Day 45 – Egypt

Location: Hathor Hotel, Aswan

Miles travelled: 2 miles (around town)

Weather: 34ºC – Still Sizzling

Today we mostly listened to: An assortment of Egyptian football chants

The alarm went off early this morning and it was with some trepidation that we travelled back to the office of Mr Saleh to get our ferry ticket.  We had heard from George through our blog that more overlanders were on their way so we were keen to make sure we still had our spot for Monty and that Pim and Git were first on the reserve list.  When we got to his office we met up with a German couple (Anna and Robert), another Dutch pair and also John and Denise from Yorkshire (travelling in their super luxious Land Cruiser).

The formalities were difficult but not as bad as I think they could have been.  After confirming our spot we had to visit the traffic court and police to give back our licence plates and get a slip of paper that said we hadn’t committed any traffic violations.  Only then would Mr Saleh sell us the ticket.  For the benefit of other overlanders reading this we will post a note about how exactly you do all the paperwork in our ‘points about Egypt page’.

So after much to-ing and fro-ing this morning everyone got places on the ferry and whereas before Mr Salah said there were only 3 places on the pontoon, there are now 6 Vehicles going, three on the regular pontoon and three on the cargo ship.  Pim and Git’s car will be on the cargo ship which they load on Sunday, but we will load Monty on Monday morning, just before boarding the ferry.

After a short falafel stop to get some more energy, for once paying the proper Egyptian price of 1 EP and not 10EP,  we chilled out for the afternoon.  Anna and Robert, the German couple, have joined us in the Hathor hotel and much to our delight George turned up, bike in tow at about 5 – it took him 2 days to cycle what took us 3 hours!

We had dinner in the Nubian restaurant we tried to get in to yesterday and it was delicious – although the slogan for the place is ‘the best food money can buy’ – I’m not sure I’d go that far but it was very nice.

Afterwards we stopped off at a coffee shop on the way back to watch the Egyptian/Algerian world cup qualifier.  Git and I got a few strange looks being the only women in there, but attentions were soon diverted back to the football.  It was a pretty tense match and for the first time ever since we have been here the streets of Aswan were completely dead.  All the fellucca captains had vanished and all the horse carts were tied up.  The whole country was watching the match.  The atmosphere was pretty electric the second time Egypt scored – its not quite enough to get them through and a rematch will be played some time next week in Sudan – so maybe we’ll watch it again there….if they have TVs in the desert.

As the game ended the streets filled with guys waving flags (and in one case a flame thrower!) and cars with 10’s of people hanging off the back.  It was quite an awesome site, although I have to admit we retreated to the safe haven of our hotels rooftop to watch it all.  Poor Monty and Mitch were surrounded by around 100 guys at one point but they seem to be okay.  It is now almost 1am and still the horns hoot – I think they will do this all night – quite amazing when you consider they don’t drink beer!

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