We left the Nile River a few weeks ago setting out into Egypt’s Western Desert. On the map it looks dry and desolate. The ‘towns’ are few and far between and not even noted on our Michelin map…humm. We stocked up on water, lots of water. What little did we know. Now looking over the map we have a completely different perspective. The tiny oasis towns that dot Egypt’s western frontier are alive in every sense of the word. We fell in love with the slow relaxed atmosphere and the remarkable fortitude and generosity of the people living in these isolate outposts.
So much has happened…where to begin?
We began traveling with Rouven and Christine, a German couple who left Germany 16 months ago, circumnavigating Africa in a bright yellow Iveco caravan. Our paths kept intersecting, so we decided to merge. We ended the journey sand boarding the windblown dunes outside of Siwa with a couple of American students studying Arabic and a South African guide living in Alexandria. In between these jaunts we met and hung out with: Egypt’s fastest desert racer (who holds two Guinnes Book records, working on a third), an internationally acclaimed artist creating magic out of sand, a few recluses on the lam (we didn’t ask), an attorney cum coffee shop owner, an organic mint farmer/soap maker, two Namibian agriculture students and a third from Burundi, a water buffalo rancher, a few hash smokers, a few more artists and a couple of date/olive farmers. What a bunch. The short end of the story is we had a blast, we were welcomed with open arms and fell in love with these sandy little heavens far away from the tourist madness that is Egypt.
Today we reached the Mediterranean coast, four hundred nineteen days and 50,200+ miles from where this whole journey began. Looking back on the early photos is a trip. It seems so, so long ago. Ages ago. Lifetimes ago. We were clean back then. Wow, what a year.
Tomorrow we’ll drive east to Alexandria where our real work will begin. We need to get our car back to a dealer in South Africa who will sell it to another lucky family who will call our little Toyota home and begin their own journey. Our airline tickets have long since expired, so we’ll have to sort out a return flight. Just the thought of life back in the USA freaks us both out, but we’re more than excited to come home in spite of the madness that we call the developed world. We’ve gone feral. The transition will be an interesting one. But returning to our own little paradise in Oregon makes the prospect so much more appealing. I miss you like crazy and can’t wait to wrap my arms around you, have dinners together and talk, talk, talk. Living with a man for a year has really cut into my daily allotment of words and I have 14 months of pent up chatter just waiting to let loose.
We’ll probably spend a month sorting out the logistics, checking out Alex and Cairo and maybe Sinai if we can swing it. I know a MONTH! That is longer than most American vacations (sorry to rub it in), but we’ve grown into the rhythms of life in Africa and things here take time. Sometimes just checking Facebook seems like a noble daily accomplishment. So keep posting photos of flowers and signs of spring, we need all the motivation we can get.
Sending all my love,