First Day In Egypt, Egypt

Full Toilets Leads To VIP Room

| Egypt

My front light dimly lights up the road. I hug the rear shoulder of the Dutch campervan ahead to try and get out of the glare of the red tail lights but piggy back on their front lights. We drove down to the ferry terminal, arriving in good time to start the customs procedure. Just like entering Jordan, it was a well oiled machine, and we were able to check our vehicles and ourselves out of Jordan with little hassle and money. It was nice to share the experience with another overlander, drinking a beer inside their camper as we waited to be allowed to load up at 12pm.

 
When the chimes struck twelve we drove into the customs compound and slowly underwent all the customs checks and then the waiting began again. While we queued amongst Mercedes cars bound for Libya, we befriended the drivers and more time slipped past us. Finally two hours had past and we were at the front of the queue but we were told to park off to one side and wait for another 30 minutes.  Fully clothed in my motorcycle gear I was still hopping around my bike to keep warm as the morning air temperature dropped further.  When all the cars and small trucks had been loaded we were told to drive on board and park our vehicles.

 
As we climbed the steps to the deck above my motorcycle, my first priority was to find the women’s toilet. There wasn’t that many women aboard, in fact I had only counted about ten including me, so hopefully the toilets will be in good shape. After hunting the ship for a good ten minutes I finally discover the only toilet for women on board. Opening up all three stalls I discover they were completely full to the brim with urine or shit. Great, I thought to myself, I am so desperate to go to the toilet, but how can I add my own without getting my own bottom wet with other peoples urine? It was impossible, so I thought I might go and complain – how could the toilets be broken before the boat even leaves?

 
I found the man in charge, who found a boy to come into the toilet to see what the problem was. They discovered there isn’t any water to flush away the full toilets so they guided me to another place, the V.I.P room. As they opened up the door, I saw nice seats, couches and beautiful tables. Not many people must know about this place as it wasn’t full yet. I quickly peed into a clean toilet which also didn’t flush and ran to find Wim and  Annelies. Dragging them off the cold wind swept deck, I showed them the land of comfort with the other fellow truck drivers. Sitting in a corner with our own chairs, table and couch waiting for the boat to leave we talked amongst ourselves until I couldn’t hold a conversation anymore and at 4 am, I lay on the ground in the corner and fell asleep.

 

I woke just in time to see the boat dock in the port of Nuweiba at 7am in the morning. By nine o’clock we were still waiting to get off the boat! People were starting to get angry and fights with the crew were breaking out. Eventually they let us go one by one, but when I got down to the deck I found my bike was parked down the back behind all the trucks stinking the place out with carbon dioxide. I waited patiently while they all left before I could join the campervan in the fresh air and warm sunshine.

 
First on my list of chores to do was my visa. I had to buy a visa at the bank for $15 and take the visa to the run down building called the immigration office.  A few minutes later I had my passport once again in my hand and I was free to start the customs paper work with my motorcycle. While I was gone, someone had done a carbon rubbing of my chassis number which cost 5EP ($0.80 USD), a crazy price for nothing, but they liked to play these games.  We were then told to go to the copy place and get everything copied. We just handed over our passports, carnet, drivers licence and it all got copied a hundred times, they grouped them into some sort of system and gave us a pretty folder to put it all into all for the cost of 30EP ($5 USD). Next stop was the insurance man, well we thought it was the insurance man, but it turned out to be the Egyptian licence man. We paid this man for a month’s worth of insurance or what turned out to be our licence around 250EP ($40 USD).  Next stop was the fire man, he checks all the cars for fire extinguishers. Of course I didn’t need one, but he still handed me a tiny piece of paper.

 
So back to the customs man who rifles through all the paper work and makes sure you have everything, whoops, it seems as if my visa doesn’t say how long I have in the country.Back to the immigration office and then back to the photocopy place then back to see him. In the mean time  Annelies  has made me a cup of coffee and handed it to me while I am still waiting for the customs man to give me a docket to take to the cashier to pay for the customs stamp. I pay the man, and back to customs who stamps my carnet and tells me to go and get my Egyptian number plates, I pay him some more money, take my plates and I am now home free, able to leave this customs compound if it wasn’t for the fact we are surrounded by cars going through the same procedure.

 
The next surprise to come out of the camper was a plate of eggs and bread and another coffee. Boy, I love this campervan! We sat down and enjoyed our breakfast watching all the drivers run around getting their paper work sorted. The only thing left to do was to fix our number plates to our vehicles and Wim was getting excited to use his power drill he’s been carrying! I personally think I struck it lucky teaming up with these amazing people. It a pity we are going separate ways as soon as we get to leave this area.

 
Eventually the cars move aside, we get our passports and carnets checked once again and we are on our way. I stop at a petrol station to fill with petrol, surprised to discover a tank of fuel only cost 9 EP ($1.5USD). Boy I’m going to love this country! I made my way to St Catherine’s where I was due to meet my friend Dru from New Zealand there tonight. But along the way I met another overlander, who invited me into their luxury spacious camper for tea and avocado on toast! These German travellers have been travelling the globe for many years in different styles, but before I could hear all the tales we decided to move on to St Catherine’s before it got dark and talk later that night. However, thats not what turned out, the Bediuen camp we had decided to stay in didn’t have internal parking so, they decided to move on but I stayed ready to receive my fourth visitor since beginning this trip.