Sunday, August 28, 2011

8-28-11 Getting to Egypt by Ferry

This is the fast ferry that only takes an hour to get from Jordan to Egypt. The slow ferry takes 3 hours. Nothing here is ever on time and they want you there 2 hours ahead of time to get your documents in order. It took about 30 min to get the proper papers stamped and you have to pay a small departure fee of 5 JD. It was still Ramadan and there were not any food stations open just some stands for sundries and we managed to find chips and soda. Then we waited, and then we waited some more and the ferry was late by what seemed like a good hour and a half on top of the 2 hours we were already there, sitting in the heat with all kinds of stinky, dirty people seemed like an eternity.I will put the cost breakdown in the next post but no matter how cheap it was it was not worth the waiting and the eternal bus ride and the stinky, stinky people. Once on the ferry I thought it would be better, wrong again. Rayan kept telling me to be quiet because everytime I spoke people started to stare at me like I was a fresh piece of steak about to be fed to hungry lions and thank goodness he escorted me everywhere, even to the line for the bathroom. All of the women were covered head to toe and I stuck out like a sore thumb. Also, you leave your luggage as you get on-board and in the chaos it could be easily rifled through so take anything valuable out and carry it with you. It of course took longer to leave the port and longer to get to Nuweiba. I donned my shades, plugged in my ipod and tried to think of a happy place. Finally arrived in Nuweiba, I felt like I was dumped into the middle of an Indian Jones movie. There were huge luggage carts being pushed and pulled piled high with all sorts of things. We had to push our way thru the crowd and put everything on the belt to be xrayed then make our way out to even more chaos. There was a gate and we headed towards it, on the other side were hungry taxi drivers hollering for anyone to come over to them. DON"T go to them they rip you off. Thankfully someone directed us to the bus station but I didn't have my entry visa yet, so we walked the other way. Turns out you pay for the visa at the bank by the ATM then find your way to the passport office. They took my passport on the ferry and I had to go there to retrieve it with proof of my entry visa. All that walking and Rayan was lugging the heavy suitcase on a dirt road and he was fasting because of Ramadan and it was about 95 degrees in the shade. We finally purchased our bus tickets and found a spot to yes you guessed it wait some more. Then of course I had to use the bathroom and we found one but it was the dirtiest grossest excuse for a bathroom I have seen. I had no choice but to hurry up, hold my breath and leave as quickly as possible. I washed my hands with some bottled water we were carrying. You would need about a gallon of hand sanitizer with you so whats the use.
Rayan also had to stand in line with our gear to watch to make sure it made it onto the bus. People had so much stuff with them that a separate large truck was used to accommodate everything. The bus at least was air conditioned and not quite as stinky but it was a very L-O-N-G and bumpy ride. There were many check point charlies along the way. Armed guards stopping you and checking everyone's passport. The guards were so so young around 19 yrs old looking. At sunset we stopped on the side of the road so everyone could eat a snack if they brought one and the people beside us and behind us gave us a few dates and some cookies, we gave them some cans of soda. We did stop for a dinner break at a roadside cafe.There was an empty 18 wheeler parked there as well with a few bullet holes in it, the restaurant mgr said the people left their vehicle there because they were shot at and they didn't continue on. You could drive your car onto the ferry and drive but I would not say it would be to safe to do this.
The food was served fast and it was edible. Charred chicken, bread and some veggies and ice cold coca cola.Bathrooms were ok and a normal toilet with toilet paper. The women and children were segregated from the men and Rayan sat with us as well as one father that had a bunch of kids with him. I was glad to be seated there because the men do eye you in an unpleasant way and I don't blame the women for being covered from head to toe. The highlight was taking the tunnel under suez canal was brief but kinda kewl thing to do. 8 1/2 hours later we arrive at the bus station. Our gear was on the very top of the pile and first to be unloaded so that was a blessing. Rayan has a friend in Egypt and her brother is a taxi driver so he came to pick us up.
The price per person to get there was about 140 usd and to fly would be about double. Fly its worth every penny and takes half the time plus its an air conditioned, clean terminal with bathrooms and restaurants.

No comments:

Post a Comment