6 – A picnic. By the desert’s edge.
2 Dec, 1900hrs, Yousef Hotel, Siwah
This is a quick entry before I take the 8pm bus out from Siwa to Cairo (60 EGP, 4 other buses run daily to Alex via Matrouh). Today morning at 7am went to the rooftop, which gives an excellent view of the town; it is one of the highest around the town centre. Caught the sunrise, came down before I became a frozen lollipop. The most obvious thing to go towards was the shali, a 13th century fortress. Walked around town trying to find the entrance. Got in and summited, but at the wrong summit of the fort. Still the view was great. Came back to town, had a turkish cofee. Then around 11am, found Eba who had gone out on a rented bicycle. I rented one myself (10 EGP) and we went towards the local sights. No map, but i managed to take a photo of the area at the tourist office. Unfortunately, got our bearings wrong. Instead, we just keep cycling south until we reached the edge of the desert. Everywhere in front of us were dunes. So, at 12pm, we sat down at the edge of the desert, took off our sandals / slippers and talked / exchanged travel tales. It sounds crazy, but the weather was hot, dry yet cool. Left after about 45 minutes. My lips are chafed.
After that, went back, caught the 3 sights we intended to see before we got lost (Cleopatra’s Bath, Umm Ubeyda temple ruins, Temple of the Oracle) before cycling back into town. I decided to leave tonight for Cairo at the 8pm bus, to get an extra day. Changed plans a bit, will go straight to Dahab instead after a night in Cairo. This is because Cairo is where I’m supposed to do all the visa admin stuff. So reaching there on the weekend (fri and sat is the weekend here) is a bad idea. I’ll see how it goes, will probably find a place to chuck my bag before going embassy hunting.
Eba’s headed to Alex then Port Said. Gonna bid farewell to him later. His bus leaves at 10pm. Nice guy. I really got tons of info from him about Cairo, Luxor, Aswan etc.