January 22, 2010 GMT

We are now just a ferry ride from Sudan, having ridden down the east bank of the Nile to Aswan and a typical (grubby) small hotel in town.

I say 'just', but there are a few things to do.
Find the ferry ticket office to start the process.
Find the Court House to obtain papers confirming we have no fines to pay.
Find police office to return number plates and obtain receipts.
Find the place where we get the number plate money back.
Find the ferry port (about eight miles out of town).
Find the passport control.
Find the customs office for Carnet processing.
Find the barge for vehicles.
Load the bikes.
Find a taxi back to the hotel.
Etc etc.

But first, a bit of a disappointment with the grubby hotel, as we were looking forward to staying for four days at a well-recommended campsite where all the overland travellers stay, 'Adam's Home'.
We met quite a few of them at the Luxor campsite and in the Western Desert. Not least the 'Tour D'Afrique', a group of fifty fairly serious cyclists pedalling from Cairo to Cape Town. They arrived in Cairo just before we departed. (They'll arrive in Cape Town months before us!)
As the ferry is a once-a-week sailing we found that we were all aiming for the same Monday departure and were looking forward to gathering together at Adam's Home here in Aswan for the last few days in Egypt.
But no. Adam's Home is closed. The reason isn't clear but reports on the grapevine suggest there was something amiss with his licence and the police closed him down.

We are now intrigued as to what the crossing will be like with the fifty cyclists aboard plus their considerable support crew and vehicle contingent. Maybe foreigners will outnumber locals which will probably be pretty unusual.

On our ride down the Nile road, strangely, we didn't see much of the river. Where it is close to the road, there's often a dense ribbon of palm trees between river and road blocking the view. But we did have a few magnificent glimpses of the great waterway.
Mainly, the scenes on the road were of the sugar-cane harvest in full swing. Massive trucks, tiny horse carts, tractors pulling three or four trailers, and railway trains large and small filled the way south, stacked high and wide with sugar cane overflowing onto the road and other passing vehicles. The narrow-gauge trains pulling maybe thirty wagons travelled a shade faster than jogging pace. Where the tracks crossed the roads, dozens of locals ran alongside, each one taking a firm hold of the ends of the dangling canes (about 10 feet long and two inches diameter), and dug their heels in firmly hoping to pull the canes from the wagon as it trundled on. Each cane, after passing twice through a sturdy steel mangle, will yield a few litres of cane juice, sold in juice bars all over Egypt.

Our route took us past Edfu, so we crossed the Nile there to enter the town and visit the Edfu Temple. Billed in the guide books as the most elaborate and best-preserved ancient temple in Egypt.
And it was. Far overshadowing those at Luxor and Karnak which we had viewed a few days before.

"Old Stones Fatigue" is setting in. As one of the other overlanders said, "We want animals now."

Posted by Ken Thomas at January 22, 2010 06:23 PM GMT

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