|Monday 25th June - Egypt - Aswan to Sudan - Wadi Halfa
This morning Andrew set off to the Traffic Police for 8am for the first of todays bureaucratic hurdles. After waiting for about half-an-hour for the officer to turn up, it surprisingly took only 8 minutes to process the paperwork. From there Andrew made his way with the car to the ferry.
Lake Nassar is about 20km from Aswan - so Willie, the girls and I took a taxi and met Andrew at the port at about 9.30. And so began a long, sometimes interesting and sometimes boring day.
I lost track of what bits of paper we got and from whom. I spent most of my time entertaining the kids while Andrew and Willie did the rounds of officials. I am becoming an expert at dreaming up games that require no props and can be played in boring waiting areas.
There is no space for vehicles on the ferry and so the Landcruiser was to be loaded on a separate cargo barge which will arrive in Sudan 24 hours later than the ferry. Passengers are boarded first, before vehicles, and so we boarded the ferry at about 11am and made our way to our first class cabin. It is fair to say that if presented with such a cabin by CalMac we would all have been most horrified, but in the circumstances we were quite delighted. Our expectations were set very low and we were all dreading a tiny, cramped sweltering cabin, so the fairly spacious, air conditioned reality turned out to be a pleasant surprise.
You wouldnt choose to tarry in the toilets powdering your nose. They werent too disgusting at the start of the journey, but deteriorated horribly as we voyaged on.
Second class passengers have the choice of sleeping on benches in the air conditioned hold or on the deck. Out of the 580 passengers onboard, 8 were Westerners 2 Irish guys (Mark and Danny), 1 Australian (Phil) and our group of 5. Us Westerners appeared to be the passengers with the least amount of luggage. Everyone else seemed to be transporting vast amounts of stuff, either piled up in their cabins or stacked around them on deck or in the hold.
At about 4.30 Andrew was called to put the car onto the barge. It was the only vehicle on the barge, the rest of the space being filled by stacks of boxes piled high. The ferry finally left port about 5pm. A meal was delivered to our cabin soup, meat, vegetable stew, rice, salad, an apple, The food was pretty good, although we are being cautious about what we eat so left some of it.
We spent the hours in the cabin mostly, with occasional walks around the boat. We had taken a few toys that we played with and the girls also watched a couple of movies on the laptop.
Willie had taken out the final 8 episodes of Lost, so after the girls fell asleep Andrew and I watched 2 episodes. It was really strange to be doing something so connected with home while so far away from it.
The girls slept in the top bunk, Willie on the bottom bunk and Andrew and I on the floor. We were all quite comfortable, although if anything we were too cold not what wed expected in the Egypt-Sudan ferry!