Rest Day in Dongola
It was a hurried, four days that brought us from Wadi Halfa to our current camp in Dongalaâ€™s abandoned zoo. Dongala is approximately halfway to Khartoum and in regards to cycling, certainly the tougher half. This rest day was a time to clean off the dirt, relax and for once stay around camp. There are not many sites to see so people are heading to town for food and an internet connection.
Dongala has also been our first exposure to fairly strict Islamic dress codes. It is something, as a Westerner, that is hard to understand. It is hard to comprehend what it would be like for a Muslim adolescent, never being exposed to a grown womanâ€™s knee, let along a shoulder, or even tight clothing. What would our reactions be? In their eyes, we are as good as naked.
Unfortunately we managed to offend. It is a little hard to bath in a red box without showing a little too much skin and some locals came to camp to say that Islamic dress code extends to all of Sudan, including our camp in an abandoned zoo.
Itâ€™s good to remember and be reminded that although there are things that we may never understand, others see the world in different ways and it doesnâ€™t mean that they are wrong. In our case, itâ€™s less about offending and more about respect.