Gangs of Wild Goats
May 31,2009 – Day 157 – Nuweiba, Egypt
From 9AM until 5PM, we did nothing. We read, drank tea, played cards, and walked and sat and sighed and grumbled and waited some more. When we played cards in a little cafe-restaurant across from the terminal we amassed a highly curious and involved audience who offered (Arabic) advice on how we should play our cards and intently watchful eyes of all ages, from the 5 year old son of the cafe owner to a scraggly old man of about 60.
We were told by the owner of the bungalow last night to make sure we get to the ferry early as they only sell tickets until noon and sometimes they sell out! We had heard horror stories about this ferry and they were all true. From the crazy gangs of roving goats in the streets of Nuweiba City to the wretched, indescribably hot building and the never ending wait, it was all true. And on top of everything, that extra $10 to take the “guaranteed express” ferry, that $10 that could feed us both for 2 days was completely wasted because not only was the ferry tremendously late (2 hours), it still took four freaking hours to get there!!
So leaving at 5pm from Egypt put us into Aqaba around 9pm where we had to wait around for our visas and passports before we could officially leave the premises. We powered ahead of the line of 200 or so Jordanians trying to pass the border and told the guard we had to catch a bus and he let us pass as well as the two Aussies who tagged along behind us.
As we rounded the corner we saw what looked remotely like a zombie film. Touts and taxi drivers were piled up against the fence reaching in trying to grab at anything with money. We watched as two Japanese girls entered the mess, never to be seen again. We fastened down and plunged through; pushing, shoving, and yelling NO (in Arabic) as we were grabbed and dragged in 5 different directions. We had a rough idea that town was closer than is really was. We topped the hill and saw the lights of the city far off. We had no choice but to take a taxi As we walked down into the maylay. We spotted the two Aussies we had briefly chatted with on the ferry who were looking horrified, dazed, and utterly helpless. They didn`t have one red cent between them so Saben got a taxi to take us all four to the city center for 5 Dinar (all the money we had). The driver had started on the Aussies at 35 Dinar; that`s outrageous!!
Lucky for us the Aussies had a place in mind to stay and we didn`t so they saved us there. It was almost 10pm and we had no interest in walking around the city in the dark, fully loaded, without a place to stay. It was the lovely Jordan Flower Hotel where we secured a private double (no dorms available) wıth shared bath for about 11 JD/pp. A bit expensive for us but that is the price one pays to be unprepared (but to be fair, we had expected to arrive in the day time about 5 hours earlier!). But the Jordan Flower is perfectly located, with an unbeatable falfel place just around the corner and up a block, an ATM a street over and an internet cafe just behind it.