Trout Pouts and Eejitians…

October 16, 2008

Sorry Chums, no pictures this time, I will insert them when I find an internet service not powered by hamsters…….

Saturday 4th Oct.

We left Alex behind with nary a backward glance and headed for Cairo with fluttering stomachs.  Mine was due to lingering Siwa Squirts, but Sean’s was surely the prospect of facing further Egyptian metropolis traffic carnage.  In spite of this a couple of hours later we approached the outskirts of Cairo.  After only a couple of stops for directions we’re heading the right way and lo and behold, the pyramids hove into view behind the crumbling apartment blocks. 

Pyramids through the murk

Pyramids through the murk

Finding the site was the easy part, over the next few days various embassies do their best to evade us.  Our first attempt coincided with the 6th October national holiday, when Egypt commemorates their short lived thrashing of Israel in 1973.  Move on people!! 

 

 

 

 

 

I also managed to inhale a good quantity of DEET insect repellent the previous evening and have come up in a blindingly itch rash, and a huge trout pout.  It’s a toss up between whether I look more like Pete Burns or Rio Ferdinand. Either way, not a good look.

The next day, when we do find Sudan, they tell us that we should have gone to Ethiopia first.  The Ethiopian Embassy has moved several times in recent years, and so it takes us 2 hot and very cross hours to find it.  By the time we get to Ethiopian Embassy, we submit out applications and are told to come back the next day.

On Day 3 of the great Visa hunt Ethiopia comes up with the goods almost straight away, but after a bit of faffing back at Sudan, we are told that we’ll have to pick our visas up on Sunday.  It’s now Wednesday.  We can’t stand another day in Cairo.  Frustrated & knackered we head to the Egyptian Museum for a bit of obligatory culture, before returning to the campsite, and later heading out for a splendid dinner at ‘Andreas’ which I am just a bit too tired to enjoy fully.

Thursday 9th October

Desperate for some pollution-free air we head for the Ras Mohammed National Park on the Sinai Peninsula.  On the way we stopped off briefly in Suez, to see if we could spot a ship coming through the canal, but failed.  Ras Mohammed is very close to Sharm el Sheik so we nip in quickly and buy some new footwear for Sean, his Nazareth Knockabouts having fallen to pieces in the Siwa Bad Parking debacle. 

We arrived at Ras Mohammed just before sunset, and experienced a slight delay whilst wrangling over ingress with the teenage national service security force.  It was worth it.  There is no one else here, we found a beach between low outcrops and struck camp, just us and the stars and the striped hyena (really a dog).

Oh we do like to be beside the sea side!

Oh we do like to be beside the sea side!

We have enjoyed awesome snorkelling here, the coral is beautiful, and literally yards off the beach.  In two days we’ve seen a huge Moray eel, a turtle, sting and spotted eagle rays and today we even found Nemo.

Before arrival of French & Austrian tour group

Before arrival of French & Austrian tour group

 
 
 

 

The only downside has been that our seclusion has been violated.  An Egyptian desert safari operator has set up camp around us, and groups of Austrian and French tourists have arrived.  They both seem quite bemused as to what we’re doing here, but it’s given us something funny to watch, and the Egyptians insist on feeding us by way of compensation. 

 

 

 

Monday 13th October

Back in Cairo, our 4th visit to the Sudanese Embassy proves only partially successful.  We are relieved of $200 and told to come back at 2pm tomorrow.  Crikey, I used the full range of my expletive vocabulary once safely out of earshot of the embassy. We were so disappointed to have to come back again. By way of compensation we took ourselves off for a good lunch.

The Eejitian I was referring to

The Eejitian I was referring to

I should have mentioned that before all this we visited the Pyramids. I am aware that I am a complete philistine, but I don’t feel that I gained much from it, everything was exactly what I had expected but smaller, which I think is the opposite reaction to most people.   The exception was the Solar Barque, a boat found buried outside Cheops’ pyramid, which I was largely unaware of before.

 

 

 

 

 

Seem familiar??

Seem familiar??

 

 

Sean said that 20 years ago the whole visiting the Pyramids experience was much more frenetic, and that by comparison they are now sanitised, as all the touts, camels and horses are kept largely away by the tourist police.

 

 

Things I like about Cairo: there are completely undeveloped lush green islands still in the middle of the Nile, and that the banks of the Nile are still green in most places. The call to prayer echoes over the city in a wall of sound as all the different mosques get into their groove.  The food is gorgeous; I could live off meze for a long time before I got bored (just as well…)  Horses look really big in comparison to all the tiny donkeys. Not even in Delhi would you find herds of goats & sheep on the main roads.  The Egyptians have been lovely people, and most have gone out of their way to help us for nothing, we have only had 2 requests for baksheesh, both of which were preposterous, and ignored.

 

Wednesday 15th October

 

Random thing I have noticed today: all the lightbulbs I have seen are the ‘eco’ ones. And this in a country where you can’t see for plastic bag litter and you can’t buy rechargeable batteries.

 

Stayed overnight in Bawiti, in Bahariyya oasis.  The only reason for stopping here was to use the internet, and there was no working internet anywhere in town.

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2 Responses to “Trout Pouts and Eejitians…”

  1. Gary Francis said

    Trout pout indeed! I expect Sean simply took a liking to one of those very pretty camels they have in Egypt and you felt the need to compete. Camel-pout Thaxter has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?

  2. Nats & mum said

    Oh my god, how frustrating with the visa situation! All the hard work will pay off soon when your both surrounded by lush green surroundings ad lions, keep your chins up, lots of love, Nats x x x

    Mum says: shame I won’t get a Christmas cake this year Luce! Enjoying the website, shame about the disappointments, but i’m sure you’ll be rewarded. Watch out for the animals! I Want to see you back in one piece! Love you loads, mum x x x

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