One of the most striking things about the seaward entrance to Suakin is the dominance of a whole bunch of buildings that look as though they have been shot to pieces. This is Suakin Old Town and the reason these decrepit buildings look so ramshackle is because they are made of coral and collapsed in an earthquake. Some more pics for your entertainment…
Contrasts again. The richly self-indulgent road south of the line turns into a dusty careworn main road on the Turkish Cypriot side. No Starbucks, Top Shop or McDonalds to be found here. Stepping off the main drag we are in a monstrous slum of poverty and wasteland.
The once garish colours are now reduced to a uniform greyness; a 1970s monochrome war torn news report from the BBC frozen in time. The roads are strewn with detritus and weeds grow uninterrupted up through the asphalt and concrete, cocking a snook at man’s feeble attempt to control nature.
The ensuing scene could have been used for a remake of the film ‘The Exorcist’ as I swung through an 180 degree arc, like the hammock was made of elastic, jerking violently in every direction. Fortunately my head didn’t twist round and curse obscenities, and neither did I throw up purple sick, though I did feel like scratching ‘Help Me’ in my stomach. Like Linda Blair I didn’t get much sleep that night.
With Lebanon across the water and Israel a short hop eastwards, this was a far cry from the usual packed Turkish anchorage, to which we’ve grown accustomed.
The only constructive thing we did was visit the Apostolos Andreas monastery, a beautiful little building with a natural water spring and a couple of nuns. As the following photographs illustrate it is an extremely photogenic place indeed.
This is also where the paragliders land and hours can be spent watching their graceful sails catch the thermals. They land on the ‘marina’ strip, which is worth a mention. In our pilot guide the author says “At the time of writing work is proceeding slowly on the construction of the marina”, the text of which is accompanied by a photo of the unfinished marina. He states that he was given a completion date of 2001. Well, it’s 2008 and the ‘marina’ looks exactly like your photograph from 10 years ago!