Crossing the Nubian Desert

Abu Hamed Travel Blog

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Brooding in the desert
 

It was six-thirty in the morning when our train continued from the breakdown and 9:00 when it reached Abu Hamed, an hour stop and the last along the river. The Nile began the westward arc of its Great Bend south at Abu Hamed and most passengers got off there. Our tracks continued north. As we progressed into the Nubian Desert mirages appeared on all horizons. The brown void was only broken by railroad tracks, rickety telephone wires, and a cloud of dust swirling beside the train. Station 10 was a small outpost comprised of a few crude adobe buildings and several trees. It looked to be an oasis for passing caravans.

 

On the nearly vacant train I was able to walk several carriages forward, amused to notice the second class coaches were now more crowded than third.

Station 6
I found a dining car and savored a glass of chai in a rare quiet solitude. Going back, the door was locked. The side door was open so I was able to swing to the next carriage but found its side door locked. Swinging back to the diner, I was shocked to discover the door had been closed and locked. Fortunately the conductor was just walking away and heard my taps rattling the window - no language barrier there.

 

There was no food at Station 6 but it was good to get out and walk around. The five of us waited until the train began to roll to test our nerve and running skills. Days in the desert must have been getting to us. With the train slowly picking up speed, we were joined by three Sudanese who alternately glanced at us then the carriages …  three remaining, gaining speed. Two of the Africans bolted with Virginia, shortly followed by Richard and myself. We gripped our carriage, second from the end. Dave and Scott intercepted the last coach and, panting for breath, recalled the stunned expression on the face of the Sudanese man who didn't make it. He was destined to survive three days at Station 6 for the next train. It was 9:00 p.m. when ours lumbered into Wadi Halfa, the end of the line. We found cheap beds in the adobe village but it was too late to get food and too cold to shower.

 

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Brooding in the desert
Brooding in the desert
Station 6
Station 6
Sudan train stop
Sudan train stop
Girl in Abu Hamed
Girl in Abu Hamed
Train at Station 6
Train at Station 6
Abu Hamed
photo by: rotorhead85