Posts Tagged ‘Egypt’

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.

Today was actually a rest day for us all, not by choice, but very welcoming. We are staying at a lovely hotel, called the Sara Hotel. We had to be in Aswan yesterday morning early to book and pay for the ferry tickets and with all that done, we had a day to spare before the Monday morning ferry departure.

We slept in a little, I only woke up around 9:25am, realising everyone has left me in the room as they all went down for breakfast, the bastards ! I got up and went down to have something to eat.

We then went for a swim in their lovely pool to decide our plan of action for the day. We visited some market in the early afternoon and then through a guy (Mohammed) that Peter met, we arranged for a trip on the Nile river.

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Day out in the market

The trip on the Nile was lovely, I really enjoyed it. Mohammed and his friend, Sherif took us around the Nile as our personal tour guides. We eventually ended up on some “beach” where we went for a swim in the Nile.

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Sherif and Mohammed

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Trip out on the Nile

Mohammed then took us to a Nubian village on the other side of the Nile, his auntys house. Very nice and interesting house, fitted out with some arts and crafts at the back. They also had crocodiles which they raised and then released into the Nile … wait a minute, I swam in the Nile ??? Would not have done if I knew then what I know now.

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The Nubian Village

Mohammed then took us back, we went back to our hotel past this giagantic Christian church in the middle of Aswan. At the hotel, we went for a lovely buffet style dinner followed by some drinks, “sheesha” (hubbly bubbly) by the pool overlooking the Nile … awesome !

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The Christian Church in Aswan

We called it a night, as tomorrow will be a big day. We have to go the the traffic police to give our number plates back, then off to the ferry port to load the bikes and ourselves on this ferry … must say, not looking forward to it.

Some more pictures from the Nile

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We had to be in Aswan this morning at 9:30am to book our tickets for the ferry to Sudan. We ran a little late, so I was concerned we won’t make it … that means another week in Egypt.

We headed off, along the Nile route from Luxor to Aswan. I have to say, I am now glad we did the Desert route in the end, this Nile is route is horrible …. stop start, police checkpoint, taxis …. so, so busy. It may be hot, but at least you move at a constant pace on the desert road.

We arrived in Aswan, heading straight to the Ferry company office to see Mr Salah to book our tickets. As we got there, he was expecting us (send him an email a few weeks ago) … and he told us we had to go to the Traffic Court to get some papers to prove that we have not been in any accidents while in Egypt. He gave is the GPS coordinates and off we went.

Guess what .. as we arrived …. they landy was there .. Pete, Matt and Aisha .. again a wonderful sight. We immediately exchanged contact details so we can stay in contact.

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Re-united again at the Traffic Court

It took a good few ours … ok, probably only 2 and we had our papers. They tried to charge us 50 egyptian pounds each even though we didn’t have to pay anything … they do try their luck, we insisted that we will not pay … but in the end we said we will give 5 each and that’s it .. after lots of hassles, they finally let us go. We went back to the ferry company and paid for our tickets !

While booking our ferry, we asked Mr Salah from the ferry company for a nice camp site with a pool as we now had to stay 2 nights until our ferry on Monday, so he recommended Sara Hotel .. apparently you can camp their as well.

We arrived at the hotel and the staff was very friendly. They gave us a room with 5 beds and aircon for around 10 GBP each per night …. very nice and relaxing place, in fact, I am busy typing this blog next to the pool overlooking the Nile. They gave us free WiFi as well ! I highly recommend this hotel.

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Swimming pool at Sara Hotel

We settled in, after a swim of course … and then went out to town for something to eat …. great city as well .. not as touristy as Luxor, but still great things to do and see.

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Some photos of Aswan at night.

Tomorrow, we just chil at the hotel, swimming, drinking Stella and relaxing …. looking forward to it.

Woke up today, feeling a little rough … my stomach is not all with it, maybe the water we get next to the road at police checkpoints …. no bottled water and no other civilazation on these desert roads.

We packed up and headed for Luxor. As we got to the first police checkpoint around 10km away from Paris, the police told us there is nothing, absolutely nothing, no “benzine” (petrol) no water, nothing for around 300km … they warned us a few times to make sure we understand.

Pete, Matt and Aisha in the landy had enough diesel onboard, but we had to get some fuel, only had about 80km left and with this firm warning, we had to find petrol somewhere else. We told Pete they can carry on, we will catch up. We went back the 10km to Paris, but nothing .. only diesel … they eventually took us to a little house, where they presented us with two 5L cans of benzine .. the problem was, it was only 80 octane. Even if it was anything higher, 10L won’t get us very far on 3 bikes.

This meant, we had to backtrack back to Kargha, about 90km away for the nearest pertrol station. I honestly though, that’s it, we are stuck in the desert. We slowly made our way to Kargha, trying to conserve fuel as much we can. I literly made it on fumes, I swear … was a close call.

All fueled up, we decided to pay that hotel a visit again for a beer and fresh water and ice cubes in an attempt to keep the water in our camelbaks cold as long as possible.

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Another hot day on this road … 42.5c

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Nothing for 300km

We had to go back the 90km to the checkpoint for the road to Luxor, meaning a 180km detour just to get petrol. By this time, surely we will never catch up with Pete and the landy … and yes, we never did. Again, we were so stupid to not exchange contact details … dumb I know. Damn, he has my tyre with him .. hopefully we find them again ….. I do hope so !

We then hit that 300km pure desert road to Luxor … damn hot and I had the “shits” … not farting with confidence 🙂 Another long day. 100km before Luxor, my bike started “spluttering”, loosing power all the time … this went on for kilometres. My first tought, that’s it, the bike had it .. I will get it to Luxor somehow, ship it home and carry on with the guys in the landy. I stopped eventually, threw in some octane booster .. started up and it was fine again …. must be the fuel then, 90 octane was the best we can find in the desert. Also had my first “toilet” experience today … hot sand in the ass crack was not a nice feeling 🙂

The GPS said that there is a KFC in Luxor, so yes, that was my next destination. Arrived in Luxor and staight to KFC, Mega Zinger meal for me with 2 pepsis with lots of ice, thank you very much !

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KFC in Luxor

We went looking for a campsite and eventually found, Rezeiky camp in the middle of Luxor. Very nice, secluded behind massive gates, lies aircon rooms with a pool .. and yes, they sold Stella beer for only 16 egyptian pounds …. oasis !

Here we met 2 belgian overlanders, father and son (http://www.beyondthehorizon.be). They told us, that they were stopped by Pete and the guys, to find out if they saw us …. they said, yes, heading the wrong way, so they probably spotted us headed back to Kargha for petrol. We, together with the belgians, heading into Luxor to explore the city a little .. nice city, FULL of tourists.

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Luxor at night

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Tomorrow early again, have to be in Aswan for 9:30am to book our ferry tickets for Monday. I hope we find Pate, Matt and Aisha there !!!

We decided to wake up and hit the road at 4am the morning to miss the desert heat and get some miles done. The problem is that Lindsay and I stayed up a little late, so only got about 4 hours sleep, which meant we were a little tired on the road.

As we left, riding through the little town, there was a very oily patch in the road, very slippery and I didn’t have enough time to warn Delilah who was riding behind me … I soon heard a yell and she came off quite badly … or so it seemed, but she was fine ! Thank goodness …

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early the morning in the desert

We stopped to have some breakfast next to the road and soon some kids joined us, we gave them sweets and biscuits, but they probably already had a breakfast of their own, so it seemed like they rather wanted some money 🙂

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Delilah admiring the sunrise at breakfast

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Money please !

After breakfast we hit the road again, but I was so tired, I couldn’t keep my eyes open, so it was time for a power nap. We stopped at the first little abandoned building we saw (for some shade) and had a power nap for about an hour or so. In that whole our, we probably only seen one car go by …. really not much going on, on this desert road … except road blocks … loads of them.

Just as we started to get ready again, we saw a very welcoming site …. in the distance was a car, not thinking much, but as it got closer, we recognised it … Pete, Matt and Pete’s wife Aisha in the Land Rover … very glad to see them again. Obviously seeing us next to the road, they pulled off and we were re-united again since Alexandria. Pete very generously offered to carry my spare TKC80 rear tyre in the back of his Landy … saving me about 10kg on weight.

We deciced to head to Dakhla to have some lunch and we stopped at Arabi Restaurant. He had Stella beer … and prepared some nice food for us.

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Catching up with Pete and the gang at Arabi Restaurant

After lunch we headed to the next town on the desert road, called Kargha, but the police followed us all the way from the checkpoint and made us go to the police station, where they wanted to copies of our passports and we had to report to the station at 10pm that night … the hotel was also very expensive, but at least we could buy some more beer and some water and ice cubes for our camelbaks. We decided to rather leave town and head to a little town called Paris 🙂 What a dump !

No campsites, no hotels .. just what almost seemed like an abondoned building, but the locals insisted it is a “hotel”, but we ended up sleeping rough outside in our tents rather … employing one of the local boys to be security guard for the vehicles .. sorry no photos of this, too tired … couldn’t be bothered and it’s late already …. done loads of kilometeres today, long day !

Tomorrow we head for Luxor … and then the final stretch to Aswan on Saturday.

This morning, the Talat (the owner) served us breakfast, some omellete, cheese, bread and jams. He sat with us and also offered us some fresh dates. He said he is addicted to them. He actually runs Desert tours, so check out his website, http://www.edengardentours.com

As we left the campsite, Delilah came off her bike in the deep sand roads, getting her foot stuck under the pannier, but a helpful local quickly picked the bike up for her, even before Lindsay could get off this bike. She hurt her ankle, even with boots quite badly, she can still walk and ride, but hopefully it will get better soon.

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Eden Camp

We headed to the next “oasis”, Farafra on the Western Desert Road and again, some of the hottest days I have ever experienced. 44 degress celcius of just plain sun, no shade, no vegetation, just desert. When we do decide to stop a little, even little birds would come and sit in the shadow of our bikes just to get some shade.

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Western Desert Road

I think the biggest problem we had in the desert was our water getting warm so quick, even completely frozen bottle water, Mr Talat gave us, was warm in no time. Lukewarm water is not nice, but better than nothing in the desert.

We arrived in Farafra and ended up staying in the Badawiya hotel … at last, what I imagined in my mind what an oasis should be in the desert … a nice swimming pool ! The place was only 10 Euro per person per night … not bad. For lunch, the local tourism polise officer took us to a small little restaurant in town which prepared a meal for us … I have to say, I was quite sceptic, but Lindsay loved it and ate it all 🙂

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The pool at Badawiya Hotel

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The little restaurant in Farafra

Oh yeah, a few days ago, at Alexandria, we lost contact with Peter and Matt in the Land Rover, so we don’t know how to contact them as stupidly enough, we didn’t even get a contact number from him. We knew that Peters’ wife flew into Alexandria to meet up with them, so we were hoping to catch up with them on the road …

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Our bikes in front of the Hotel in Alexandria

We had our breakfast early the next morning in the hotel in Alexandria, packed our bikes and we headed for Cairo. For me, this was a first taste of the heat of Egypt. Alexandria is a mucky and dirty city, so didn’t enjoy that much, however we were soon out of the city and on the road.

Around 200km, we arrived in Cairo and went straight to the pyramids. We got so much hassle from the security who didn’t allow us to ride up to the pyramids and made us park outside, but we could then walk in if we wanted to. I am sure for a little fee, we could’ve, but I was in no mood to haggle with them.

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Pyramids in Cairo

After our photos, we left the other boys in Cairo as they had to sort out some Sudan visas and Lindsay, Delilah and I headed off on the Western Desert Road, South ! There were times I regretted this decision ! 🙂

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Western Desert Road

The Western Desert Road is HOT and there is actually NOTHING to see, except the “oasis’s” after hundred of kilometres. Our first stop for the night was Bawiti and we headed straight for the first campsite on the GPS, Eden Campsite. A few minutes after we parked, I just heard a loud bang, then I realised that a heavy bike and the soft sand was not a good combination

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Soft sand, heavy bike at Eden camp

As we arrived we received a very warm welcome from the owner and his workers, but also from a massive spider which left Lindsay without words … he even considered going somewhere else, hehehe. The spider actually ran up one of the workers trousers while he was trying to catch it, which even made me sqeemish !

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Spider in Lindsay’s room

Nice campsite, well recommended, the host is really friendly, wants to make you feel at home all the time and very accomodating. He even had a hotspring (a pool he called it), but it was brown and some skimming spiders on the water, so we gave that swim a skip.

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Eden Camp, the next morning

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Mr Talat, the owner of Eden Camp

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Alexandra port

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My new friend, Francisco, one of the waiters on the ship

Yesterday after breakfast on the ferry we just hung around the ship waiting for the 14h00 arrival in Alexandria, Egypt.

We finally arrived, but man, was it hot !! I was boiling. The customs and immigration boarded the ship and went through our paperwork, but that was only the beginning. Once we received our passports back and stamped, we were allowed to go down to the bikes to disembark.

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Waiting at customs for bike and security checks

We basically rode of the ship, 100m and was ordered to stop. This was in the midday sun, sweating my ass off. We now had to go through the police control, more customs and security checks. Think it took us a total of about 4 hours and we were eventually on our way.

Outside the port gates, lies Alexandria, what mayhem … words could not describe, traffic is hectic, doesn’t seem to be any rules and they are all over the place, not the mention the speeding.

We were looking for a hotel, but everytime you stop just to talk to each other, people surround you, shouting stuff and all try to help in their own way I guess.

We finally found a local guy, nicknamed Micky … quite good english and he found as hotel with “secure” parking for the bikes accross the road. He then spent all evening with us, taking us around the city, taking us out for a meal at a seafood restaurant … lots and lots of food !!

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Having a huge meal at the seafood restaurant

left to right, Mikey, Neil, Lindsay, Delilah, Ted, Andre, Craig and Cameron

Walked around the city again for a bit … actually quite a long time .. and eventually headed back to the hotel where we are now … about 01h30 in the morning local time. Everything is buzzing, this place is non stop, apparently some the shops stay open 24hrs in the summer !

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Walking back to our hotel

We will be heading to Cairo tomorrow and after that hopefully some open road away from the cities. We then plan to take the Western Desert route on our way down to Aswan.

This post is more a mental note to self …. apparently it is very difficult to find the actual Visemar Line ferry in the mass of docks around Venice, so knowing it has to dock there on a Thursday (it departs Venice every Thursday), I went to the following site which tracks its real-time position and now I know where it docks which should be easy to find now, wallah !

Also made some slight changes to the website, above right corner, you can now see the Twitter and Youtube icons, to follow me if you wish – laters !

Quick update : I think we now have all our visas, Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Uganda and Tanzania. All sorted ..

Other updates, I received loads of goodies in the office, maybe too much to mention, but included my new Thor gear, looks good so far, got new tubes, OKO tube sealant, proper tyre levers, so I can get my tyres fitted (myself) … I need the practice, but hopefully I won’t need it, as the OKO tube sealant and heavy duty tubes should see me all the way through Africa puncture free, I hope !

Lindsay and Delilah is leaving next week Wednesday already … damn, it’s so close, but so exiting. I am busy packing my room into boxes ready for storage. Lindsay and I will probably move it to storage over the weekend or Monday as it’s a public holiday in the UK.

Things are moving along nicely … follow me on twitter for updates … also check my youtube channel for some videos.

Also please do not forget to check out our JustGiving page .. we are raising some awareness and funds for the Tembaletu Project in Cape Town .. watch the video below, if you would like to donate anything at all .. please click here !