18th July to Alexandria via Suez Canal
Ready for the final leg on the African continent to Alexandria the teams left after breakfast towards Suez.
It was a long casual drive initially- on a double high way- along the shores of the red sea and all were again astonished about the enormous property developments taking place… Revolution and economic recession however must have slowed down these developments with a few seemingly coming to a total hold.
With the area a mere 2 hours away from the 20 Million people metro pole – Cairo – this part of the red sea seemingly offers a market for the more wealthier citizens of Cairo to purchase a second home along this coastline…
The teams stopped in Suez and saw the Suez canal. From a distance one can see ships seemingly sailing through desert sand..
Traffic close to the cities was quiet hectic and there were frequent police stops and the army was visible most of the times. Heavy tanks are parked at strategic points but soldiers and police were very very friendly when asked for directions.
As the goal was to reach Alexandria today, the teams decided to cross the Nile delta on the northern site of Cairo. What seemed to be easy when looking at the map became a 5 hour journey crossing dozens of Nile arms.
The area is very fertile and green close to the Rivers but desert like elsewhere. With dozens of river crossings one would assume that the bridges should be in one line when travelling from East to West.
However it could happen that after crossing one bridge the teams had to drive 50 km North, cross the next bridge and come some 30 km down again before hitting the next bridge. This 80km journey however only moved them some 20km to the West where Alexandria is situated.
Alexandria was finally reached as darkness set in and the teams where ready to search for a hotel. The Garmins did not recognise newly built roads and they could only guess where there location more or less is.
Driving around for about an hour- it was decided to just get to Alexandria’s beach front as this would be a safe place to find a hotel. Frequent stops where made to ask for directions and in the process team Icevan in heavy traffic and being behind Bulldog and Lipstick took a wrong turn. Through radio contact team lipstick tried to get them back on track but there was no chance for them to turn around in chaotic traffic.
The teams arrangement for such a situation was to immediately switch the cell phones on because within minuted radio contact would be lost. This worked and it was decided to find a Landmark on the beach front once all cars would be there.
Imagine 4 lanes with Tuk Tuks swapping lanes at their leisure and taxis and other traffic doing exactly the same. Hooters seemingly are in high fashion in Alexandria and the whole town sounded like one huge wedding procession with every motor car blasting their hooters in all possible sound varieties.
Lipstick and Bulldog eventually reached the beach front and decided on a little square to stop and call Icevan.
Once Icevan reached the beachfront and after establishing on which site of the car the sea is situated they were guided to safely to be reunited with the other teams.
From there a hotel was found and a base set up for the forthcoming 3 days called “operation sea freight”…..