a test of patience and the Aswan ferry

Posted: October 5, 2010 in africa overland, Egypt, Sudan
Tags: , , , , ,

It definitely has been a crappy last two days, for me at least. Yesterday morning we had to be at the Traffic Police around 8am to give our number plates back and then to be escorted to the ferry. Peter and Aisha was ready and we told them they can get going while we still packed the bikes.

We arrived at the Traffic Police around 8:40am, finding Pete and Aisha still waiting, so at least we weren’t late. As soon as we presented only one number plate per bike (…and that is what they gave us in Alexandria), I just saw the guy shaking his head, explaining to someone that can speak a little english that we needed two plates, they can’t accept only one. My first reaction was ….”What the *&@*%%$ now??”

The more we explained to them we only received one plate, the more they say we need two. We then had to get back on the bikes, ride across town to the Tourist Police to get a report stating that Alexandria only gave us one number plate …. well good luck explaining that to them, all we got was confused looks … my patience has been wearing thin already, I am hot, sweaty and they just stare at us.

I eventually found an older man that speak a little english, went back up to the Tourist Police for him to explain our situation. They then said, we need to go to the normal Police instead of the Tourist Police. We left Delilah to look after the bikes and Lindsay and I walked with the man to the police station. Once we got there, they didn’t allow us into the building as they had prisoners in the office who apparently committed murder, so maybe a good thing.

The older man eventually re-appeared, shaking his head. By this time it was probably two hours later and we had made no progress. We went back to Toursit Police again and by this time I asked if I can phone Mr Salah (the guy who sold us the ferry tickets) to help us. He explained to the tourist police over the phone, but they seemed unwilling to help. Eventually, probably after another hour, they agreed to do a report for us. We had to lie, writing a report that we lost one number plate (so now it’s our fault) and we do not accuse anyone … After probably another 30mins, they translated the reports and we could get on our way.

We arrived back at the Traffic Police, gave them some papers and the police report (which they didn’t even read) and we were free to go to the ferry port. Arriving at the ferry port, more crap … checks, checks and more checks. We had to pay more money … around 253 egyptian pound per bike … and then another check at customs, another 22 egyptian pounds and then another 3 egyptian pounds for a stamp in the passport and then we movd down to the port itself.

The ferry is so overloaded … people everywhere, weird people, some guys wanting to take photos of just the girls, checking them out and just overall very strange. I think by this time I had enough of this country .. just want to leave now.

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Peter and I checking out the barge

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Our bikes loaded on the barge

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Pete driving his landy onto the ferry

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We loaded the bikes and the cars onto the overloaded barge and went inside for our “first class ticket cabins” …. what a load of rubbish …. first class my ass. For a start, my room got hijacked, around 6 sudanese men in my 2 bedroom cabin. Toilets and everything else is just horrible, the only good thing were the cold drinks and water we could buy and maybe the fact that they at least had aircon, but it was so cold … maybe better than hot hey ?

I had to share a very tiny cabin with Lindsay and Delilah, even though I paid 500 egyptian pound for my own first class ticket, but I am not sleeping with 6 other men and all their belongings in a tiny cabin. We had a meal consisting of some beans, boiled eggs, bread and some cheesies and then we decided to go to sleep … what else could you do?

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Andrey, a russia we met, also travelling on a bike

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The meal on the ferry

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The next morning 4:30am was some sort of a loud prayer call or something so that woke us all up. We got up and Lindsay and I sat outside for a while. Around 7am we went past the Abu Simbel, the guys took some photos … I didn’t sorry and we went back to the cabins.

Not sure if I should put this in, but my stomach was not very well at this stage, must have been those beans … I dreaded this as there was no way I was going into those squatting toilets, they stank and was overflowing. I just had to go, but went to the ladies toilet instead, screw them ! at least I felt much better after that.

After loads more checks and forms as we came off the ferry, we were escourted to a “hotel” near the port as our vehicles only arrive tomorrow sometime. We are now staying in this place, which just really consists of a few beds and no running water … but at least they have satellite TV. We are now sitting outside, playing cards and stuff … going to bed soon and hope the bikes come quickly tomorrow so we can get out of this place.

  1. Rob Reinecke says:

    Hi – Great trip and info!!

    We are planning a similar trip in May/June 2012. I would like to ask 2 questions:
    1) Did you experience any problems with authorities doing the “desert run”, as I have heard that the Egyptians prefer foreigners to travel down the Red Sea under escourt?
    2) What as the cost per bike and per Land rover on the Ferry. We will be 6 bikes and 1 Landie with bike trailer.

    Best regards

    Rob Reinecke

    • m0ng00se says:

      Hi Rob,

      No problems at all … a few security checkpoints along the way, normally at junctions, but nowhere nearly as much as you would get on the Nile or Red Sea route. I will have to really think now .. think 500 Egyptian pounds for “first class” ticket on the ferry, but not sure if that included the bike as well, actually don’t think so, think the bike was about 250 EP and I think it was about 2000 Egyptian pounds for the Land Rover. I know of a couple in a big truck who paid almost 6000 Egyptian pounds, so it seems they just make up pricing as they go along.

      In your case, they might have to take an extra barge, 6 bikes and a land rover will not fit on the normal barge, so it might be more expensive. You can email this guy, Mr Salah Tarkourny (takourny@gmail.com), to reserve a space. If we didn’t do it, we might have had to wait another week.

      Good luck, I’m envious .. wish I was still in Africa !

      • Rob Reinecke says:

        Thanks Andre

        The trailer is actually a 3 bike trailer, therefore one would have 3 bikes on the trailer and 3 seperate. I will however contact the Mr Salah closer to the time.
        Trust you have long johns for the could – currently 36 degrees in Cape Town!!


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