29 till 31-12-2002 Dive and Relax, what else?

The last days from this year I spend what you can do best in Dahab, Dive and Relax.
I also went around town to arrange some transportation for me and my bike to get to Cairo. As my bike was running so poor and couldn’t find the problem I thought it would be the best for the bike getting it on a pick-up to Cairo. I found a pick-up that would take me there for 250 EP (50$). After that we started to make plans for new year. That was me, Paul, Florian and Iris… But new year abroad is more strange then X-mas abroad. At least that’s how I experienced it… X-mas was not at all difficult for me as most of the time it “has” to be a family thing. With new year I always make my own plan on where to go and what to do. But doing it in Dahab never crossed my mind. And New Year in an Islamic Country is not really the same.

You get a bunch of Westerners together in a pub with swimming pool outside dancing and drinking beer (mind you, my foot was not dance proof yet :-( .) Then the last ten seconds of the year arrive (1 hour earlier as back home) and of course a count down starts: 10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1,…. and then really… nothing happens… Nope give me the New Year back home or just don’t celebrate it at all.

But a new year started and a great year it will be! Although my journey will end this year, it will also take most of this year! I had almost all the problems I could have so, could I have more?

01 till 04-01-2003 On my way to Cairo

As Florian and Iris planned to move on, I got the energy to get on the move myself as well. They where heading for Cairo, and so was I the next day by pick-up. Through the Horizons Unlimited website I made contact with Ahmed (AB) and he pointed out a great guy in Cairo that used to race my type of bike in Dessert Rallies. So I figured that’s the guy I would need.
Raed Baddar wasn’t the type you will imagine sitting on a bike any more… but still rides them occasionally but changed to cars for his desert exploring. He is amazingly friendly and great to meet. I crashed at his place for 2 nights and after the first we worked on the bike. As it had no power, huge fuel consumption and was overheating, we first cleaned and changed carburetor settings, but that was not it… he could hear (I couldn’t) so the search went on and with a little basic mechanics we found the problem. The second stage of the alternator was not working. Not that the alternator it self was gone but the wires connecting it where almost gone. How little big problems can be! So it runs again and I was happy! Thank you very much Raed!
So if anyone needs help on Teneree’s or XR’s get this point in your GPS: N30.05.151 E31.20.319 or logon to www.saharapioneer.com (please do not mistake with sakarapioneer.com ;-) )

05 till 07-01-2003 Getting my frame fixed and parts made

After leaving Read I went to meet Ahmed who pointed me to this guy to thank him for that and to ask if he knew any good welders in Cairo as I needed to really make my frame for the cases and to lineout my bike frame. He did! So on my way I was again to the southwest of Cairo. Not because the Pyramids where there but there was a great welder there and the camping spot that Florian and Iris where. After chatting with the welder he agreed on doing the job and I told him I would drop by later this week with Florian to show him exactly what I wanted and would leave my bike in Cairo while I was going around Egypt with Oedske in a few days time.
Meeting up with Florian and Iris was great and there was an other German there on his cycle, about who I will keep my mouth shut.
With the two we went into Cairo to arrange visa and so, they first went to the Sudanese embassy and me to the Ethiopian. In the end there choice turned out to be the best, as they had everything in two days time and me only the Ethiopian, but I would be back in Cairo to pick up my bike so I had a little more time.
Coming back to the camp ground wasn’t so pleasant as for the first time this travel I left my digital camera and gps in the tent as I wanted to travel light in Cairo and the batteries where empty anyway… And now I do not have them at all, stolen… and we did not get them back… after search, threatening and so on… After a phone call to Oedske she would get me a new GPS and an other camera that I left back home.
GroSe Sch^&se again, but now I am traveling as an African, no electronics at all. (I think someone tries to tell me to do it without technology!)
Then it was a quick drive to the welder to show him Florian’s bike and leave mine and to hop on the bus to Hurgada as Oedske was arriving there on the 8th!

08-01-2003 Hurgada

Why do busses arrive in such strange times? Mini arrived at 05:30 AM in Hurgada, all hotels closed of course and no one on the streets. At six I found a hotel and dropped my stuff there and slept till 11AM as I did not get much on the night bus.
Then it was time to grab a taxi to the airport to pickup Oedske. Who arrived on time! (It CAN happen!) It was great chatting with someone from back home and as she only had a week we had to make some travel plans. As I really wanted to see Paris Dakar and if possible Luxor there actually was little choice. But Luxor became Dahab, as Oedske tends to be lazy ;-)
After deciding what we would do we went into town, I tried to get hold of Omar Mansour (The Egyptian Community Contact from the Horizons Unlimited website) I already emailed with him and had one short phone call in Jordan, so I really wanted to meet him and the other way around. So we agreed on dropping by there and go to Paris Dakar with him in Siwa!

09-01-2003 Diving in Hurgada

Today was a relax day again… No the ferry to Sharm El Sheik was only leaving tomorrow so we went on a boat dive/snorkel thingy in Hurgada. As I was warned for the dead coral at Hurgada the shock was not too big, but… I hope Dahab will never be like this! Also Hurgada on land is just a horrible place, except for the old town center. I was glad I could leave this place tomorrow.

10 till 11-01-2003 Dahab 2nd time

Why do ferries leave so early? And do you have to be there so much time before? Yes by now you figured out I prefer my bike travel over Public Transport! But Dahab it was again, in the afternoon. There is not much to tell as the stuff you do in Dahab is dive a little, relax a little, drink a little, eat a little, and…

12-01-2003 Pyramids

We took the very nice night bus to Cairo to arrive nice and early in this metropolis and got a taxi to drop us off at the hotel and drive us to the pyramids where we did the horse riding around the pyramids area and see the local cop bribe in action and getting into a misunderstanding with the taxi driver and after that with my female companion, that combined with a nice pain in my foot as it is not horse ride proof yet and the pyramids not what I expected of it made it a morning to forget. So I did and went shopping in Cairo in the afternoon and took the train to Alexandria in the evening. (Don’t tell us we did not try all kinds of public transport and not using it a lot!)
In Alex we met Omar who was even better as I imagined over the telephone. He got us into a free apartment that wasn’t so great he said… I was VERY happy with a room like that for the night and as we would go to Siwa tomorrow we had a beer and went to sleep early.

700km to see a bunch of madman cross the desert? Or to see 5000 people move through the desert? Including 20 airplanes, 140 bikes, 20 trucks and, 100 cars? It is definitely worth it!
Siwa is the most western oasis know for its olives and dates and has about 5000 inhabitants, now it doubled in one day! That’s a bit weird to see. I found Raed being there as well and Oedske trying to get all the guys naked. (As she wanted the T-shirts, of which I got two now) Oedske was in top shape arranging things with her beautiful smile and naughty looks.

14-01-2003 Paris Dakar in Action

Today was the special around Siwa and we found a great spot at the start and a great spot at the finish.
Yeah they know how to drive… It was a bit of a pity that the truck of de Rooij which was in first place had a serious accident, but no people hurt, but the truck was a write off am I bringing bad luck to this place as well?
Anyway I loved it, it is a bit difficult to describe but photos tell more… no? Have a look. (Florian had a good description: 100 times better then Giza)
And in the afternoon it was a long way back to Alex after we visited the airport where base camp was.

15-01-2003 Cairo again

In the morning we went to Cairo and had to leave Omar in Alex. (Omar I can’t thank you more for the great time you gave us, but I hope that was clear already. Your welcome anytime if your thinking of traveling to the cold north.)
But as Oedske was leaving tomorrow we had to arrange some stuff like getting her on the bus to Hurgada in the evening, which worked out fine and she made it back home. I stayed in Cairo to get my Sudanese visa and fix my bike with the spare parts Oedske brought and the welding that should be finished.

16 till 21-01-2003 Cairo sucking out all energy

All I did in these days was fix the bike at Ahmed’s garage, paint the frame after all the welding, got new lights for the bike, have a laugh or two with Ahmed and get my visa for Sudan!!! So I was happy with myself and want to thank Ahmed so much for his help! (I can tell Grant and Susan your website works!)

This is a day I looked forward to; finally I was on the road again with a good working bike for 600km at least. This is what life is all about! Although I have seen my destination before, I will go there via a different road and meet Omar on the way as he was on his way back from…. Dahab. So why Dahab again you would think? An other friend of mine is flying in with his girlfriend (Gillis and Kiona) and he will bring me my new luggage cases!
The drive it the end was a bit stress as I got a puncture (No. 1) in a shit hole. But fixed the inner tire and changed the outer to my Pirelli T21. As I was planning to put it on in Aswan it’s only a few km’s more now and my back tire was REALY gone…

23 till 31-01-2003 Getting new boxes

I drove to Kiona’s and Gillis Hotel and it was RAINING! They brought Dutch weather! I thanked them for that but it was great to see them and my new luggage cases of course. In a few days time I will be ready to move on!
I made a deal with the dive school I did my advanced open water with that I would do there website if they gave me a Rescue & EFR course for free and so I started that course and building their website (www.divedahab.com) and meeting Eimi and Thomas who do Photography, Video and Diving Instruction. (www.scubatoe.com) So I got some of my dives filmed!! I will send a copy back home so you see that you absolutely should not be jealous of what I am doing….
Also Eimi thought me the Rescue diving and Christiana who was doing a Dive Master course was helping us out. Her final exam was so funny. Thomas and Eimi pretended to have done their Open water and had 5 dives. They did the course online via www.divers-r-us.com and she was a little claustrophobic. I had to be Eimi’s buddy and be also a rescue diver. If you can think of anything that can go wrong in a dive it did on this one. Those two Open water divers where SO bad! Its a bit hard to describe what they all did, but a short summary follows: Stealing flippers, kicking out regulators, not knowing signs, going too deep, touching coral and fish, collecting stones, going in passive panic, go in claustrophobic putting on masks upside down, swimming away, going into caves…. and all I forgot. This really was a “fun” dive.
But all this results in the fact that my boxes still don’t fit my bike… I will do that this afternoon hopefully.

Plans:
-Finish luggage system ASAP
-Go to Sharm El Sheik on the 4th for a ferry to Hurgada
-Go to Luxor on the 5th
-Go to Aswan on the 8th
-Grab a ferry to SUDAN, Wadi Halfa on the 11th
-Cross Sudan and Ethiopia in 5 weeks aprox.

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2 Responses to “Crossing Africa Newsletter VI”

  1. Oedske says:

    Why didn’t I know about this newsletter before?? My name is in it! :-)
    I had a lot of fun in Egypt! Thanks Frank and Omar!!

  2. Raed Baeddar has I be knowing from 1983,when I work 3 years in Egypt. I had a Yamaha Tenere 600 at that time.
    He is great.
    We have celebrate New year in my flat in 1985.

    Going to Egypt on a bike next year to drive together with him.

    Frank

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