|Monday 2nd July - Sudan - Khartoum (Day 3)
Willie and Andrew set off first thing today to the Byblos Bank and got money using a Visa credit card, so that was a relief (they make an international telephone call to authorise the transaction).
We had hoped to go to the Republican Palace Museum today but it is only open on Fridays to Sundays and Wednesdays.
We thought itd be good to relax at a pool for a bit so we paid to get entrance to the Grand Holiday Villas swimming pool for a couple of hours. The pool was good and the girls enjoyed it. Andrew was a bit perplexed by the notices instructing patrons that they were not allowed to be naked in the mens changing rooms. (How does that work exactly? Does it mean you have to leave your socks on until after you put on your swimming trunks?) Meanwhile I was reading the instructions in the ladies changing rooms informing me that if I was a Sudanese Muslim woman I was not allowed to swim in the outdoor pool but could only swim in the indoor, ladies pool.
In the afternoon we returned to the Acropole and chilled out. The Acropole is a great little hotel. It is run by a Greek man and his wife and everything is immaculate. You can even eat salad here! Its not posh, not fancy, doesnt have a pool or a choice on the menu but it is wonderful. Theres a set menu for every meal, but the food is very good.
There is a group of doctors staying at the hotel. They are here to assess the local medical school to ensure that it complies with BMC standards. Some of these doctors have returned to Khartoum year after year, staying at the Acropole each time. Apparently the hotel has changed very little over the years.
I spoke to an Irish doctor today and he commented on the fact that while we are here in scary Sudan, Glasgow is in the newspapers as being at the centre of the most recent terrorist attacks. He said that in the past his work took him to Beirut, South Africa and Khartoum and people would ask him where he came from, to which he would reply Belfast and then they would say Oooooh. Thats a dangerous place!