Day 1- 23rd March 2016
Flying into a desert sandstorm at 110kmh isn’t one of the regular things I am used to doing, do but to describe it properly would be like riding into a brick wall and eating a couple of buckets of sand in the same instant. I had my mighty 150cc Chinese-made ‘Haojiang’ motorcycle in top gear and the engine screaming, as I launched myself into this dusty nether. Camels and donkeys were flying all over the place and dodging these furry bleating missiles was an effort in pure insanity.
I was definitely not in Kansas any more Toto.
I purchased this machine brand new for 500 Egyptian Pounds (about $600US) in the craziest city on earth-Cairo. The amount of people who reside here is quite staggering. It seems that there is an endless amount of buildings in the throes of construction. Literally thousands of them. Every. Fucking. Where.
Skyscraper dwellings spawn as far as the eye can see in all directions, and if one looks through the dust and smog you will glimpse the huge pyramid megaliths, gazing into eternity on the distant horizon. It’s an incredible sight to behold. Life is tough here. It’s definitely not a place for meek-hearted people and you gotta have a survivor instinct to get about your daily life here.
So here I am, travelling from Cairo to Abu Simbel, along the legendary Nile river through a myriad of bustling, ancient Egyptian towns. The clouds of dust engulf you at one end, then shit you out the other, completely covered in a thick layer of sand and debris. I’m starting to feel like Lawrence of Arabia cross between Indian Jones with a dash of Evil Knevil.
Screaming “Allah Akbar!” as I tear over random jumps and potholes in the road, with my bedouin turban flying in the wind, it’s the ride of a lifetime and even with all the negative media focused on Egypt travel, it’s actually not that bad at once you dig in and harmonize with the madness. So far, I have met some amazing people-intriguing characters with huge personalities and crazy stories.
Everyone seems to be quite friendly and when they see that I’m not a regular tourist, the conversations turn to politics, religion and the future of this awe-inspiring country. The Egyptian people just get about life the same as the rest of us-the more countries I travel to, the more I realize that we are essentially all the same. We want a decent place to live, good things for our family and peace amongst our neighbours.
And the traffic? This place is just fucking crazy, man. Police check points, camels and donkeys, kids playing with flat footballs arabs, bedouins and farmers, city folk, tourists and insane traffic (no lights whilst driving at night) are all juxtaposed with images of sand dunes, ancient pyramids and the majestic Nile River.
It’s almost too much for my once drug-addled brain to handle. There are no lanes as such, you just aim for a spot in the traffic and go flat-out. It all seems to work quite well considering, although every few kilometers you will see a few cars parked on the side of the road with bumpers and boots crushed in and wild-eyed Egyptians fighting over who was to blame. It’s a tough, crazy country and I love it.
And doing it on two wheels, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.
Giza to El Minya via Route 20 Giza-Luxor Road (with diversions through Route 02 Aswan Western Agricultural Road)