Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Shopping in Khartoum

The Sudan pound (SDG) is quite a strong currency and relatively easy to calculate into US dollars
Bright new bath towels have made all the difference to our ablutions!

When I arrived in the flat two weeks ago, everything was beautifully neat, clean and reasonably well-equipped.

However, as I spent more time here, I realised there were many things which could make cooking, cleaning and other household tasks a lot more acceptable. (Regular readers will know that I’m not keen on housework)

For a start, there were only two bath towels in the bathroom. There was no vegetable rack in the kitchen. There was a dish drainer. It was made of stainless steel, looked very nice and was totally impractical. As I stacked the dinner plates in the rack to dry, they’d remain straight up for a split second before crasing down on each other. When I took out my bread recipe intending to bake a loaf of bread, there was no loaf tin. Sitting at my desk, when the real heat of the day ( 42°C by 3pm) causes even the air conditioners to pant, I needed an electric fan to stand on the floor beside my chair.
State- of - the- art vegetable rack

My husband and I discussed this and decided it was time to go shopping.
On Saturday morning, we went to a large upmarket department store at the top of town. This vast Merkezi/market had everything you could possibly want or need for the home. There was also a large section called Tot Care where I bought two newborn vests for the night watchman’s baby. (BTW, he arrived home on Sunday, only eight days after he said he would. LOL)
This useful set of Pyrexware included the desired bread pan

The local currency, the Sudan Pound is quite strong, 1SDG = US$3.46 and relatively easy to calculate the exchange rate while shopping. I’d also learnt a few words in Arabic and practiced using these on the shop assistants. It’s always such a joy to see the comprehension on a person’s face when you greet him, enquire after his health and well-being and thank him in his own language.

This bright orange dish drainer is a practical and cheerful item on the draining board

Ah, bliss. This fan stands beside my chair and has made all the difference dispelling the intense heat in my office

For posts of other worlds click here.

Thank to Klaus, Sandy, Ivar, Wren, Fishing Guy and Louise for this interesting meme.


  1. Of course, a 'man's' apartment/flat needs a woman's touch.... Love that bright orange dish drainer... Like your veggie rack.... Looks like you all did well getting some simple things which would make life easier for you... I'm sure that hubby is thrilled to have you there!!!!!

    Since we don't use our air conditioning much, we do have lots of fans in our home--moving the air around. That helps SO much.


  2. Ah, I believe you are nesting. Everything looks so Wal-Mart like. Nice to get settled in and comfortable.

  3. Jo,
    Thanks for sharing your shopping trip. I love your veggie stand and cheerful dish drainer. Actually I liked everything you bought.
    Hope you will stay cool with your new fan.
    Sunny :)

  4. Not the way I imagined your present part of the world! Shops with a 'Tot's Department' for instance!

  5. Hi Jo, thanks for visiting my blog and giving me the opportunity to visit yours. Very nice post and you are right to learn some of the language. When I was in Egypt I only used "No,thanks" and"Good morning, good afternoon".

  6. Shopping in Khartoum sounds so romantic. Do you have to bargain for everything like in Istanbul? I will think of you while I do the rounds at Checkers in Brooklyn Mall, Pretoria this afternoon!

  7. What lovely, cheerfully bright items you bought, Jo - thanks for another interesting post - I loved learning about/seeing the local currency, too :)

  8. A last it's feeling more like your home, not just an apartment you're staying in temporarily. I hope the electricity stays on consistently so that your ran work!

    I, too, particularly liked the veggie stand.

  9. Looks like you made some great choices. A few comfort items can make a huge difference.
    How wise of you to learn a few words of the language. I'm sure that makes a big difference in the response you get from shopkeepers, etc.

  10. Hi Jo, the woman's touch is always needed even in 'state of the art'apartments.It looks like you are settling in for a while and making a home for the two of you.

  11. 42C !! That's awfully hot. You are clever learning the language and a good idea for getting better service. Your wares look practical and charming.

  12. Absolutely Betsy;) I remember the changes I brought about when I joined Grant in Guinea. He'd been quite happy with the arrangements but admitted it was so much more homely after I arrived! Here we have to use A/c's because of the intense heat. However, I'm learning to make do with the fan and ceiling fan. (((Hugs))) Jo

    LOL, Gaelyn;) I tried to remember your department stores in the US. Thanks - I imagine this store is very much like that. Very smart this one, and very expensive, but we got everything there, which was convenient.

    Hi Sunny, I only realise now how bright that dish rack is. But it helps to cheer me up when I have to wash dishes - I'm used to a dishwasher back home...

    Hi Wil, good to see you again. Ha, I laughed at your expressions while in Egypt. I'm serious about learning this language...

    Hi Brenda;) yes, it was a real surprise to me as well. Handy too...

    Hi Eleanor, good to see you! We bargain with the stall holders on the streets. However, in a store such as this, you pay the price. Thanks for visiting me. Enjoy your beautiful city of Pretoria!

    Hi Lynda, thanks - it's interesting how quickly we learn the currency of a country. I convert it back into US$ and later I may think, Oh I paid "such and such" in ZA Rands. Hope it's all going well on the farm.

    Thanks Pat, yes, it's feeling much more homely. I also love the veg stand. (((Hugs))) Jo

    Hi Janie, thanks, I realised that I have no interpreter as I had in West Africa so I have to know what is being said and what to say!

    Hi Peggy, good to see you. I loved your family wedding last weekend. Yes, at least we have a home together here in a foreign city.

    Hi diane;) I also gasp at the heat. Thanks for popping in!

  13. That towel looks so nice. Wonderful.

  14. Nice blog created by blog owner it’s very easy to understand I would like to come on it again and again. I want to say you good job dear. slotted angle racks, slotted angles racks supplier

  15. Please can you tell me how I can purchase the Orange dish rack
    I want one so bad I'm in the US


Thank you for visiting my blog and taking the time to leave a comment. I appreciate your feedback. Jo