The camel postman

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The original design of a camel postman was by a Captain E.A Stanton of the Royal Engineers in 1896. Years later he recounted the circumstances that led to creation of the stamp in an article republished in Sudan Notes and Records from which the following is a summary: apparently Stanton had added sketches to the maps used during the conquest of the Dongola area and these had come to the attention of the Sirdar of the Egyptian Army, Sir Herbert Kitchener or K as he was known by his men. In a typically curt manner he gave Stanton a mere five days to come up with a good design. Three days passed with Stanton becoming increasingly worried until the post arrived on a camel instead of a steamer. Continue reading

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Queen Vic and the Grand Holiday Villa

The Grand Holiday Villa is a lovely hotel built on the banks of the Nile. It has plenty of old world charm and has been sympathetically restored and extended. I stayed there once with my husband and found the service and food all 5 stars+.

But…

The hotel for some reason makes a couple of fantastic historical claims that are well surely just fantasy. Continue reading

The Nile’s Rich Harvest

Bulti (Tilapia) is not the only fish sold at the Murada’s fish market in Omdurman as any visitor will soon notice by wandering amongst the sellers’ baskets packed with fish and ice.
Here is a brief list of fish that I have noticed but it is far from being definitive. Go see for yourself!

The most common fish are:

bulti- tilapia – (see blog for a recipe)

bayaad – a common catfish that can be fried or backed in a earthen ware pot (Tajin)/or tray with rice and a sauce. Continue reading

Khartoum Streets (part two)

Pictures of the Kushite ruins of northern Sudan always remind me of Shelley’s poem Ozymandias:

“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:

Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”

Nothing beside remains.

Round the decay Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare

The lone and level sands stretch far away.

In this poem the art of the sculptor has survived long after the dynasty and empire of Ozymandias has crumbled. History is indeed littered with fallen empires. Looking through old maps of Khartoum reminds me of the decline and fall of the British Empire and the Egyptian Khedive. Continue reading

recipe for bulti (tilapia)

Cooking bulti is really easy especially if you have already had the fish gutted etc. at the fish market at Murada in Omdurman.

After washing the fish thoroughly, add the following ingredients: 1 clove of crushed garlic (all per kilo of fish), 1/2 teaspoon of kammuun (cumin), a pinch of kasbara (coriander), juice from one 1 large leemuun (lime), a pinch of filfil (black pepper) and a sprinkling of salt.

Marinate it for about half an hour

Coat the fish in flour and cook in hot oil until the fish has turned brown.

Serve hot with tahinah (tahini), tomato salad, limes and ‘eesh baladi (round bread).