17km – Aswan to Ferry on Lake Nasser.
Get ready for a few updates. No 3G network in Sudan means that I have a few days to catch you up on – and what a few days!!!
Our last morning in Egypt began like all the rest, with call to prayer super early in the morning. But this morning, it was followed by fresh falafal and fuul (beans) before our convoy ride to the ferry on Lake Nasser. It was absolutely incredible to cross the Aswan Dam (closed to traffic for us)… so beautiful.
The rest of the morning was a chaotic scene going through customs and inspections and then onloading all our bikes and bags on the “ferry”. Imagine a “line” four people wide trying to get over one brow, each carrying boxes, bags, bikes, pushing, yelling and all in extreme heat.
Our group was in first class which meat we had a place to store our things in cabins but because we were so many people, many of us made our space topside on the open deck. Teamwork was essentially to camp out a spot. The locals were experienced and built themselves “walls” out of the goods that they were carrying from Egypt to Sudan and placed their blankets in the middle. We were not so efficient, but Scott and Paul still put a tarp down and then strung another for a sun shade and thus had our little spot.
With our spot staked out, we climbed over the railing and sat next to the life rafts to watch the cargo onload… refrigerators, air conditioners, tv stands, mystery bags all got dumped onto the barge from little guys running around with big carts. No order or stacking – CHAOS!
When the sun got too intense, I went below and grabbed some dinner of fuul, pita, hardboiled egg, and cheese. When I came topside, the evening call to prayer came and the men asked us to remove our tarps since it was the most accessible spot to pray. We gladly did and 20 men prayed in three shifts.
Then the seven of us hopped into sleeping bags across four air matresses to see the most brilliant star show ever!! It was GORGEOUS! Glad that we had such entertainment because heavy sleep wasn’t possible due to the number of people walking by through the night stepping around heads and boxes. The most interesting was a group of men who staked out a good spot early, but as soon as prayer was over, they escorted three women and one child into the spot. In the moning, they switched places and the women went below while the men slept (or tried to).
The sun came up and the locals immediately started moving boxes to prepare to unload. We all stayed snug in the bags (it is really cold here at night) and I took pictures of people’s faces in the morning light. Breakfast in bed of chocolate bars, oranges, peanuts, and mint coffee (served on a silver platter in glasses – tres posh!) and then the tarp came back out because the sun became too intense. I passed the morning chatting and making a duct tape wallet before it was time to pack up – TOOT – shift colors – SUDAN!!!
I don’t have pictures up yet, but check out my friend, Kristean’s site: http://www.flickr.com/pletten