A cockerel crows loudly as I lie reclined on a sun lounger in the Greek Club; a small oasis of calm away from the hot, dusty and chaotic city of Khartoum. The turquoise water laps reassuringly as the African sun beats down ferociously on my head. Exclusively open to foreigners and excused from the Muslim dress code, it is the one place I feel I can relax without prying eyes boring into me. Having said that, there is an uncomfortable colonial air to the establishment. Fenced off from reality, we lounge in bikinis and briefs by the pool as local waiters serve us cold beverages. Mixed swimming is forbidden in the Arab world, so Allah knows what they must think of us. A large sign at the head of the pool warns that photos are prohibited; reminding us of the illicit nature of what we are doing here. I close my eyes and fall into a sun-induced sleep.