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1/1/13: Home away from home

We’ve arrived at the house we’ll be staying in…a nice place with 10 beds, electricity, and running water (well, at least cold running water). This is the most luxury I’ve ever had on a dig!

Karima is a nice little town, maybe 20,000 people or so, and it’s a market center so a surprisingly wide variety of things we need are available. Food in the market is fresh, grown locally, and almost certainly organic…

It’s also quite a devout Muslim town judging by the number of mosques, each with beautifully and colorfully painted minaret-towers that will broadcast the call to prayer 5 times a day, starting around 4:30 am, and then again at 6:30 or so. It can make sleep elusive—that’s the point, I guess—particularly when there are lots of mosques and they time the call differently, so the voices of the mu’ezzineen echo in conversation across the dark town seemingly for hours at a time.

Muslim countries vary quite a bit in their degree of observance of prayer times. Not naming any names…but Sudan is among the more devout countries I’ve been in.

The weather has been great—highs close to 90 in Khartoum, but only briefly that hot, lows in the lower 60s. Beautiful, clear sky, dry air. It’s a bit cooler here in Karima, but still quite nice. Dust storms can start in February, so we’ll see how that goes.

But the mosquitos have been out, both in Khartoum and Karima. We’re in the malaria zone, so we’ll sleep with netting and take malaria pills.

And then there are the flies…another thing we forget about it modern cities. But everywhere I’ve been in rural places, the flies can be swarming and a real nuisance. That’s why ancient Nubians (and Egyptians) gave fly-shaped amulets in gold or ivory to successful warriors.