Day 75 - Nothing Sweet About Those Chariots
Trip Start Aug 07, 2007
68Trip End Nov 07, 2007
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So I got my Libyan visa. I am very happy. I have never heard of anyone getting a Libyan visa in Cairo. It is routine from Tunisia but not from Egypt. Indeed the tinternet is choc-a-bloc with tales of woe about six week waits, flat refusal and general pains-in-the-arses about Libyan visas.
I was not very confident to say the least but I applied anyway. Transit visa, one week. The application took about ten mins, I needed one photo and a photocopy of my passport. It then got sent off to Tripoli for approval. Whether it actually left the office or anything was done with I do not know but 2 and a bit weeks later I went back to check and the nice man behind the counter said gimmie 60LE (about 12USD) and come back at 11 the day after tomorrow. I did. He gave me visa. Nice. 15 days. And cheap too!
So that was Thursday so I was ready and raring to go to Sinai (the plan was Suez-->Taba-->Dahab-->Mt Sinai-->Cairo) but a few money issues kept me in Cairo. Then it was the world cup final, which I stayed for. So now I think I'll bin the Sinai beach holiday (I will return for the best diving in the world at a later point) and just do Suez and Mt Sinai. I really don't want to overstay in Egypt and just incase my Libyan starts on the day I got it I will have plenty of time to get through.
Day 74 - On Pause Day
Decided that Mt Sinai was completely binned. I'm not risking overstaying in this country.
Day 75 - World Cup Final Day
We lost. I had my first beer(s) in a long time and they managed to numb the pain a little. There were many South Africans in the bar - they ran the hotel I was in - and with every word the knife twisted just a little more. I would not be getting off to an early start the next day.
Port Said was my destination, some 250km NE of Cairo. My route took me through Isamilia (presumably where that branch of Islam sprouted from) and I stopped off at a random little food joint for some lunch. I was actually looking for a McDonalds, having a dire need for something high in fat/sugar/salt all in one, but couldn't find one.
The place didn't look much but turned out to be amazing. In my best Arabic I asked if he had any fish. He looked at me very strangely - I then twigged that it was a fish restaurant - the walls were covered in nets and lobster pots. Reminded me of a place in Italy I went to once gagging for a bit of beef. It was called 'Pescatore' but I didn't twig and asked the waiter if he had anything other than fish. Disdain.
Anyway, I had a superb seafood soup crammed with a whole crab, shrimp, squid and mini slugs that might have been whelks. Soooo good. Then three huge fish steaks. All super fresh. I hadn't really twigged I was on the Red Sea again. This is what I love about randomly exploring places: once in a while you find an absolute gem. Of course most of the time you have to eat cat kebabs in three-day old bread but you need the lows to define the highs.
I turned north at Isamalia and headed along the canal towards Port Said. I was racing the ships that were making their way towards the Med on the canal. It is a strange sight as you cannot see the canal; you turn your head and suddenly out of nowhere there is a huge ship seemingly in the middle of the sand.
Port Said is quite a cool little city. Bustling and unpretentious. However I couldn't find any
I have a cold.