Breakfast in Khartoum
The coffee tastes like coffee, the croissants are flaky on the outside and soft on the inside, and the wifi is running at the speed of light. But this isn’t breakfast in Kenya – where the coffee was probably grown and which is setting itself up to be an internet hub for East Africa. This is Sudan, which is still recovering from decades of civil war in the south and where sanctions are supposed to be bringing the economy to its knees.
But since arriving in Khartoum I’ve updated my iTunes and downloaded new software for my phone. Doing that back home in Nairobi would have meant leaving my computer on overnight.
Khartoum has some of the most sophisticated coffeeshops in Africa. Wifi at Solitaire is some of the fastest I’ve found and I won’t bore you again by talking about Ozone’s fantastic carrot cake. (Danish pastries appear not to have been banned, incidentally.)
It’s all a long way from the Khartoum of the imagination – crowded souks, fiery imams and grilled goatmeat.
But there is one problem. I’ve been invited to a friend’s house for dinner tonight with a cheery reminder to bring a bottle. I’m not sure a bottle of Coke is going to hit the mark but – for the time being at least – the city remains dry.