We flew in a small twenty-seater jet. I had never been on a plane where a passenger could sit and chat with the pilot during a flight. It intrigued me to see the many dials and instruments, so I asked the pilot what those instruments did.
“Oh, not much,” came the reply.
“Why ever not?” I asked.
“There is nothing on the ground for them to read!” came the surprising answer. He explained that when you flew in southern Sudan, you were flying by the seat of your pants. You followed the Nile as long as possible, then veered away from it to find your destination. Then you came right back, or you could become lost in the vast expanse.
He pointed into the distance and asked if I saw some hills. I stared hard and could just make out a small bump on the horizon. “Well, fifteen miles south of those hills is Juba,” he said. I commented it seemed hazy, but the pilot assured me it was clear that day. When the locals burned grass in the dry season, then it was truly difficult to see.
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