made it but what a palaver to get here! We started the day by leaving the hotel
in Tubruq at 8am. We arrived at the border before 10am and initially all went
well. We handed in our plates, got 50LD back for them and then at the last
hurdle it all fell apart. We were missing some stamp in our passports which they
wanted to send us back to Tripoli to get. Fortunately they settled on us going
back to Tubruq so off we went. We had no idea what it was that we needed but we
managed to get it written in Arabic, also who to see. Fortunately it all worked
out OK but due to one thing and another (generally waiting), we only got back to
the border at 2pm. We at least got to spend almost all of our 50LD!
was Egypt. Hell! We got our passports stamped with no fuss but then came
customs. They demanded that we take everything out of the car for them to
examine. Scott had to carry all the boxes alone – no one would help – and I
had to open them for inspection. A very cursory inspection it was too, damn
them. Scott then had to take the car off for an inspection which I missed but he
tells me that they ripped it apart. They looked under seats, tapped body panels,
drove it over a pit to check it underneath and even removed door panels. We had
not expected this and took no precautions with our money but even with all of
this, they didn’t find the safe. Sigh of relief.
this, we had to load the car up again. Scott carrying alone and me standing
guard. They were getting very stressed while Scott was gone with the car because
our stuff was taking up so much space. They kept asking me to move the boxes but
I refused. I said they were too heavy and if they wanted them moved to do it
themselves. No chance of that obviously lazy buggers.
this, it was still not over. The Carnet chase came next. Read Scott’s version
for all the nasty details but suffice to say that after much to-ing and
fro-ing, 4 hours and 300USD later, we made it out of there. It was nearly 6pm
Libyan time, 7pm Egypt time, before our escape. Nowhere have I read warnings of
this and we got lucky – a French guy on a bike arrived 3 hours before us and
only left 10 minutes before we did!
pushed on for Marsa Matruh in the dark. Foolish and not something we’ll do
again and here we are in a crappy seaside hotel but at least in Egypt. Totally
wrecked and going to sleep!
we made it here! We are camping at Giza within sight of the pyramids. It is a
bit of a way outside the centre of Cairo but no way are we getting the car any
closer to the centre of town!
was really another driving day – we got to the campsite at about 4pm so other
than heading out to make some phone calls home and buy a take out dinner we
haven’t done much else. Finding the campsite was interesting – we hit
Tourist Info and then had an interesting experience. The info guy found a friend
to take us to the shop of the man who owns the campsite. We had drinks there and
then squeezed four people into our car – friend #1, who instead of getting a
E$4 tip from Scott got a E$40 tip and was a very happy man and another
guy, this time one to show us to the campground. The route to the site is awful.
It reminds me of Kathmandu – right down to the water buffalo and the cesspool
of a canal. Fortunately the campsite itself is not too bad. Good settings, bad
facilities and all to ourselves. Lots of insects but it is to be expected I
guess – we have trees and water so it is a perfect recipe for them. The good
thing is that the car will be safe and we have all the space we need to do a
re-sort again. This time we want to put all the foodstuff into one box instead
of having some stuff in the ammo box and then needing two boxes to make a meal.
That’s it for today – it’s getting dark and I don’t want to switch on
lights because we have more than enough insects as it is. Tomorrow Ethiopian
Embassy and tour of Cairo.
I have been out of action for 3 days with a terrible bout of travellers’
diarrhoea. We went into Cairo on the 17th as planned and had no luck
with the Ethiopian Embassy because if you plan to enter Ethiopia by land you
have to get your visa at the neighbouring country. Next we went to various
shipping agents only to find that there are no boats to Port Sudan from Suez.
Final stop was the Egyptian museum. By this stage I was already feeling ill but
managed the museum which was well, well worth the effort.
this Scott took things in hand and decided we would leave the terrible campsite
for a hotel where I could relax and recover. The campsite owner is an important
man and he called the local Movenpick where he got us in at 80USD for bed and
breakfast. The normal rate is 150USD so it's OK! This turned out to be a
really wise move because I spent the entire night running to the bathroom –
the works was happening to me along with terrible cramps. Scott got the doctor
in the next day and we both got some medication. He was a little affected too.
The Tue and Wed I pretty much spent in bed – not eating and getting weaker but
by the Wed night a light supper went down wonderfully and today I am pretty much
OK. We went off to see the Pyramids and Sphinx this morning and I spent 3 hours
walking around in the sun. It was fun but I needed my rest this afternoon!
where are we in our plans? Scott went in to Cairo again yesterday but still
found out nothing about Wadi Halfa ferries. We have also not met one other
person attempting an overland route which is a little worrying. We have decided
to head on South tomorrow, skipping out the Western Desert oases on the theory
that we have seen plenty of oases so far. Also, we will go down the Red Sea
route – see something new. We will try to find out for ourselves in Aswan and
if we have no luck the cargo ship option looks like to only one we can follow.
he was in town yesterday, Scott also sent off updates and a mail to mom telling
her how we are. Robin and Silvia called last night which was awesome of them and
Joyce sent a fax. I am hoping to hear from Mom and Dad before we leave here
am a little disappointed not to be seeing more of Cairo but also pleased to get
out of here. The place is a pit and everyone wants something from you. I am sure
that the rest of Egypt is pretty much the same but hopefully smaller towns are
not quite as bad. Also, poverty in a city seems to be so much worse than poverty
in a rural area. Hopefully I am fully recovered and at least get to enjoy Luxor
good day today. We headed out to the Red Sea as planned. We stopped off at St
Paul’s Monastery in the desert – pretty isolated place – and drove down
South to Hurghada. We arrived around 4:30pm, found a hotel and had time for a
swim in the Red Sea and a walk about town before having a really excellent
dinner – vegetable pasta for me and chicken kebab for Scott. This town is
great – small enough not to be overwhelming but extremely well stocked with
everything you could need. Pastry and OJ for breakfast tomorrow!
night we saw the Sound and Light show at the Pyramids – really impressive
stuff. The Pyramids and Sphinx look really great with the different coloured
light on them. The show also gave some history which was interesting but got a
little repetitive towards the end. Still, it was money well spent.
hear from Mom and Dad – guess they didn’t check email. We got 15min Internet
time today and sent them a message anyway to say that we are both well and had
recovered from our illness. We both felt fine today but will still be careful
for a while.
we hope to be able to camp at Luxor
left Hurghada at + 9am and headed South to Port Safaga. From there we
turned West to head to Luxor, only to find that this had to be done in a convoy!
Fortunately one was leaving as we arrived so no time was lost but we didn’t
even know that this existed. The convoy was for all vehicles with tourists
- mainly buses and mini-buses. In fact we were the only private vehicle in the
convoy. Qena, about 40km North of Luxor is apparently where the Muslim
fundamentalists are based. Remember the attack on the tour bus in 1996? Well,
now they herd a pile of buses together with a police car in front of them and
one at the back. I don’t know if it is any better.
to Luxor in time for lunch and it is HOT! We aren’t camping, Scott says it is
too hot and dusty. He’s right but this is getting expensive. From here South
though, no more hotels. We still have no idea how we’ll get into Sudan, if at
touring today was the Luxor temple. It is impossible to do anything in the heat
of the day so we swam instead and went to the temple at 6pm. It was wonderful,
The statues are in an incredible state of preservation and so are lots of the
hieroglyphics. It was great, all that I was expecting and more. Hopefully we got
some good photos. To show how hot it was today, even though we were at the
temple at from about 6pm to 7pm, we saw 3
people collapse/faint in the heat. I’ve never seen anything like it before and
they were all adults but also still young, so it was not due to age or anything.
are eating pretty well here but I am still suffering from some cramps and
diarrhoea – nothing like before but still enough to make me careful. Scott
seems to be OK – cramps once today but nothing more. I hope this passes soon,
I can lose a lot of weight this way. Then again, never a bad thing!
main news is not what we saw, which was awesome, but what we heard. Some people
were apparently camping here last week who had come up from Sudan on this famed
private ferry!! It is still only hearsay but at least it is something positive
and hopefully we will know more tomorrow.
was Valley of the Kings day and what a day! Firstly we found out that there is
no longer any car ferry across the Nile but there is a new bridge about 7km
South of town. One thing – buy tickets before getting to the Valley of
the Kings! We were let in but given a hard time! You pay ŁE20 for any 3 tombs
but ŁE40 extra for Tut’s tomb. Since we have already seen all the contents of
his tomb, we decided to skip the tomb itself. I think we picked well, the first
one Ramses (maybe?) was busy and OK. The second was awesome. We were alone and
the caretaker gave us a torch and let us crawl under the lid of the sarcophagus.
If you think someone was buried there it is a pretty sobering feeling. He more
than deserved his tip! The last tomb, what’s his names, was awesome for
the colours. You can not believe how vivid the colours of the walls and ceilings
are after so many thousands of years. I know the climate helps but the state of
preservation is incredible. The Valley is hot, hot, hot. I now really admire the
archaeologists who worked there. We looked at the outside of the valley of the
queens but didn’t go in. There are only 2 tombs in there and entrance to
Nefertiti’s costs ŁE200! All in all though, it is a pretty incredible place.
This huge area of desert is covered with all sorts of ancient monuments, some
well hidden like the tombs and some clearly visible like the Temple of
Hatshepsut and the Colossi of Memmon.
this we returned to Luxor and had lunch. What a lunch! We ended up in a tiny
place with only four tables, all by ourselves. I was nervous about the food but
they even used new oil for our chips so I think it was all OK. We had baba
ganoush (sesame seed paste and eggplant), eggplant salad which is some kind of
marinated eggplant and tasted wonderful and some chips. This plus a 1˝ litre
bottle of water came to ŁE9, what a bargain!
the regulation swim and siesta we headed to the campsites to see if there was
anyone there. No luck, but both managers claimed visitors last week who came
over with cars on this private ferry!!! One site looked pretty good until 29
young Australian overlanders (as in Asia) arrived and took over. Glad I don’t
have to live with them – travelling like that does not appeal to me.
also spent some time tracking down the convoy info. We went to the tourist info,
tourist police, convoy police and 2 hotels and got different info from all of
them! Eventually we got lucky and saw the Hurghada convoy leave. This gave us a
place and the cops there gave us a time we liked (11am) which matched about half
of the other times given. So we’ll see, if it doesn’t leave at 11am we’ll
try again at the other favourite time – 3pm. We’ve also heard rumours about
a convoy at 7am but we want to visit Karnak’s Temple so that’s too early for
was not so good. Our chicken sandwich was just that – a piece of fried chicken
in a dry bun. Can’t get lucky with every meal I guess!