Dahab to Cairo

We were up at 6:15 this morning to pack our stuff in preparation for the eight hour hell bus ride across the Sinai to Cairo. We walked out into the main intersection of the village and as we were looking for a cab to the bus station we found a cabby who said he’s take us all the way to Cairo for the same price as the bus, but in five hours instead of eight. We agreed and after finding three more people (two Canadian guys and a Danish girl) we piled into his mini-wagon and headed off towards Cairo. We had a laugh about the fact that we were able to find a taxi willing to drive us over 300 miles for five hours. I don’t know what that’s called, but I don’t think it’s a taxi! Our driver borrowed one of the Danish girl’s cassettes and once he’d heard the song “Rhythm is a Dancer” he rewound the song and turned on his amplifier so the car would really thump. There we were racing through the desert with this European music thumping out the windows like we were a group of deaf rappers or something.

The Sinai is completely devoid of all life, and as we were getting closer to the Suez canal I saw the wreckage of what appeared to be tanks which had been destroyed by either war games or the Egyptian Israeli war in 1967. {CHECK DATE} Just before the tunnel going under the Suez we were stopped at a police checkpoint. They asked us for our passports, which they took and spread out across the hood of the car and began looking at them. They flipped through the pages, reading the entry and exit stamps for interest’s sakes. After a while our cab driver joined the cops in flipping through the travel documents. When they got to Rich’s passport the cop walked over to the car with Rich’s passport, looked at Rich, then pointed to the passport picture with a questioning look on his face. He then asked Rich if this was his passport – I guess the two week old beard Rich had been growing really confused him. Rich gave an affirmative answer and the police moved back to the hood of the car to check out some more passports. It seemed the entire purpose of the check point was to entertain the cops who sit there all day long. They stopped us, had a giggle at our passport photos and then sent us on our way.

We finally made it to Cairo where Rich and I tried to book a flight out of Egypt that evening, but there weren’t any flights to Nairobi for two days. We checked into the Hotel des Roses (which was definitely nothing special for the price) and dumped our bags. Sarah had a few hours in Cairo before she had to fly out to London. We got a cab out to the bazaar again where Sarah bought two large copper pots for US$80. She figured she could ship them back in her tea chests. We made it back to Tahir Square where Sarah used the rest of her Egyptian money to but us a bottle of rum to keep us busy in Cairo for the next couple of days.

The time finally came and we walked Sarah down and hailed her a cab to the airport. I bid her farewell and told her I’d look forward to seeing her in New Zealand. She and I had a brilliant time in London and an even better time in Egypt – we always seem to have the most fun when we’re together. As I’ve said before there are a few images which stands out in my mind more than others, and as I sit here writing this on November 11, 1993 I will never forget the image of Sarah getting into her cab and looking over her shoulder to smile good-bye to me as she climbed in.

After Sarah had headed off to the airport Rich and I sat out on our balcony looking across downtown Cairo, drinking cocktails and relaxing.

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