1978, a journey to Khartoum: Alexandria. My notions of our arrival in the city had been influenced by reading Lawrence Durrell's Alexandria Quartet. I had a romanticised image of a quiet berthing against an old wooden jetty, with palm trees, uniformed officials snapping to attention and an orderly disembarkation.
Reality was rather different. We docked at a functional concrete wharf holding a loud and noisy crowd of friends, relatives, officials, hawkers, porters, food and drink sellers and money changers. As we came alongside a flurry of ropes were thrown over the ship's side and bundles of personal possessions, suitcases, packing crates and some family members were lowered to the porters below, accompanied by yelling, shouting and screaming. Those that didn't make it were hauled out of the water. We decided to watch and wait until it had calmed down
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