9 days down. We are nearing the docks after our 18 hr ferry ride from Aswan to Wadi Halfa on Lake Nasser. The ferry, as expected, was crowded with a mish mash of traders, toursits and local travellers. Every available space on deck had a person sitting, standing or laying down, claiming their spot for the night. The toilets were rank, the cabins were stuffy and smelled sour, like fermented cheese. Still I managed to sleep a good 12 hrs. I guess I needed it.
The 61 riders that started from Cairo are a very diverse group representing 14 countries. It's a much younger group than last year but oddly enough it is the young ones who are in bed first and so far have been the least rowdy on rest days. That is bound to change. One of the best parts of the tour are its participants as most people don't try an epic tour like this without having a pretty interesting back story. It's been a struggle just to learn all their names for now but I look forward to spending more time with each rider and hearing about how they came to the decision to pedal accross Africa.
The staff, especially our two assistant tour directors, are great. They are learning fast and deal with client issues very well. We were a bit worried about our nurse. She had a real tough time in Cairo, her bags didn't arrive until the day before we left, she was sick, and she was a bit overwhelmed by everything. But now she seems to be settling in fine. The logistics of the tour have been running quite smoothly. We are slowly settling in to a routine, though that will change shortly since our entire route through Sudan will be new this year. So that will mean a lot of scouting and deliberations over distances and road conditions and availabiltiy of local support and water and food. The pay off though is worth it. We'll be riding through parts of Sudan that most tourists never get to see.
The Ferry has docked.... more later.