Four Wheels Around - A Road Trip from the UK to South Africa

In February 2009 we are setting off on the trip of a lifetime from Brighton, E-Sussex, UK to South Africa. Furthermore, we are raising money for the British Red Cross along the way. This blog will cover our preparation until we leave and our adventures whilst we are on the road.

Sunday, 3 May 2009

The moral of the story is: Don't rely on the Egyptian post!

It has been a few days since I last wrote. I have neglected to update, mainly because our situation has remained unchanged. We are still in Cairo!

We left Cairo breifly and wild camped in the desert for a night with some expats that we met through Mandy and Jacques. They were hospitable and put us up for a few nights prior to the desert trip, offering us a slice of luxury after 10 weeks on the road! We spent a day driving up and down sand dunes with them, getting stuck, being dug out and carrying on. Then on a more depressing note, for this trip is about moving forward and not turning back. We had to go back to Cairo. We left mandy and Jacques on the road to Bahariya which was very strange and sad as we have been travelling with them for 3 weeks now.

As I have mentioned in previous posts since our troubles at the Jordanian/Egyptian border we have frantically been relying on the arrival of replacement vehicle documents from the UK before we can proceed to Sudan. Despite them being sent from the UK nearly 2 weeks ago, they have failed to arrive at our campsite in Cairo. Obviously this has meant that we have been unable to stray to far from Cairo until the documents arrive.

The expats that we met thought it was hilarious that we were relying on the Egyptian post for something this important. We have spent the last week or so kicking ourselves for not using DHL! After we returned from the desert we decided to be more positive. Returning to the quite nice but mosquito and fly ridden campsite was a depressing thought so we had to look on the bright side. We decided to take matters into our own hands.

Yesterday we set off to central Cairo more specifically to the main post/sorting office we wanted to take the bull by the horns. We knew that our letter was in Cairo as it had been registered as 'arrived' online. If they weren't going to bring it to us we would have to go and get it ourselves! It seemed a bit of a shambles at the main Post offie. We were ushered from one office to another. Many parts of the central post office had no telephone connection or internet so our reference number was proving useless. In the meantime, I had developed crippling stomach pains and had to go back to the campsite leaving Alex on the mission alone.

Whilst I was recovering from my possible food posioning Alex had been given yet another address at where our letter may or may not be. 'Inshallah'. He turned up at another, different central post office in Cairo and reached the letters floor to be informed that it shut at 1.30pm. It was by then 3pm and Alex was not happy! At this point he had a mini rage. He started rattling the door, demanding to be let in. He wanted to find the letter himself. Security were called and they escorted Alex out of the building, cruically, without the letter!

We had to leave it there yesterday and try again today. Miraculously my food posioning had passed and I was able to accompany Alex back to the central post office to make sure that he didn't get into any more trouble. We spent a long while sitting around watching all the post office workers do nothing as someone tried to track down our mail. They spent a while on the phone, they rummaged through files and folders. They eventually came to the conclusion that our letter was in a small post office in a village not too far from Giza pyramids. 'Inshallah'. So we set off again, and ended up basically at a shed full of men, doing nothing. Ofcourse.

Within seconds they had located the letter! It had been opened ofcourse, but it was there and the document was inside! Horray. We got over excited at this point as the reciept of the document is our ticket out of Cairo. On closer inspection it appeared our letter had been sitting in the 'shed' since 27th April, hello mr postman it is now the 3rd May! This 'shed' is just 2 miles from our campsite, surely someone could have popped it over to us?!

Anyway, this is all water under the bridge now as we have our document. The post office worker ridiculed us by asking for Bakeesh. Alex asked the taxi driver to inform the worker at the shed that it was him who owed us Bakeesh as we had spent a small fortune on taxi fares tried to find this dammed letter when he should have delivered it in the first place. This shut him up and off we went.

So tomorrow we can finally get back on the road. We will be heading towards the white desert oases en route to Luxor, Aswan and then in 2 weeks Sudan! The moral of the story is the Egyptian Post is incompetent and disorganised. End of!


Anonymous Paul Jones said...

Hello there!

Just caught up with about three months of your blog this afternoon - really fascinating and very funny - I hope Alex doesn't get in any more trouble with the authorities! I envy your exotic location - it's all swine flu and drizzle back here in Blighty. Good luck with the rest of the trip!


4 May 2009 at 18:48  
Blogger Michael Arnst said...

Glad to hear you guys are able to keep going. While I am leaving back to America in just a week (so hard to believe), I look forward to following your African adventures in hopes of collecting tips for my next trip to this wonderful continent. Cannot wait to see some pictures of the desert. Happy travels!


7 May 2009 at 00:47  

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