Tag Archives: egypt

Impressions of Egypt

We have been in Egypt now for almost three weeks, and it would be hard to detail all our experiences as there have been so many.  Even keeping a diary has been hard work as it has been a full time experience as well!  Not a moment has been with out it’s own story and a name to put to it, and to all the people we have met, thank you so much!  We have fallen in love with you all and the country that you represent so well.

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Egypt is a land of extreme contrasts, but what is consistent the whole way through is that the people are simply kind and helpful.  However, even with in that that there is contrast, as on the one hand you have your every day person who will bend over backwards to help you, for no other reason than it gives them pleasure to do so.  On the other hand you have the tourist touts, who are the same, but they want to make you pay for it.  Sadly this is tourism the world over, and not exclusive to Egypt.  However, it does let the side down.

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A simple example of this was walking down the road in Aswan and a man starts to follow and talk, asking where we are from etc.  I say that I’m not interested in what he is selling, and I say it several times, but he insists that he is not selling anything (making me feel aware even more that I am a mark that he is working on) eventually he says as many will do – I’m only wanting to make you happy, to have a good time in Egypt.  So I replied that it was difficult to do that with someone following me making me feel uncomfortable.  At this point he left us and we could breath again.  What was he selling?  hotel rooms (his friend he knows and an uncle over there and maybe good price if I’m not happy where we are staying right now)

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Yet even with in this constant desperation of the tourist worker there is still positive experiences to be found.  Our guide at the pyramids ended up taking us to his home for tea, meeting his lovely wife N’agua, lent some trousers for sofia to wear on the horses and we left with an offer to stay with them should we return.  Just nice easy hospitality that was over and above the call of financial need.

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The most amazing welcome and generosity we experienced though, was from the bikers of Egypt which all started with Omar Alfardy offering us a place to stay in Alexandria.  From there came the Alexandria Free Bikers, the Golden Riders, and the Soul Seekers and perhaps most importantly George Spartant, who helped us get our bike out of port, and became organiser extrordinaire buy organising the TV crew in Alexandria, with a ride out and visit to the fort, and escort out of Alex, across Cairo (in rush hour), a place to stay in New Cairo, before our onward journey to Hurgada, where Elena and the Soul Seekers, and Mohamed picked up the riens, with Mohamed seeing us through to Aswan, our final stop before our boarder run down to Abu Simble and Sudan.

Even bikers with out group association were there ready to help when we needed guidance through a town after stopping for fuel, or finding a hotel.  No bakshish required, it was just a pleasure for them to help.

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Some may argue that we have been extremely lucky, and yes in many respects we have, however, I don’t think any visitor to this country would need to try very hard to find this kind genuine side to Egypt.  Once you let go of trying to control your experience of the country it opens up into an amazing technicolor of people and lives and relationships, an energy that is constantly moving and can carry you to those places that you really came to see an experience when you imagined travel to distant lands.

 

 

Arriving In Africa – Culture Shock!

Finally we were on our way to Africa!  Happy to be leaving European winter as the weather in Athens started to deteriorate.

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Wind and rain in Athens

I was very excited and very terrified all in a bundle mixed up in my stomach.  Sofia was more focused on the immediate event of flying in an airplane – she hasn’t been on one since she was 3yrs old.

We checked in early, got charged an arm and a leg for being overweight (all tools etc weren’t allowed to go with the bike)  and finally, half asleep, we found ourselves boarding the plane.

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The motorbike checked in for its journey by boat.

Sofia didn’t want the window seat to begin with but after  a while – she forgot her fear and as we landed in Cairo, the bet was on as to who could spot a pyramid first.  Neither of us did, but it became the game until we finally saw them. The first to spot the sphinx got bonus points. 

We arrived in Egypt at 2am in the morning and having arranged airport transfer, it was a little disoncerting for it not to be there when we arrived. Another taxi obligingly phoned the hotel and 10mins later and wheezing driver arrived.  I wasn’t sure he would be able to get bags into his car boot (trunk) but despite apparent health problems he managed to sling them in.

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On our way to the Pyramids

And then we were off!  At about 100mph the driver sped down the motorway.  Not a huge concern immediately, however as we came into town the expectation that he would slow down was sorely miss placed!  Oh did I mention he was on the phone constantly as well?

One near miss and I went ballistic.   He laughed.  At least he stopped using the phone.  But I can’t say he slowed down or that I felt any safer.

Finally at the hotel, we checked in and headed for some much needed sleep.  That never really came for me as all I could think about was how on earth I was going to drive on Egyptian roads! 

Realising I was in culture shock and in no doubt Sofia would be feeling it too with the noise of horns, general traffic, and people that was in full flow by 9am, I dragged her out onto the streets to speed up the aclimatisation process.

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Good times

One can always question the wisdom of mixing culture shock with lack of sleep and the results were getting back to the hotel by midday with Sofia fusing about flies and mozi bites and me feeling like a battered tourist.  That afternoon I decided the sooner we out of the city and back on the road the better,  culture shock or not, Cairo is not a place a tourist can ever really feel comfortable. 

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Sofia nervous and off balance to start was soon looking very comfortable on a horse

The following day, a good night’s sleep away and the promise of pyramids saw both Sofia and I up early.  Glad we had gone out the previous day as we were both much more prepared to be ‘tourists’.

We had a wonderful day that took is not only to the pyramids and horse rides to the desert, but to the ally ways of the supporting town where we met our guide’s family, who were fantastic hosts and invited us back for a meal the following day.

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Our guide Ruby

Both Sofia and returned to the hotel feeling full of of experiences and far more certain that we have a fantastic journey ahead of us.

We have not been able to attract financial sponsors for this journey to raise awareness for autism – we rely entirely on you donations – please click the following link to donate and share.  Thank you.

http://m.virginmoneygiving.com/mt/uk.virginmoneygiving.com/charity-web/charity/finalCharityHomepage.action?charityId=1005498

Ps.  Pls let me know if you experience any formatting issues with this post.  Done from my phone so I can only see the android results.  Thx.

Arriving In Africa – Culture Shock!

Finally we were on our way to Africa!  Happy to be leaving European winter as the weather in Athens started to deteriorate.

image
Wind and rain in Athens

I was very excited and very terrified all in a bundle mixed up in my stomach.  Sofia was more focused on the immediate event of flying in an airplane – she hasn’t been on one since she was 3yrs old.

We checked in early, got charged an arm and a leg for being overweight (all tools etc weren’t allowed to go with the bike)  and finally, half asleep, we found ourselves boarding the plane.

image
The motorbike checked in for its journey by boat.

Sofia didn’t want the window seat to begin with but after  a while – she forgot her fear and as we landed in Cairo, the bet was on as to who could spot a pyramid first.  Neither of us did, but it became the game until we finally saw them. The first to spot the sphinx got bonus points. 

We arrived in Egypt at 2am in the morning and having arranged airport transfer, it was a little disoncerting for it not to be there when we arrived. Another taxi obligingly phoned the hotel and 10mins later and wheezing driver arrived.  I wasn’t sure he would be able to get bags into his car boot (trunk) but despite apparent health problems he managed to sling them in.

image
On our way to the Pyramids

And then we were off!  At about 100mph the driver sped down the motorway.  Not a huge concern immediately, however as we came into town the expectation that he would slow down was sorely miss placed!  Oh did I mention he was on the phone constantly as well?

One near miss and I went ballistic.   He laughed.  At least he stopped using the phone.  But I can’t say he slowed down or that I felt any safer.

Finally at the hotel, we checked in and headed for some much needed sleep.  That never really came for me as all I could think about was how on earth I was going to drive on Egyptian roads! 

Realising I was in culture shock and in no doubt Sofia would be feeling it too with the noise of horns, general traffic, and people that was in full flow by 9am, I dragged her out onto the streets to speed up the aclimatisation process.

image
Good times

One can always question the wisdom of mixing culture shock with lack of sleep and the results were getting back to the hotel by midday with Sofia fusing about flies and mozi bites and me feeling like a battered tourist.  That afternoon I decided the sooner we out of the city and back on the road the better,  culture shock or not, Cairo is not a place a tourist can ever really feel comfortable. 

image
Sofia nervous and off balance to start was soon looking very comfortable on a horse

The following day, a good night’s sleep away and the promise of pyramids saw both Sofia and I up early.  Glad we had gone out the previous day as we were both much more prepared to be ‘tourists’.

We had a wonderful day that took is not only to the pyramids and horse rides to the desert, but to the ally ways of the supporting town where we met our guide’s family, who were fantastic hosts and invited us back for a meal the following day.

image
Our guide Ruby

Both Sofia and returned to the hotel feeling full of of experiences and far more certain that we have a fantastic journey ahead of us.

We have not been able to attract financial sponsors for this journey to raise awareness for autism – we rely entirely on you donations – please click the virgin money link on the left of this page and donate and share! Thankyou!

3 Months and 25 Days to Launch

We have a leaving date for our project!  10th November 2015.  Yes, you might notice it is a little sooner than original date being generally in December.  The reason for this is primarily because the window of opportunity to get through Egypt is starting to close, and this is the earliest date I am comfortable with in terms of what needs to happen before then.

Doubtless to say this will put me under pressure to get the money raised and be ready with a good plan, but the flip side to this is that I will be dedicated to the task as of August.  As a very minimum we are needing £10,000 to get to Egypt, and a bit further beyond so please help anyway you can including spreading the word to as many people as possible!

I am currently working on a location in East London to launch from, and will update information on the our FaceBook page.

Donations can be made to http://www.gofundme.com/africawithautism

UK tax payers can donate to https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-web/donate/makeDonationForCharityDisplay.action?charityId=1005498&frequencyType=S for tax deduction and Gift Aid.

Thank you for you support!