113km to Edfu
102km to Aswan
11,174km so far
I’m currently in the reception of a hotel costing €6 euros per night (€3 each!) using surprisingly good wifi. I am still with Alex Rossello and will be through Sudan and Ethiopia.
We will wait here until Sunday because there is only one boat per week to Wadi Haifa in Sudan. It should give us plenty of time to apply for visas.
As it is a very Muslim country with no alcohol, Christmas this year will be very different!
The last 2 days of cycling in Egypt along the Nile were very easy. No wind to battle with and very little navigation needed as we followed the Nile South, along the East Bank.
We had a very irritating stretch with wet tar which splashed us and our bikes (I will be trying to clean the bike and the bags for weeks! And we have had road humps constantly which have been annoying when we are going at 30kph and then had to slow down each time but without hills it has been a faster pace and has meant we have had more time to see the sights in Egypt. For the past 2 days we have only cycled in the afternoon!
Yesterday morning the Horus temple at Edfu was an unexpected discovery. Well preserved and with some incredible restoration, it really brings you closer to ancient Egypt. Horus is depicted as a falcon or a man with the head of a falcon. And all the walls are reliefs of Horus, the pharaohs and people offering gifts. It was completely empty and I feel very lucky to have been walking around by myself. Although for Egypt’s sake, I hope the tourists return soon.
When we reached Aswan I went to a shop to buy apple fanta but was interrupted as a sign above the shop was a little bit on fire. Eventually they found a ladder and put it out. It had been caused by the electric wires behind the sign. Amazingly they used the correct extinguisher to put it out (I was worried they would use water and somebody would be electrocuted!).
And as my journey in Egypt has ended… How would I sum up Egypt?
New York may be the city that never sleeps, but Egypt is the country that never lets you sleep.
The loud call to prayer through the deafening but tinny loudspeakers 5 times a day, the instructions shouted by teachers through the tannoy at the nearby school and the screaming responses of the kids, the noise of huge trucks, and the incessant constant beeping of car and motorbike horns all day and all night. The desert is quiet of course except the wind rattling your tent and the sound of trucks rumbling past on the desert road. I think the best night’s sleep was in the ambulance stations in the desert!!!
The people are incredibly friendly and generous. Every truck beeped, every man and child we passed shouted “hello” or “welcome” and the ambulance men and policemen invited us for tea or to eat with them.
Of course in the tourist destinations every conversation starts with “hello, where are you from” but is quickly followed by “you want boat, very fast, special price”
And while the people are good muslims and stealing your bike isn’t on their agenda, when it comes to “business”, it seems lying to stupid tourists is absolutely ok. We were constantly given prices which were made up on the spot and we had to haggle down to a reasonable number. At the river in Luxor, the people we called bullshitters told us “they don’t let bikes on the ferry” or “it will take a long time… My boat just 5 pounds”.
The ferry was 1 pound, left very soon after we boarded and nobody even asked us about our bikes. You meet a lot of bullshitters but also people are just friendly and want to know about you and your bicycle and share stories, and laugh with you so you can’t let it put you off.
Egyptian hospitality and Egyptian people make this a great country (they have a few nice old buildings too).
I expect finding Wifi in Sudan will be very difficult so Happy Christmas and see you next year!!!!