Monday, January 11, 2016


Our second day in Sudan was December 24,  and all the decorations and carol-playing at our hotel kept us from missing the festivities back home quite so much. Again, we slept late, enjoyed a leisurely buffet brunch, then hung out at the hotel, waiting to hear what the plans were. We were discovering that, at least during this pre-wedding hubbub time, Areej's family tended to stay up half the night visiting with all the relatives they hadn't seen in a long time, and doing wedding prep stuff, such has filling 400 gift boxes with handmade perfumes and other goodies, then shrink-wrapping it all to keep out the dust and sand. No surprise that they are slow to get moving in the morning!

Around noon we got word that they were sending a driver to fetch us. Today we were going to divide and conquer. Areej's brothers and cousin had plans to whisk Austin off to their favorite barber, to make sure he was properly groomed for the wedding, and then buy him the special pair of sandals that he needed to wear with one of his wedding outfits. Her dad was planning to take John to wander around at the souq (outdoor market), since that is one of my hubby's very favorite things to do (shopping!), and I was to go with Areej and her mom to get our nails done. But first, we were all to meet up at Grandmother's house. Habooba wanted to meet us! Turns out, she wasn't the only one. There were uncles and cousins...

and brothers...

and aunts...

Areej, her aunt Sihame, and her mother Amal
and quite a few people whom I had no clue about. First there was tea and coffee. Then we were served a delicious meal. Finally, around 4:00, we went our separate ways. One very interesting person we met was Amal's good friend Elsa. I can't believe I didn't get a decent picture of her! She's a world traveler who had just come from Australia, and who has been working for some time on a project in Ethiopia, but whose home is actually in West Virginia, U.S.A! She went along to the salon with us, and kept us entertained. Apparently the girls who worked there were all Ethiopian, and were gossiping up a storm, with no clue that Elsa could speak the language.

She couldn't resist saying something to them as we were leaving, and they all gasped in horror when they realized she had understood every word they said!

By the time we got back to the house, I was floored to discover it was 10:00 PM. There was talk of taking us out to a very special seafood restaurant, but I think they could tell by looking at us that we were all dead on our feet, so they had the driver take us back to our hotel instead. I'm kind of sorry we didn't tough it out and get our second wind, for we never did make it back to that restaurant!

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