|Friday 1st June - Jordan - Aqaba to Egypt - Dahab
Today was very trying.
We wanted to get on the ferry to Nuweiba, which was due to leave Aqaba at noon and arrive in Egypt at 1pm. We had checked with the ferry terminal last night and were advised to be at the terminal for 10am.That is the theory.
The reality was a masterclass in the art of inefficiency.
Here is a timeline for today.
09.30 Arrive at ferry terminal and go to get tickets
09.45 Realise that all payments are to be made in cash. Drive into Aqaba to find an ATM.
10.30 Return with cash, buy tickets and pay departure taxes. Then wait.
12.00 Still waiting.
14.00 Still waiting.
16.00 Still waiting.
16.30 Move the car up to the ferry. Rearrange the position of the car numerous times.
17.30 Drive car on to the ferry. Wait for the ferry to move.
18.30 Ferry leaves the port and limps about in the bay.
19.00 Ferry arrives back at the port (there wasnt sufficient fuel for the crossing)
19.30 Ferry leaves Aqaba again.
20.50 Ferry arrives in Nuweiba. Everyone moves towards their cars but passage is blocked by officials. A list is consulted. Ismail Abdullah! is shouted the length of the boat. Ismail doesnt appear. List is consulted again. Mohammed Mahmoud! is shouted the length of the boat. Mohammed doesnt appear. Everybody waits. Keziah falls asleep in Andrews arms.
21.00 Official appears and tells everyone to sit down again. We (calmly and quietly) point out to him that we are now 8 hours late. Everyone else starts arguing (angrily and noisily) with the official. We are quite glad to see this actually as we cant believe that the other customers are taking all these delays without any complaint. Naomi falls asleep in my arms.
21.10 Everyone starts to move down the stairs. Nobody is allowed to their cars. We decide to ignore this command and clamber our way to the car (over boxes and bags), carrying the two girls.
21.30 Drive car off the boat towards a vehicle checking point.
22.10 Vehicle checks completed, proceed to other officials to get car insurance, Egyptian visas, Egyptian number plates and numerous unidentifiable bits of important paper.
23.45 Leave Nuweiba port.
01.00 Arrive at Dahab and view a few accommodation options.
01.45 Decide to stay at the New Sphinx hotel. Wait for additional bed to be put into our room. Transfer girls & luggage to room.
02.00 Bed, blissful sleep!
I should say that despite all of todays frustrations there were some glimmers of light. The girls coped with it amazingly well. Their diet today was awful as there was no food for sale on the boat and only snacks for sale at the terminal so all we ate was crisps, biscuits, lollipops (ie rubbish). Even children get bored of eating that sort of stuff! There were times when the girls cried a little about one thing or another but they were very good and made very little fuss about things.
We managed to remain calm. We soon realised that getting angry was only going to frustrate us more and wasnt going to change the circumstances at all. Lots of deep breaths were breathed.
We met some lovely, kind people. When we were waiting to board the ferry a man in a car next to ours gave the girls chocolates and then let them choose some hair bands from the gifts he was taking home for his own daughter. Lots of passengers on the boat wanted to take photos of the girls. Naomi sat beside one very kind man and chatted to him a lot. She wasnt the best conversationalist but she did say I two, Keh-yah four about a dozen times. One very helpful official at Nuweiba guided us through the bureaucracy required it would have been completely impossible without him.
And finally we are in a beautiful spot with a lovely room opening on to a pool area and then straight down to the sea. Its costing us about