So, if you're camping, I have two suggestions for you. If you find yourself sleeping on one of these and it's cold out, you will also be cold unless you happen to have insulation underneath you as well as atop. Also, as soft as you might think sand is to sleep on, it isn't. At least, not if its compacted under your tent.
Day the first: We depart Khartoum in a northerly direction, through much desert, stopping at the sixth cataract. The SC is somewhat smaller than I expected (don't blink!), although the Nile continues to be huge. Apparently flooding last year erased a village that would have been on the left-hand side of the picture (bear in mind that that's an increase in level of maybe 10 ft). We spent the night at a "hotel", under a thatch-roofed awning on the riverbank, wherewithin we slept upon aforementioned cots. It was really quite pretty (the stars were fantastic when I was stumbling around the camp at 4AM). Excitement included refilling the battery cells the next morning and push-starting the car.
Day the second: We veer 30 KM off-road, through desert and... more desert, for to explore Kushite ruins at Naqa and Musawwarat es-Sufra. Many ruins, lots of carvings and inscriptions, several camels. Some of the architecture is decently-well preserved, which is cool (and there's been some good restoration work, as well). It's also really interesting to see the very Egyptian-style carvings, with our good friends Isis and Ra interacting with characters who have distinctly black-African facial features. Apparently the carvings at right are of interest as the queen (at right, if you can't tell) is portrayed in the same size as her XY-bechromosomed mate. Apparently this is an indication of her relative influence, and should be regarded as some sort of early proto-feminist event. Kewl.
Day the third: New years day. We wake up on the desert sand, sore but warm, to a spectacular sunrise and a decent view of some pyramids (as referenced last post). Also a bunch of camel-riding locals who stick around to watch us break camp and offer us camel rides (for a fee, of course). The pyramids are somewhat smaller than the three I'm familiar with, but they have their own quaint charm. They do get points for quantity -- there are more pyramids in Sudan than Egypt, if'n you didn't know (we saw 20-30 in various states of disrepair). They would also be somewhat more impressive if some asshat archaeologist hadn't decided to get his teehees by knocking the tops off them. As a silver lining, I guess I got to learn a bit more about the inside construction of a pyramid (darker, smaller, less well-hewn rocks, if you were curious).
And then we drove home, stopping only for foul and coffee (Sudanese style, strong, with ginger, cardimum, and lots of sugar) at a roadside restaurant. And now we're at home, having just watched a few episodes of MASH. To bed with me!
PS I've allowed anonymous posting, if anyone cares.
PPS More images forthcoming, as I get my gallery up-to-date on my website.
PPPS Still no bags!