We've topped up on fuel, propane, gasoline and dive air. We're ready to head out with the next weather window. (tomorrow hopefully). It's been a fun experience. We're the only tourists here. The people are genuinely interested and happy to see us. Our days have been spent trekking around the dusty streets. I carry small toys and pencils in my back pack and give them out to the kids. It's the most fun! For them it's so exciting to get a little toy car... Their eyes light up and their beautiful bright white teeth flash with a most happy smile.
Today I'm staying on the boat and Judy headed on the bus to Port Sudan about an hour away. She's looking for provisions. There's not much hope for that though. The selection is pretty meager in the tiny shops. Still..... it's fun wandering and experiencing such a different culture. Most of this town is falling down around it's dwellers. Folks make homes in the ruins of the old building that have long been abandoned. Some are over 600 years old. ...not the people....the buildings. The building material was coral rock cut into building blocks that have disintegrated over the years
It's difficult to take photos because many of the people don't want you to take their picture. They are shy and I think they feel somehow abused by the camera. I have tried just handing them the camera and letting them take pictures. Unfortunately, most of the photos are of us.... that's not what we are looking for... oh well. Yesterday when I was taking a picture of a street scene for a future watercolor, a uniformed man waved me over where he was sitting in the shade of a shop awning. In rough English, he asked me why I was taking photos . I told him that I was an artist and would be making paintings from the photos. He said that this was a military area and that photos weren't allowed. I looked around.. .the only military thing was his shabby uniform.... He was friendly enough in a sorta "don't mess with me" way....tough looking character. I complimented his English and were on our merry way. I think he was just trying to be a big shot in front of his "men" who were actually "boys".
On the flip side, earlier, we were walking by a "tea house" and a booming voice beckoned us to come inside. It was dark and cavernous but we ventured in. As our eyes adjusted to the smoky room we were confronted with a huge smile. "Welcome! Sit and have tea with us". We took our seats. All the occupants were men dressed in turbans and long white robes and they were all watching us.. There was a moment of awkward stillness but soon we were talking and laughing and drinking coffee and tea. The one word that seems to break the ice where ever we go is: "OBAMA" Everybody seems to love our president. We shout "OBAMA!" and they shout "OBAMA!" back with great enthusasm. Speaking of politics, there is supposed to be an election here next week. All the predictions seem to be that the country might have some kind of civil disturbance around election day. So we think it's time to head toward Egypt.