Back tracking

Arriving in Al Wasta we got a heads-up that the Sudanese consulate in Aswan is no longer issuing visas, and people are being sent back to Cairo or waiting an indefinite time for their passport to be sent to Khartoum and back. Although things change daily, we decided it wasn’t worth the risk and planned to take the first train back to Cairo in the morning.

At the station we were pulled out of the queue and sat down in the ticket office with tea. We spent a good half an hour trying to work out the first train, as everyone had a different time. In the end they settled on 6.50am. Just as the tickets finally went into our hands, the police arrived! After another hour of discussion we were finally allowed to buy a ticket in 1st class. Five times the price of our original ticket, but at £1.25 rather than 25p we decided it wasn’t worth arguing over. As we left the train station to be bundled into the police car and escorted back to our hotel, we were told that the train could arrive anywhere between 6.15 and 6.50am, so should arrive at 6.10am 🤨!

The next morning our train rolled up at 7.10am. We were a little late arriving at the embassy, but that wasn’t a problem since the visa officer only rocked up 90 minutes later.

Trying to obtain a Sudanese visa is somewhat like a game of roulette. You blindly pick a queue to stand in and hope the odds work in your favour and you’re granted permission to enter. Luckily another cyclist had kindly sent a step by step guide to survive our visit, including “bring food and water”. 9 hours of ‘queuing’, completing forms, translating, and handing over dollars, we were at the final stage. The man behind the desk told us to go away and come back tomorrow. Not what we wanted to hear! We took that with a pinch of salt and quietly sat at the back. At the end of the day when everyone else had gone they noticed that we were still there. A long chat about football and our passports with visas were handed over – success!

Chloe and Alex saved us again by letting us stay another night and even welcoming us with dinner – we owe you both!

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