Saturday, 29 December 2007

RAT RACE







We jokingly refer to ourselves as "Desert Rats", and by the time we reached Wadi Halfa we certainly looked (and probably smelt) the part. The "road" North from Dongola along the Nile consisted mainly of corrugated and sandy tracks, and the Northerly breeze blew stronger than ever. At Argo we crossed to the Eastern bank of the river by means of a small ferry after waiting for the skipper to finish his prayers. Most days we cycled untill sunset as we were keen to board the weekly ferry accross the border on the 26th (Wadi Halfa is not the place to be spending a whole week waiting for the next ferry). Another concern was that our Sudanese visa's had already expired - attempts in Khartoum for an extention were fruitless. As it turned out we reached Wadi Halfa on Xmas day, and our Xmas present was that we could cycle on the newly-built tarred road for about half of the distance which we did on that day. Out in the desert the nights (and particularly early am) were rather chilly, but once on the bike one soon warmed up again. We splashed out a bit and booked a cabin on the ferry to Aswan, which turned out to be a rather pleasant overnight trip along Lake Nasser. Despite all the "red tape" surrounding Sudanese customs and immigration, our expired visa's went completely unnoticed (we breathed a sigh of relief). Arriving in Egypt it feels as if we're suddenly in a different world. Here in Aswan there are bus loads of tourists (a rare sight in Sudan), and the dozens of luxury hotel ships are moored 3-deep along the banks of the Nile. The locals are friendly enough, but the price of any item purchased involves a lot of aggressive haggling (and even then one has to ensure that you get what you paid for, and that the change is correct). We now plan to spend a couple of days in Aswan before proceeding towards Cairo (probably via the Red Sea). Wishing everyone a belated Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year. Daily distances cycled since Dongola were:- Kerma 54; Khali 53; Abujara 52; Abri 72; Akasha 74; Desert Station 59; Wadi Halfa 72; and Ferry Port to Aswan 18 km.

1 comment:

Martin said...

Hey guys!

Great to meet you on the ferry! Just to let you know that I'm staying at... the Nubian Oasis Hotel - just to stick to tradtitions... in Luxor, and there's a decent roof terrace here where we could welcome the new year with a few Stellas! Think you'll make it? Would love to hook up again.

Oh and Ernest... did you know that you look a lot younger now as a Desert Rat than on that "sheepish" photo? Funny, isn't it!?

Martin - Norwegian
www.freewilltravel.com
martinvoll@gmail.com