So, breakfast done, I hit the road. I followed the coastal road south before turning north-west to cross The Sinai north of St. Katherine and Mt. Sinai. I passed a few police check points, but was pretty much left alone to enjoy the ride. Coming up to The Suez Canal, then heading straight west had me hit a bit more security, but still not enough to be more than slightly annoying. So, hitting Cairo, things looked good- and actually got better. The Cairo traffic was just as busy as I’d heard, but easy and fairly polite to navigate- just follow their rules and you’ll get where your going without too much muss or fuss.
Spending a few days in Cairo to see the sights and get a Sundanese visa was fun- the touts were all of the fairly generic types, The Cairo Museum was fantastic, and the street food was pretty hard to beat. So, when I checked out my hotel, I was still rockin’ on Egypt and looking forward to a couple of weeks to explore as I headed South.
Check-out was the beginning of my re-education in the ways of Egypt. I was informed that the ‘included’ breakfast wasn’t and was quite expensive. Nothing like having to pay for a few days of crappy continental breakfasts that you only ate because they were ‘free’ to put you in a good mood for the day. Ah well, The Giza Pyramids were next so…
I could get screwed again. “No sir, you cannot park your motorcycle in the parking.” “No, this parking is only for the cars.” “If you would park over there I could arrange for it.” Yeah- pay me and buddy (both wearing government uniforms and directing traffic within the Pyramid area) or you have to leave your bike in seedy Giza. Okay fine. So, I go to park and…
Shit!! Really, is there anyone who works at Giza who isn’t completely corrupt? You name it, they tried it- ‘they’ of course being the government employees who worked at the site. I ended up just being too nervous to leave my bike for long (since “the parking isn’t safe for your bike. Maybe I can watch for you, if not someone cause problem maybe…”) and really wanting to see what a blue uniform would look like covered in bike tracks. Lots of bike tracks.
I did manage a picture before I called it a day and decided to move on to the desert.
The desert move was initially a success. Small road riding down to The Faiyum Oasis where I could check out the waterfall and start riding in the desert proper before following a small road to the big Western Desert road.
This simple, innocent, plan proved to be my downfall. I unknowingly hit the Western Desert road between two police check points, causing a bit of a stir when I hit the second check point, which hadn’t been informed that a single foreign rider was on his way. This meant that I had to have a police escort as I rode. By escort, I mean a truck with 3 guys carrying AK-47s riding in front of me and making sure that anyone thinking of causing trouble knew a tourist was around. The Western Desert is normally just fine for independent travellers, but I had managed to muck it up for myself.
Back on The Nile road, I hoped to dump the escort and then find my way back into the desert. Alas, it was not to be- dusk was quickly turning into evening and it was time to call it a day.