Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Graham and Danny make friends with the local traffic cops!
Sunday 7th
Sunday we were leaving Cairo to go to Taba heights. I was a bit emotional at breakfast. I won’t go into the details but Egypt is very close to me and the Mrs’ hearts. Let’s just say that ashes have been scattered on the River Nile at sunset by us from a boat some 5 years ago. I spoke to her that evening and she told me that she was having lunch with our friend Caroline from our local church and coincidently had become emotional too. It probably looked to the other guests at the hotel that me and Graham were having a lovers tiff, what with me dabbing my eyes with a napkin while he looked on serenely. There were loads of African people having a conference on Science and Technology. They were the brains from all over the motherland getting together to “Make loads of important decisions that nobody takes any notice of”, as one of the delegates joked. I have never seen so many black geeks before and it was good to see them trying to make a troubled continent work better for the good of all of us. We were given a wonderful send off and we headed off to the Sinai Desert to get casseroled. Luckily I had brought all the fruit with us that the hotel manager had placed in our room the day before and even though Graham had some to, he always likes to travel light so he left his behind.

Once I started cutting into my mouth watering supplies with the ratchet knife that our Libyan guide, Salem, had given to me as a keepsake there was no way Graham wasn’t going to want to indulge... and he did. We saw what looked like Obi One Kenobi tending to his sheep in the distance and wondered what anyone would be doing out here. He was probably saying to himself that the two dopy limeys over there are probably going to be found dehydrated and sunburned a couple of miles down the road with handkerchiefs tied round their heads. We took photos and some footage and headed off to a spectacular descent through a carving in some mountains that took your breath away. It was now offensively dark and I was now just offensive (Under my helmet of course) Graham’s throttle was stuck on full (purposely) and I was fearing for my life he had that look in his eye that said “I’m getting there by hook or by crook”. I wanted to just get there, even if it took all night. All of a sudden, rubber was burning in front of me. I couldn’t see it but I could smell it. Graham’s bike was snaking and I thought he was riding off the end of a cliff. In the blink of an eye all road markings had disappeared and so did my valor. When I got up to Graham he looked like Casper the Ghost. I nearly said “I knew that was going to happen!” but I was too tired and we still had a long way to go. We pushed on, well Graham did I was hanging back as I knew my bike couldn’t fly and the road we were on didn’t look like no normal road. I noticed what looked like a power station and hung back a bit more. I could see up ahead was some sort of checkpoint. A soldier approached with two nervous colleagues, kaleshni and Kov. He had rolled up on one of the Israeli borders which we had been trying to avoid like the plague as not only were carrying British passports that could be used in an assassination but If the Arab countries we were due to visit found out that we had been fraternizing with the Israelis they would not have let us in to their countries. With his gun semi levelled with a nervous grip the soldier pointed Graham in the right direction. Good job I wasn’t in the lead, eh? When we got to the final checkpoint before Taba a flash border policeman checked us out Graham went first and when he’d done with me he rushed me of with a, “Go Danny, Go”, well me being so tired, I’ve only knocked over his little wooden table that he writes on. He picks it up and repeats, “Go Danny,Go. I kid you not.

More to come...

Tuesday 9th March

Our morning was another early job but this time after less than 4 hour’s sleep. We pushed our pasty faces into the lids and rapidly exited Aqaba straight up into the 1200m high desert plateau. Jordan is like a breath of the proverbial after the dirt and dinge of Egypt. The roads are better and everything just has a cleaner feel to it. The comment from our Italian ‘uber overlander’ that the middle east ‘is no more problem’ was so true. Or so we thought.... my enthusiasm with the better roads and the total lack of respect for any road rules that we had started to pick up on in Egypt was giving me a little Mad Max syndrome. I should have learned my lesson after i passed one policemen loaded up with speed trap gun and got away with it. The second time was not so lucky. I was duly taken the unmarked police car and told in no uncertain terms ‘Speed, you, violation, speed 110km, you 128km!’ whoops. I was desperately hoping that i would walk away with the bike and not find myself in the clank with a dozen dodgy arab crims but just got a swift £15 fine. Of course, any official process must have a ream of paperwork to go with it and this was no exception. Whilst waiting, i turned on my ‘winningist, please don’t take away my motorbike sir’ smile. I got about as warm a response as Max Mosely at McLaren headquarters. Not to be beaten at the first try, as i walked away, i asked using the now familiar hand signals, if i could see the radar speed trap. Danny and i ended up both speed trapping approaching lorries and as if that wasn;t a big enough turn around, one of the plain clothes coppers asked Danny ‘You, work, movies!’ He’d recognised him even with his crash helmet and balaclava on. So in the space of ten minutes we went from speeding fine to pictures with the coppers – didn’t let me off the fine though!

More to come...

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