(Day 42) Wadi Halfa to Aswan – 11 May 2011
Distance for the day – 356 km
Odometer – 12 928 km
Hours on the Bike – 00:00
Donations up to date for Adelaide Hospital – R 129 756.50
The long awaited day of departure from Wadi Halfa has finally arrived! We are exited and are ready to take on the 18 hour journey with the Famous Ferry that nobody ever wants to go on if they could help it. Richard was pacing the Hotel Room while Stelious had a last minute nap. Everybody experienced the build up differently and Wadi Halfa was ready to run empty again before the next Ferry arrives.
We met Magdi at the docks where we had to get on the ship and then got the news we were all waiting for. He has managed to secure a place on the ferry for our three motorbikes. The Ferry was not that full and an exception was made. It was fantastic news, because it meant that we would not have to wait the normal wait for the bikes to arrive with Barge, which would only arrive two days later. Richard nearly kissed Magdi and his pacing up and down now changed in to a hop skip and jump. We were unable to get hour first class cabins, with bunks to sleep and air conditioning, but we did not care, our day could not have started better.
We waited till all passengers and luggage were on board before we loaded our bikes. We first had to drain all petrol, because of a fire hazard and then secured them in the entrance area at the bottom of the boat and then found a place outside on the top deck where we prepared ourselves for the journey to follow. At 16:00 we left the Port of Wadi Halfa with a nice cool breeze in our faces, heading north to Aswan.
The Ferry ride it self was uneventful but the filth and dirt is unbearable. People spit everywhere and the bathroom facilities are at the highest level of disgust that we have experienced so far. Basins are blocked and the smell drives you in to the fresh air outside. The second class area is cramped with locals that have occupied every seat and the dinning room area is a buzz of passengers, claiming their one free meal. How it is organized nobody knows, without a lunch ticket or token. Everybody was happy to sacrifice their free meal to avoid the dining area, but Rufus was curious to experience the “Captains Treat”. He later reported that it was very basic and typical Sudanese style but not that bad with the right mind set.
Richard secured a secluded spot on top of the bridge area, away from all the dirt and in the afternoon breeze. He now had time to go through his things and reorganize. He suddenly went pale and was scratching through his entire luggage to find what was clearly something important that he desperately needed – his Passport! “No!, this is not happening to me!” he was thinking. “Am I the second guy to have lost my Passport?” “What now!” He could not find it anywhere and had to break the news to the group. He was clearly upset and shocked at the same time. “Bennett, wake up!” Rufus shouted. “Remember they took all our Passports when we boarded the ship and threw it in a big cardboard box.” Richard was lame and could not speak a word. It felt so unreal.
The Ferry was visited by an Egyptian Coast Guard after crossing the Egyptian boarder and continued into the night with only the deep sound of the diesel engines driving us on with the soft relaxing sound of the water coming off the side of the bow.
We passed the city of Abu Simbel just after dark which we unfortunately could not see well. This City remains one of Egypt’s top tourist attractions. It has the twin temples which were originally carved out of the mountainside during the reign of Pharaoh Ramesses II in the 13th century BC, as a lasting monument to himself and his queen Nefertari, to commemorate his alleged victory at the Battle of Kadesh, and to intimidate his Nubian neighbours. However, the complex was relocated in its entirety in 1968, on an artificial hill made from a domed structure, high above the Aswan High Dam reservoir.
The relocation of the temples was necessary to avoid their being submerged during the creation of Lake Nasser, the massive artificial water reservoir formed after the building of the Aswan High Dam on the Nile River.