Day 066 Egypt : St Katherine's - Cairo

Day 066 Egypt

Trip Distance 479 km (298 m) Total Distance 8861 km (5507 m)
Diesel Costs EP1.10 (£0.11!!) The cheapest yet  
Toll Fees EP2 Suez Tunnel  
Stopover
Cairo
Salma Camping N29.96973 E31.17452 EP50 including electricity

We arranged for one of Ebrahim's mates to take us by taxi to the monastery.  It was a quick drive, through the same checkpoint as yesterday with the same policeman still trying his luck with other tourists.  We drove on up to the monastery and were dropped off.  With that we went inside.  We aren't able to show you any pictures as all cameras are forbidden as its a working monastery.  So we had to console ourselves with a walk through the chapel and grounds (where there is limited access) and to try and commit it to memory.  It is beautiful.  But the weirdest thing for us were that all the signs were in Greek.  We discovered that its actually a Greek Orthodox monastery - ah mystery over the signs resolved!

Then decided that as the walk to Fox Camp was less than 3kms, we'd ditch the ride back.  We had a gentle saunter back to camp and decided on the spur of the moment, as it was still not even noon, to set off in the direction of Cairo.  Our original intention was to stop and wild camp just before the Suez but on paging through Lonely Planet discovered there was not much going for camping, particularly as it is wind surfing country and the wind blows every day Force 5-6 - not something our roof tent would appreciate, so in deference to it (the roof tent, that is) we continued on the road to Cairo.

The traffic on Cairene roads is as frenetic (and more) than we have ever heard.  Lanes are meaningless, hooters are more on than off, cars and mini buses dice death as they weave from lane to lane.  Stressful!  And it is worse than Istanbul as the drivers seem hell-bent on dying in Cairo and seem to care less that they'll smash into you.  At least in Istanbul they try and avoid an accident (particularly with Sully).

With all the roadworks on the go in Cairo, the GPS (and I!!!) got a bit confused but we were only geographically challenge (in layman's terms : lost...) twice and they were minor.  We arrived 20 minutes later than Nora originally predicted so we were really chuffed.  Salma's Camping is not the easiest to find but if you persevere and use common sense with the GPS, it works out.  The campsite is rather rundown, the showers & loos dirty but management is friendly (Samer - the owner) and although it's not the only campsite in Cairo (see Tracks 4 Africa - Kairo Saharamar Camping), according to the Siza Ikhaya crew who we met whilst doing the visa run, they were staying there and they reckon that it was revolting - your choice although seemingly not much.  Samer has a mate whose a taxi driver (Khalid, mobile: 002 0101516784) who speaks good English, knows the visa routes (for Ethiopia and Sudan each round trip is EP90) and can take you to touristy places for a reasonable price. 

So on to the weather report:  relatively (!!!!) hot at around 35degC but with a cool(ish) breeze, making it bearable.  As the sun sets the breeze cools down the surrounding area and sleeping in the roof tent acceptable.  Although we ran the fan all night, we did need a sheet to cover us.

#1 Rob Thompson on 6.22.2009 at 9:21 AM

Dear Trevor and Jan,

It’s been really great to read your blog. You are both looking wonderful and very relaxed considering the journey you are on. It’s absolutely inspirational!!

It looks like an adventure every day and to see the two of you having some much fun is great!

Can you do me a favour next time you are connected, can you email through your sat phone number so I can give you a ring (I have not tried your mobiles – are they working?)

Have a safe and wonderful journey and I will be in contact soon.

Cheers

Rob

#2 gary on 6.22.2009 at 12:35 PM

I'm really glad you're having a good time in egypt, much better than your last trip to the red sea. Definitely a place to go see the sites.

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We're having a fab time, really.  Off to the Western Desert today (in about 1hrs time after shopping).  Love to T.