Or not. There is no Christmas in Sudan – not even the bubble-wrapped version where the jolly Santa Claus puts you on his knees and hears your Christmas wishes. No sir. Tomorrow will be another day of bright sun, delicious schwarmas, clapped out yellow taxis and business as usual.

So, waking up here this morning, days from making it to Egypt and more than a month of traveling, it was hard not to miss family. To miss the familiar preparation of criminally large amounts of delicious food being shuttled to my aunt’s house. The paper hats and the little toys in the crackers. The idiosyncratic game where we all pass around wrapped presents and fight for what we think are the nice ones before we get to open them. I always tried hard for the custard. Or the condensed milk.

There is no condensed milk here. Nor custard that I have been able to find.

But this afternoon I remembered a friend in South Korea, who will surely have felt the same. Remembered other travelers whose tales I follow, from Mongolia to Japan, Australia to Chile, India to Zambia who may have access to condensed milk and custard, but quite possibly not to family and the Christmases they used to know.

To all of you, a great big Merry Christmas. Tomorrow, somewhere between Khartoum and a tiny little town called Atbara, I will raise a glass of non-alcoholic beverage (Sudan, while fascinating in many other respects, also does not celebrate drinking) to everyone else scattered around the world. You are not my condensed milk and custard family, but you are just as occasionally dysfunctional and interesting. And deserving of a cheer and a wish in your corners of the world.

Now go buy yourselves a treat and a funny hat. You’re worth it.

Categories: Africa, Sudan, Travel
  • elaine

    mince pies waiting in the fridge

  • John Robb

    Custard, cookies and funny hats are fair trade for the mind blowing experience you are having right now.
    Merry Christmas Rich
    JR

  • I’m curious to see where New Year’s will find you. I hope you get to ring it in. Glad you are well, and looking forward to updates from you when you can. I hope Sudan turns out to have been worth the (visa) wait.

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