While we’re standing here waiting for yet another piece of paper to get stamped in order for us to ship the bike to Italy I thought I’d write a quick post.
This is the third building we’ve been taken to which is packed with people and paper and very little order. We have a little man doing everything for us (which seems to consist of pushing his way to the front of every queue) while we are ushered into different rooms and corners to wait. We’re still waiting to see why we needed to be here in the first place… (eventually I had to sign some paperwork by putting my thumb print onto lots of pieces of paper – odd)
We’re now in Alexandria, the very north of Egypt organising our shipping to Europe. Alexandria is a lot more Mediterranean than the rest of Egypt in terms of weather and architecture and the streets are filled with makeshift markets and men drinking coffee/smoking sheesha. They may not be allowed to drink but they sure make up for it with sugar and sheesha!
Back at the Sudanese/Egyptian border, after a long and frustrating day processing customs to enter Egypt, we spent the night in Abu Simbel, the first town you get to from the border and one that also has a temple.
We had our first beer in a week and were pleasantly surprised with the friendliness of the people. The roads were good, there were buildings and the street lamps worked…it started feeling like we were getting closer to Europe.
We got up early to beat the heat and went to visit the temple which was really impressive. It was the first time we’d seen any Egyptian temples and it was very unique.
We then got back on the road for another day in the desert and 44° heat. Bottles and bottles of water were poured over ourselves before reaching Luxor.
There’s lots to see in Luxor and it was the first time we’d experienced the extreme pestering of the Egyptians wanting to sell us something. Horse rides and market tours seemed to be the things that EVERYONE wanted to sell us. A polite ‘no’ was never enough until it got to the point of me loosing it at them, telling them to leave us alone
‘Smile, why you not smile? You’re on holiday’
This really didn’t help.
We visited Valley of the King’s and Karnak temple among others which were amazing, it was just a shame it was so hot.
We decided to ride from Luxor to Cairo in one day as we really wanted to get the bikes on the next ferry to Europe. It was a long day with nothing to see and at random intervals we had to have a police escort. We have no idea why, but it only seemed to be for 10-20 kms at a time so it didn’t slow us down too much.
In Cairo we stayed at a hotel which had a roof that overlooked the pyramids and displayed the evening light show.
The next day we went to visit the pyramids and saw the Sphinx which was the highlight – smaller than we’d imagined but pretty cool to see.
We raced to Alexandria hoping that if everything lined up for us we’d be able to get the bike on the boat due to depart for Italy on the 15th. Luckily for us it did!
Egypt for me has been a pleasant surprise. I expected the Egyptians to make life a lot harder for us with constant searching of the bike and general dodgyness, however unless they’re trying to sell you something, the Egyptians have been lovely.
We’ve had daily issues with the price of food increasing from when we order it to when we go to pay for it which has been frustrating but as I said, if they’re not trying to squeeze you for all the money you have they’ve been great!
As always the food was great to start with but before long we got a bit sick of the same few ingredients served in pita bread.
We take for granted the wide range of food we have available to us in Australia. Whilst in a foreign country we only ever eat local food and unfortunately in Africa there is no variety so it doesn’t take long to crave something new.
We’re off to Italy tomorrow and I’m dreaming of pizza, cheese and cold meat.