Inflation seems to have caused the once relaxed and affable Sudanese taxi-driver to have temporarily lost his cool. The cardinal rule is to negotiate a fare before setting off for your destination - often not an easy task as most taxi drivers speak little English.
Getting Around Town
After you’ve learned your way around a little, here are a few simple Arabic words that may help you give directions to your taxi driver. The following are just a few English/phonetic Arabic words and are not necessarily the correct spelling of Arabic transliteration.
PLEASE = MIN FADLUCK
TO THE LEFT=LEAF SHIMAL
TO THE RIGHT=LEAF YAMEEN
STOP HERE=AGAFF HINNA or
HOW MUCH= BE KAM
AMERICAN EMBASSY=SAFARA AMRIKIYA
INDUSTRIAL AREA=AL MANTIQA AL SENAYEEA
Except for a few of the more exclusive shops in Khartoum, bargaining is expected. Before you start bargaining it is good to get an idea of how much something costs - ask friends what they think a good price is, ask in a few stores until you have a general idea of the going rate. Then you are in a position to begin bargaining. Never argue. Never demean what you are trying to bargain for. And don’t bargain unless you intend to make the purchase - once you begin the bargaining process, you are expected to follow through and make a purchase. You will find that bargaining takes time (and lots of smiles), but it is well worth it when you know that you’ve driven a fair bargain, make a friend and are respected by the shopkeeper as a person who cares about values.
Omdurman Souk is one of the most interesting places to go to shop for gifts to send home. Get there by about nine in the morning before it gets too hot. Shops close up about 3:00 p.m. and do not open again until after 5:00 p.m. Items that people usually shop for in Omdurman Souk are ebony wood carvings, necklaces, bracelets, beads, gold and silver jewelry, clay coffee pots, Sudanese baskets, food, spices and much more.
The main shopping area in Khartoum is located on Gamhouria Street. There are numerous stores supplying a variety of items, including fabric, perfume and cosmetics. There is a shopping arcade under the Sahara hotel where you will find the Dinder Bazaar, and an arcade off of Gamhouria Avenue near the SATA shoe store. Across the street from the arcade is another arcade leading to Barlaman Avenue and in there is a shop called “Slimming” - a source of local paintings, some locally made clothing and lots of Sudanese handicrafts. On Babiker Badri Street, also running north from Gamhouria Street to Barlaman Avenue, there are several souvenir shops, and across a large plaza is the Sudanese Folklore shops where many shoppers find interesting things to buy.
Hourria Street is a good source for electrical supplies, plugs, extension cords, light bulbs, batteries, electric irons, tea kettles etc.
In Souk II in Khartoum II at the crossing of Mek Nimr and 47th Ave. East, is a bakery on one corner and several little “fast food” places in the area.