Border Crossing : Egypt - Sudan (6-7 July 2009)

Sudan is a dry country (in terms of alcohol, that is!) and we had, over a couple of nights before we left with Amy and Paul, managed to finish the whiskey and gin that we had been keeping otherwise this would have been an ideal time to swig a neat tot to steady the nerves!  Lunch was a decent meal of rice, vegetables as salad (covered by the ferry meal ticket) but we paid an extra EP10 each for a piece of chicken as well.  This turned out to be a good decision.....

There was time for a quick good bye with Mr Salah a_DSCN0303 (Thanks once again, Salah, we couldn't have done it without you!) and then a bit of a wait for final loading before they untied the ferry and, with 5 blasts to the barge to say goodbye, we were finally on our waya_DSCN0318 .  There was time to relax now in our airconditioned cabins and spend some time wandering around the ferry chatting to people up on the deck. 

We met up with Ahmed again a_P1030880 (L-R: Bobby, Mr Mahmoud, Amy, Ahmed, Paul, Trevor) who introduced us to Mr Mahmoud, a schoolteacher on board who was willing to teach us some more Arabic.  Bobby had met up with Amy and Paul in Dahab and again here in Aswan.

It turns out that the ferry is an amazing place to meet people and spend some time with locals and other travellers and overlanders.  Although by 9pm we'd escaped to our cabin with Amy, Paul and Mark joining us for a cup of english tea and milk that we brought on board from our stock and broke out a couple of packs of Mark's Boreos (Egyptian Oreos and rather good, thanks Mark!) and with all the excitement now over, decided that we needed a bit of an early night so that we could get up to try and catch Abu Simbel as we passed it at 6:30am the next morning.

We got up early and watched the sun rise over the hills with Egypt slipping slowly behind us.  As we approached Abu Simbel the captain changed course and took us as close by as he could get us.  It is as magnificent as the books say it is, even from the ferry and somewhere that we'd definitely want to visit next time.  a_DSCN0333 a_DSCN0334.

Finally we arrived at 11:30am a_DSCN0340 a_DSCN0341 was this where we would have to take Sully off???  Actually no, the barge dock is much, much worse but at this stage we were happy to live on in ignorance.  It took another 4.5hrs before we were processed through medical and immigration and we were allowed to leave the ferry.  As luck would have it as we were waiting in the ferry dining room to be processed, Magdy sat down next to Jason and as quick as a flash we had negotiated a fixer for our passports and vehicles.

Here we all are, much relieved to be back on dry land and waiting for our transport.

a_DSCN0342 (L-R: Paul, Jan, Mark, Amy, Mr Magdy, Jason, Bobby) and once through customs checks, we were on our way in our boksi - a series 2 Land Rover I might add.....

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We checked into our hotel - well, that's rather a grand description of an extremely basic room containing 2 metal-framed beds with a thin mattress, a metal framed door which although could lock could be removed by the frame, sand floors BUT we had a ceiling fan - although it was just stirring up the extreme heat in the rooms, it was as least a breeze that cooled us off a bit with the use of a cool spray bottle.  The shower is a bucket with a jug and the loo a very basic long drop.  But all in all, it was clean and bug-free and (as I think our standards are dropping somewhat the further we travel down Africa) a good place to rest whilst we waited not so patiently for Sully to arrive the next day, Insha'Allah!

Our first priority before a shower was some food as we hadn't eaten a proper meal since the lunch on the ferry the previous day (Boreos don't count as a food group!) so we set off with Mr Magdy in search of sustenance.  We knew we had reached the "real" Africa at last as loud kwela music cascaded from a shack as we walked by. We sat down to the freshest fish ever with salads and all toasted our journey into Africa with the clinking of plastic water bottles, followed by tea taken with Magdy and Mazar. a_DSCN0346.  Then it was back to our hotel for a shower which, in short, was delightful!  Hot water heated by the sun and a good scrub with soap and a scratchy sponge was a welcome relief to the sweat and dirt accumulated during the ferry trip.  With clean hair and feeling refreshed, Trevor and I lay down for a quick rest and woke up to the sun having already set.  So after a quick cup of tea with the gang at a local tea stall, it was back to bed for another 10 hours sleep.  We had something to look look forward to tomorrow.

#1 Valda Kerekes on 7.14.2009 at 11:36 PM

Amy's Mum - enjoying you travel

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Hi Valda, have to confess, we are too!  It's the journey of a life time for us.  Thanks for reading the blog and leaving a comment.