After our stint in Ethiopia having to beg, kick and kill for petrol, we thought petrol would be an easier commodity to come by in Egypt. Well as it turns out, the Arab spring protest had a huge influence on the supply countrywide.
Petrol in Egypt normally cost around R3-00 (.30usd) per liter of petrol. For us as travelers, that is if you could get some, it was closer to R6-00 (.60usd) per liter. Yes, still cheaper compared to South African prices, but a poorer quality than ours. The bikes performance were more like cheap Chinese knock-off scooters.
When we entered Egypt our plan was to do the desert route. It passes the White and Black deserts to the west of the country. With its spectacular scenes and sand formations it is a must see. Also off the main tourist route and should allow us to mingle with local folk. Okay, so in the end that did not work out due to the petrol shortage and we would not have been able to find petrol for that 1100km stretch.
With Antoine and Carlene and their slow as a donkey bicycles for transport, the decision was made to have a bit of a party time up the coast to Cairo. They will go from Hurghada to Dahab, a dive scene along the Red-sea coast, while we will ship our bikes somewhere else out of Egypt.
Well, like I said, just useless information.And I think we had less harmful emissions than what they had consuming all the funny food on the way. Farting and peddling cannot be good for a human being. That said, there’s a lot to be said for peddling the way they did. It’s a helluva lot cheaper than a motorcycle setup, and there were no need for Carne’s and paper work.
The road in the middle of Egypt that snakes parallel to the Nile up to Cairo is a tedious slow going affair. It is around 700km in length and there are police stops every 3 or 5 kilometers. The locals told us after Mubarak got asked nicely to get the hell out of office, the local Egyptians did not want this entire military and police nonsense. So none of the stops were actually stops anymore, just inconveniences in the road where we had to slow down and wave at the police sleeping under the dilapidated makeshift sun shades.
We only had to stick to the main road till Luxor and then turn off to Hurghada, a seaside resort town at the Red sea.
Now, this is where my question as the heading of this blog comes in …
Where and what happened to the old Egyptians? The people in Egypt today cannot possible be the same people. I must confess I am really ignorant when it comes to Egyptian history. But it hits one in the face the dramatic difference between the impressive old and the lackadaisical almost torpid reality of today’ Egypt.
The old monuments, temples and Valley of the Kings are truly impressive. To think that people build it thousands of years ago with very primitive tools and knowledge, sure makes for jaw dropping gasps. They sure punched above their weight. Turn around and look at Egypt today and it is as if the entire old Egyptian civilization stopped to exist at some point, progress just stopped. Egypt today looks like a rundown African failed state with a good stream of tourism income.