Having arrived in Newiba just after 0100 (Egyptian time) we (the 8 tourists) were escorted off the ferry first albeit without our passports we were then walked across to the arrivals terminal, shepherded through security to the visa desk. Unfortunately Emily and I had taken the word of a Jordanian travel rep who said we didn’t require a visa, thinking it must have recently changed from what we had previously researched we didn’t have sufficient funds to buy two visas and the nearest ATM was the other side of passport control. After much complaining they produced a card machine. We were then led along a corridor, up some stairs along a slightly darker corridor, round a corner to a room at the end, which happened to be the visa issuing office and also where all our passports were. Visas issued we were finally released.
Once outside the terminal and beyond the grasp of taxi drivers we made our way to the bus stop waiting room, a few hundred metres away. Here we attempted to sleep for the next 4 and a half hours on hard wooden benches, Emily managed to doze off but I was far too uncomfortable. At 0500 we got up and walked down the road to the bus stop to buy a ticket and wait for our bus. However on arrival it looked derelict with only a homeless looking man around, so much so that Emily didn’t believes we were in the right place. We stayed there though and at 0600 the ‘ticket office’ finally opened and we got aboard a bus bound for Dahab, the next big town up the coast and where we could get another bus to Cairo from.
On arrival at Dahab at around 0800 we debussed and went straight to the ticket office where we purchased the next available seats to Cairo, the bus was leaving in 4 hours time, cue another painstakingly long wait, this time with no hope of sleep. 1200/came and went but at half past we finally got on board and sat in our allotted seats right at the front.
What came next was an infuriatingly long bus ride. Firstly we drove south to Sharm el Sheikh which to anyone who knows their Egyptian geography will appreciate that it is completely in the wrong direction and despite our driver constantly driving over the speed limit and overtaking like he was in a police chase it took us 7 hours to reach the Suez Cannel or at least to the queue for the tunnel under it. We spent the next 2 and a half hours crawling, with what seemed like the rest of Egypt, to the ticket booth for the tunnel. After what seemed like a lifetime we were finally through and had a measly 130km to go.
Cairo city was as expected: busy, noisy, dirty with no signs of stopping despite it being gone midnight. We had taken a taxi from the bus stop to our hostel which was a stone’s throw away from the Nile and the Egyptian Museum. Thankfully there was a receptionist still awake who led us to our room. With not much energy to do anything other than shower (very much needed by this point) we collapsed into bed.