It took 3hours, but we arrived in alexandria just as the sun set over the gorgeous mediterranean–we spent the sunset hour lost looking for the bus station to settle the alexandria-aswan leg of our journey. But during the time we spent trundling up and down the el-cornish, i was entranced.
Thank goodness for our gentle driver from luxor–a lesser man might have shrugged his apologies and booted us out (and we have gotten boot out but that is another story for another day). Towards the end, he was half-tearing at the pepper strands on his head, and muttering that the bus station was ‘really very far’. It was on the far south-end from town, unsigned, unmarked, a mass of buses parked beside roadside stalls. The few dimly lit ticket counters were also unsigned and i wondered if this was indeed the place that could provide decent 18-hour bus rides cross-country into Aswan. It did. At only 60 egyptian pounds too. We would take the 4h train ride back to Cairo, and then hop over to the SuperJet bus station for our 5pm ride.
I was ready to sing celine dion’s (we) drove all night at one point. But the night ride left some pretty strong impressions on me:
their brotherliness. A rolled-down window and an easy ‘salaam’, and we had reams of information hollered out from fellow drivers, strolling couples, cigarette hawkers, fruit sellers.. Definitely different from the curt quick replies im used to here. We were lost but definitely not wanting for help.
eye contact. They’re not afraid to make it, and keep it.
getting it right the first time. A few wrong turns helped us realise u-turns don’t seem too common in egypt. Kilometres of angst.
mediterranean sea vs the nile. The other cities and towns sit along the ebb and flow of the nile, but alexandria hugs the tempestuous sea. I’ve no actual pics of the sea unfortunately… embarressing circumstance and technological silliness.
book overnight train tickets early. The train would definitely have been a far more comfortable option (I was glad to be able to verify this on the ride back north to cairo). Try to book three days in advance at least.
being chill. Nothing like swinging between helplessness and alertness. It helps to have both driver and travel partner who keep their cool, or at least try to.