Dahab – Aqaba

I left Dahab at 10am to go to Nuweiba, from where the ferry to Aqaba, Jordan, leaves.

With me in the van were an American girl on leave from her volunteering in the Peace Corps in Kenya, and Laura and Rens, a Dutch couple, who were on a side-trip to Petra in Jordan and also wanted to catch the ferry.

Only minutes before we passed through, an accident had happened at a long down-hill curve, with two trucks crashing into each other head-on. One of the drivers was still stuck in the wreck of his truck and people tried to get him out. Didn’t look good at all. Apparently the right equipment to cut him out was missing. There was nothing we could have done.

In Nuweiba, Laura, Rens and me hurried to the ticket office, only to see it being shut right in front of us. It was time for prayer and lunch. We were told to come back in one hour’s time, at 12.30pm. We had a little snack and were back after exactly one hour. And waited one more hour before the window opened again. Meanwhile we had learned from a friendly police officer that the ferry would leave between 1pm and 2pm. We held the tickets in our hands at quarter to 2pm.

While waiting I had a chat with a Jordanian truck driver. He told me that he paid USD 485 for a ticket for his truck to Jordan, and USD 400 for the trip from there back to Egypt. We paid USD 75 per person for the 3 hours (approx. 80km) of net sailing. He said he’d have to wait for about 3 days because his truck was number 120 in the queue, and the ferry’s capacity is limited to 40 to 45 trucks at a time (and of course it sails only once a day, weather permitting). Unfortunately I didn’t ask what prevented him from transiting through Israel. He also correctly predicted that the ticket seller would return about an hour later than announced. Last but not least he mentioned that Egypt was dangerous currently. I thought he was talking about dangers for tourists, but he said that nobody here would touch a tourist as tourism is too important for the country, especially now during the revolution where you could count foreigners almost on one hand. No, he said that Arabs were targeted by robbers.

Well, the ferry left at 5pm.

On the boat we met Vladimir from Russia, who had brought his bike to cycle around Jordan on his first-ever bike trip before flying to Ukraine, and Nicolas from Argentina.

They both wanted to stay the night in Aqaba as well and we shared a room in a simple hotel downtown. At check-in the guy at the reception bent my passport in an unhealthy way and it broke almost completely. The ID page is is now held by a tiny piece of plastic and will fall out with the next incautious touching. I hope they’ll accept it at the airport and let me leave the country.

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