February 20, 2003

Back from Jordan

I'm back from Jordan. I spent 2 days in Petra and was planning to go back to Aqaba on tuesday morning at 6:00AM but instead of boarding the Aqaba bus I chose the one going to Wadi Rum at the very last minute after bumping into some other travelers. I thus spent the night in the desert of Lawrence of Arabia and went back to Aqaba this morning day to catch the ferry.

I arrive to the Aqaba port at 9:00AM. Normally the fast ferry is supposed to leave at 12:00. Surprise ! it was leaving at 9:30AM...uh ?

Anyway as the official said "we do 2 trips today, if the weather is ok the ferry will come back at 2PM and it will leave at 2:30PM. If the weather is bad, we cancel it." Cool. Just what I needed !

So here we are waiting for the ferry to come back...we leave at 3:30PM from Aqaba and we arrive around 5:00PM to Nuweiba, Egypt. Passport check, ok I need to get a new visa of course... Egyptian bureaucracy: "please wait until I process the 200 next passengers -slowly, slowly- , I keep your passport during this time"...well...

I'm in the same boat with 2 french and 2 japanese that I already bumped into in Petra. An official ask us to speed up our process to go get the stamps at the bank located 'somewhere this way' at 800m. We go (without our retained passports)... of course at 5:30PM every bank is closed... the official joins us a bit embarassed (slowly, slowly). They have to find the banker to open this damn bank...

And here we are waiting...

One hour later, the banker decides to pop up and we can finally get our stamps. We can then go to the immigration office to have our passport stamped ! YEEES !

Meanwhile the slow ferry that left at 2:00PM from Aqaba arrived... frustrating.
At the exit gate the official won't let us exit before 7:00PM. It's 6:45PM, we need to wait 15 minutes ? Why the fuck ???!!! The moron at the gate seems to enjoy the situation. Is it a joke or what ?

After making some noise the big boss that speaks english pops up and asks us if we are from the slow boat. "No !! fast one !!!" we yell. He is surprised until I tell him we have been waiting for more than one hour to have this damn bank open to get the visa stamps !!

We can finally exit and share a taxi to Dahab to which we arrive at 8:30PM.
Ah... hot shower, at least !

Posted by stephane at February 20, 2003 09:00 AM