevent our progress towards the south. Thus, when we reached the 9th degree of north latitude, we found signs of a serious tropical disease in me. The organism saved. We needed urgent medical care, or at least a banal rest for which, in southern Sudan, for decades, tormented by violent political games, there was no hope. “You can not go to Juba alive,” one of the policemen told us. “There is no road. Only helicopters go there. But there was a road on the map and we followed it. It was dirt, broken, deserted … but it was. There was no strength to continue. So as soon as we arrived at the United Nations base, we immediately went for help. It did not matter to us how they would help us – to get to Juba, where Uganda could be reached, or they would heal me so I could walk further, if only I could help. In general, the UN is a military organization, and everyone assured us that we would not wait for their help, we would not even be allowed to go through the gates. But we were let in. I spoke to the security officer and he talked to someone else and to someone else. The chief of security found that I needed urgent medical assistance , but without the blessing of the Russian embassy, ​​it turned out that the UN did not have the right to help us. Contact the Russian Consul. He cursed us on the phone and said that now, thanks to our stupidity, we will have to suspend the work of the embassy for three days and their work is now delusional. But the blessing has given. We were thoroughly searched and taken to the hospital, where they took blood from a vein for analysis. The Indian therapist in military uniform examined me and, after receiving the test results, she announced bad news: if we continue the journey, I will die in a few weeks. “You need four weeks of bed rest,” she says, and handed me color papers with test results and a diagnosis. “You can not drink Nile water anymore and you have to eat regularly. We’ll give you some medicine and you’ll have to take it all the way through the four weeks, “she said, as she began sorting out boxes of medicine stacked on the shelves of the reception room. “In relation to you, your husband is in perfect health,” she added.

As a result, thanks to the care of the Russian embassy and the responsiveness of the United Nations personnel, we were evacuated on a United Nations plane to Khartoum, where I spent a week drip. Every day, a kind Russian doctor, Zhenya , visited me and carefully injected me. She also brought Dima and me food and news from the outside world. On the same day, when the last injection prescribed for me was delivered, we were put on a plane to Moscow after issuing a loan on our behalf, which we are obliged to pay within six months. Through providence, thanks to which Dima and we have wonderful parents in Moscow, who met us at the airport, donated winter clothes and shoes, as well as two train tickets to Novosibirsk . We returned home on January 30, 2010. Four months after

This essay was written off schedule, before describing Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey, Syria, Jordan and Egypt (and we did not describe Indonesia, Burma and Kazakhstan at our previous trip before the end) to warn travelers traveling to Africa this year. If your physical and mental health is important to you, do not try to go to southern Sudan. And for girls, I’ll add: do not think about visiting Arab countries. They have their own charm, but these views that 70% of men, who consider themselves each as true Muslims, will undress you, are so disgusting that all the charm of deserts and ancient cities can be poisoned by them. I really liked the Sudanese people, they are really sincere people, open and very friendly, they really helped us to survive in their country, besides that they sometimes found themselves have to survive. And among the Arabs, we met wonderful people, whose perspectives fascinated us and inspired the hope of a promising future, but we still met in the Arab countries some who, rubbing each other’s brows, day in the mosque, poisoning every hour the space that surrounds them. with lies, lust and envy, which, with the name of Allah on his lips, violates his commandments and immediately strikes his chest by proudly declaring that he is a Muslim. It’s disgusting. violates his commandments and immediately strikes his chest proudly declaring himself a Muslim. It’s disgusting. violates his commandments and immediately strikes his chest proudly declaring himself a Muslim. It’s disgusting.