Playing The Nile
Last night's planned jam session certainly happened. The band from last week's wedding (The Bleeding Hearts), along with students from the School of Music and Drama, and Duo Hiula and Beau got together at the Blue Nile Sailing Club for a fine session of set pieces and improvisation.
Normally, as the night sweeps in over Khartoum, it cools just a little from the heat of the afternoon. Last night it cooled not at all.
Warming up on the decking just above the river moorings.
Beau in white, Hiula in yellow.
'Bleeding Hearts' lead guitarist.
Beau gets his feet behind the drums for a variation on Brubeck's 'Take Five' in a duet with a young trumpeter from the University.
Lights in the distance are streetlights on the nearby road bridge over the Nile.
Hiula lends a hand with the percussion.
Lead guitars and vocals.
Beau and Hiula together.
'Road manager' Amin helps with vocals on the last set piece.
Plenty of end-of-show jamming.
Where's Beau? - Arranging the next day's workshop with the college students.
Hiula keeps the session going.
That was last night.
This morning, with still a long way to cycle to the Ethiopian border before their visas expire, Hiula and Eva set off on their way.
Khartoum is certainly a very easy place to stop in for a long time.
But our visas are running out, Ethiopia is calling and there is news of the rains commencing further south.
And here's a little extract that I like from a guidebook for Ethiopia, giving advice to travellers feeling stressed by African bureaucracy - the important thing being to stay cheerful:
"Whatever your fears about bribery and bureaucracy, the humbling reality is that as a visitor to Africa you will generally be pushed to the front of every queue and treated with the utmost courtesy by officials."
(Certainly our experience).
"Now when British post office staff start saying 'Hey, that chap at the back of the queue looks like a foreigner, we'd better serve him first', then perhaps we can start complaining about African officials."
And amazingly, I've just experienced that very thing. A few moments ago an electrician in this internet cafe came up to me and said in halting English, "Turn power off. For moment. On off quick. OK?"
And about 10 seconds later, just enough time to save what I'd done, all the power went off, then on again after the electrician had quickly fiddled with something in the fusebox by the cash desk.
Then I realised that of the eight or so customers in this cafe, only I had been forewarned, being the only foreigner here!
And back at the campsite, when I left to come here, Beau was again waiting to hear about more musical possibilities at the college. Maybe a workshop this afternoon.
So no, we still don't know when we will be on our way.
At least we can look forward to catching up with Eva and Hiula again.
Posted by Ken Thomas at February 16, 2010 11:24 AM GMT