John and Gerry ride through Egypt

LIBYA        EGYPT         KENYA

27/09/02 Al Alamein

The roads through Egypt were also good but ever so much quieter. As we made our way along the entire North Africa coast the places we passed through read like a litany from the 2nd World War campaign and you couldn't but get a feeling for all who fought and died along this stretch of land. At Marsa Matruah, where Rommel had his headquarter during the lead up to Al Alamain, we decided to stop for a few days rest. This is a very popular seaside resort with Egyptians and we had any choice of hotels in this off-season period. Across from our hotel there was a beautiful sandy beach and the sea was a fantastic turquoise color. Rommel had his headquarters in a sea cave here and swam daily at his beach. Life and death meet everywhere.

Hotel Azuro Bengazi
Entrance to Mersa Matruh
Internet Cafe in Mersa Matruh

While in Marsa Matruah, we met our first biker. An Egyptian with an excellent command of English had come up on his KLR, Kawasaki from Cairo. We had a long chat and among other things that passed in the conversation he felt that Sudan would be a very dangerous place to travel through. The fact that our visa application had been rejected twice already made us feel that perhaps it was for the best that we didn't get them. On our way from Marsa Matruah to Cairo we called into the museum in Al Alamain. There's a fabulous R75 outfit in the museum here complete with all its period fittings. When we reached Cairo we decided to skirt it to reach the Airport and find an hotel in its vicinity as we had now decided not to bother pursuing our Sudanese visas any more but instead resolved to fly direct to Nairobi in Kenya. Inevitably, however, we got caught up in the traffic and with a population of over 15 million the traffic here rates among the worst in the world. Hardly a car would pass an M.O.T and without exception every single car we saw was marked, as lane discipline in this rat race is non-existent.

Sculpture in Mersa Matruh
Mural in Mersa Matruh
Picture of military sidecar

Having located the Airport we found a hotel near by and the next day started on yet another saga of Egyptian bureaucracy. We thought the first day we went to the Airport to fly out our bikes that we had sorted out the situation and thus left ourselves with a week free to see the sights of Cairo. A man named Ali headed the brokers we went to. Unfortunately we didn't advert to the 40 thieves part of his company. We were told on the Sunday we visited him to call back again on Tuesday and all would be sorted. Based on this information we booked our bikes and ourselves on the following Friday's flight to Nairobi, plenty of time to see Cairo. Monday was a very enjoyable day spent at the pyramids but Tuesday proved to be the first of the next 4 days, each 12 hours long spent at the airport trying to circumvent what can only be described as chaotic bureaucracy and corruption. Only for the help of our taxi driver Kamal Al Mustafa we would have been there even longer.

Arab with his camel
 Rommels Headquarters
Another shot of arab and camel

For my own part I have been to Cairo and Egypt before and consequently have seen the "sights" but John has not and to spend such a percentage of ones time being dealt with in this manner makes it questionable for some as to whether it's worth the effort to go through such countries.

LIBYA        EGYPT         KENYA

Rommels Bunker

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