From the insanity of Cairo to the calm lush greens of Luxor, I am now heading to Aswan and then Abu Simbel, to see the incredible monuments of Ramses the 2nd near the Sudanese border.
So far my bike, a $600, brand-new, 150cc Chinese Haojiang has made the trip comparably well. I have tortured this poor beast on dirt roads, over about 10 thousand speed bumps, through cornfields and flat-out down desert highways. From police escorts, breakdowns and desert bashing, this bike has well and truly delivered for a relatively cheap machine.
Heading out from Luxor at dawn I aimed my metallic chariot down the Eastern Agricultural road with the Nile to my right, and gunned it flat-out into the mornings sunrise.
I’d had a red bull and a packet of biscuits for breakfast, so I was fucking ready for anything. A tattooed meat-bag on a cheap and fast Chinese missile, flying through alleyways covered in donkey turds and over blistering desert dunes, en-route to Aswan.
Nothing could stop me, not even the shit Egyptian petrol that makes your engine ping and backfire all the way through the gears. Arriving at Edfu I stopped at The Temple of Horus, some 100km south of Luxor, which has an incredibly huge façade with enormous hieroglyphs that you can see from a fair distance. This would have to be my favourite temple in all of Egypt, it’s just incredible.
Inside there are small corridors and hidden rooms that are covered in hieroglyphic reliefs and there are well-placed slits in the walls that let beams of sunlight filter in to cascade onto the floors. Very cool place. The more I explore Egypt, the more convinced I am of alien intervention. Surely we hopeless humans couldn’t have made these spectacular monuments. The best things that our race can come up with are velcro shoes and microwave popcorn.
It was the aliens.
The aliens did it all, man.
I rode past the Kom Ombo temple without stopping, stood up on my bike, took a pic, then did a wheelie in front of the police and headed towards Aswan. Once again dusty desert roads gave way to lush green palms and the sparkling waters of the Nile could be seen glimmering through the foliage.
Arriving at my hotel in a cloud of dust, I removed my goggles, spat out a mouthful of sand, then was instantly engulfed by children yelling “Hello pencil!?” and “Hello money!?” Apparently they are in short supply of writing implements and hard cash in these parts.
Aswan felt very safe. As usual the locals seem a bit hesitant, but once you open up with some simple Arabic phrases, they become as friendly as people you will find anywhere. The heat has definitely risen this far South. It’s well into the high 30’s (celsius) at 8am in the mornings and it stays that way until late evening.
Cruising around Aswan was a lot of fun. I ventured into the dusty back streets and up into the rocky hills amongst the bustling alleyways, and makeshift buildings. There are impromptu markets everywhere, selling everything from fresh fruit to the latest watches. School kids roam freely about, yelling in perfect English “Hello? What country are you from? What is your name? Where are you going? Do you have any pencils?”
Trying to get permission to ride to Abu Simbel with the compulsory convoy was just giving me a headache, so I jumped in a van with 10 other frazzled tourists and off we went, driving flat-out for 3 hours non stop in a completely straight line through the desert. We were the first to arrive at these iconic statues and it was breathtaking, a dream come true. I had finally made it, some two thousand odd kilometers through one crazy-ass country.
I returned back to my hotel, covered in a thick layer of sand, dirt and sweat with a great feeling of accomplishment. I’m finally feeling at ease in these exotic countries and having no trouble fitting in. I can sense the gears turning in my ambivolous wheel of life, slowing crunching into place, as if I have finally found my calling. All those years of alcohol and drug abuse, highs and lows of depression, the starting of projects and never finishing them- all the negative bullshit that’s been in my life so far is slowly fading away into obscurity.
Life is what you make of it. Don’t rely on other people to help you. Never focus on the bad things. Look proudly straight ahead and meet the world with your fists clenched, ready for anything. If you have a dream, do it, fuck what other people say. Your life is your own. Don’t waste it.
At long last, my eyes were being opened.
I sold my bike, said my goodbyes and hopped on the next plane (and the next moto-adventure!) to Cuba.
- kilometres travelled so far- 15 334km
- flat tyres- 9 and 1/2
- incarcerations- 0 ( it’s only a matter of time now)
- the amount of pencils in Aswan- 0
Luxor to Abu Simbel