We had a chilled morning and then met our friend Paul for lunch, just along our street at a local restaurant. We then walked to a bus stop to catch a local (mini)bus to the edge of town and one of the poorer districts. Khartoum is made up of lots of different ethnicities but the area we were going to was predominantly Nubian, people from the mountainous southern region of Sudan.
Once there we walked through the market to a small tea shop where we spent about an hour and met a couple of Nubian wrestlers and friends of Paul. Together we went to the wrestling stadium. It’s a concrete building which is open to the sky and has banked seating on 3 sides and a sand wrestling ring in the centre.
We then spent the next two hours watching bout after bout and were fortunate enough to be allowed ring side seats. There are three categories, Lion Cub (the lowest), middle and Hero (the best) and each fight lasts for up to four minutes or it’s shorter if one of the wrestlers managed to get their partner on the ground. The champion is often paraded around after a bout and given money by spectators, people don’t bet but they show their enjoyment by ‘anointing’ the wrestlers on their forehead with money.
After the wrestling had finished we went back to the cafe with a few more people including a couple of the top wrestlers (heros), we were then invited to join them for breakfast later on in the week.