My thoughts are orbiting the sandy keyboard, the noise from the storm outside ricochets from the dirt and cement blue and yellow walls. Wooden window blinds are hardly a barricade from the banging of the wild wind. The palm roof is secured by make shift rafters as I hover from the sand storm grateful for the Sudanese Nubian hospitality that landed me here.
I am in Wawa village, a quaint little community just off of the road where it’s inhabitants merrily stroll around in a fierce sand storm with giant welcoming smiles. The first 8 people I meet all offer me tea and a place to sleep joyfully oblivious to what can definitely be described by National Geographic’s next Edition of Morons Trying to Cross the Sahara by Bicycle as a halting high wind advisory.
Cycling in wind at my back of this velocity in a southerly direction has been fairly easy until now as long as I do not stop or take off my sunglasses. I tried sleeping in my sunglasses last night until I realized that a shirt would be a more effective sand barrier for my reddening eyes. The wind is warm, fierce and absolutely harmless although definitely ridiculous and what any sane meteorologist would call inclement weather. Although, the standards of inclement have become incredibly subjective as I am serenaded by the Sudanese people who carry on jovially kind and openly grinning waving, honking and smiling as strongly as the wind that keeps somersaulting me southward through the Sahara.
Stopping to cook has not been an option since lunch yesterday when half the ingredients attempted to join the merry go round of sky dirt and blew away. Also, dirt soup and gritty coffee aren’t really all that appetizing which is good because my clogging stove flame keeps getting blown out. I have been eating some sort of Sudanese twinky cake and bowls of local sugar flour cookie stuff which the people keep offering to me as they wave me down and invite me into their tent and twig homes along the roadway. There is a fair bit of bowl dirt involved with this wonderful Nubian hospitality but the good news is my teeth are scoured clean and no doubt sparkling with the dental miracle of a pressure washer wind cleaning.
However, this afternoon the wind shifted, and pushed me sideways from the road into the sand several times before the welcoming sign of Wawa Village beckoned me from the ‘Is This Oz’ wind disaster of trying to pedal a bicycle across the seductively ludicrous Sudanese Sahara. Here I am, sheltered inside blue and yellow Nubian walls, palm thatched roof hovering overhead. I have been welcomed in from the wind. I am typing with sand in the keyboard, dirt in my sun burnt ears and a slimy smile in my teeth as the metal gates of this Nubian home swing free clanking up a deafening racket.
The sandy storm outside my walls carries on from the afternoons of yesterday. I have had several visitors who have come to smile, and tell me to sleep here with them and 2 visitors who come to smile and say ‘you crazy’. My teasing smile matching there’s in magnitude and about all I can say is ‘crazy?, only on a good day’ and everyday in Sudan has been a very good day, thank-you for all your kindness.