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Published: April 30th 2013
After our relaxing days at the Red Sea we had to say good bye to our Egyptian tour guide and make our way via ferry to Jordan. We were dropped off at the port and with the help of a security guard got through customs without any incidents. (We entered in one building, put our bags through an xray machine that no one paid any attention to and then had to go to another building to wait.) We were ushered into one corner of a large hall where all of the ferry passengers were waiting. The passengers were mostly local, and the other tourists were from the middle east. They were also mostly male. The fact that you never see women just out and around baffles me. That combined with all of the staring definitely makes me uncomfortable. In any case, the waiting hall was an interesting place! It was very dirty, the tiny windows were just brown and some of them were broken. There were flies everywhere and the benches were sticky. It was packed with people and guys walked around with pots of tea to sell (but apparently not to us. It seemed like they tried to keep us seperate from everyone else). After a couple of hours we were transferred to a bus which took us to the ferry. Some young guys helped us unload our luggage, there are friendly, helpful people everywhere in Egypt.
The ferry took quite some time to load so we settled into our retro airline seats to wait. We waited until after 6 pm. We had been dropped off at the port at noon, so we spent ALL afternoon just passing the time. On the boat the guys next to us tried to talk to us the entire time, but they didn't speak any english and we don't speak arabic so there wasn't a lot of actual understanding. They shared snacks with us and wanted to listen to the music I had on my Ipod. It was awkward but entertaining. Everyone was taking pictures of us on the sly with their phones. I'm not sure why were such an attraction to them. Especially when some bedouin ladies started to sing at the front of the boat, then they thought they were being sneaky getting pictures of "everyone" watching the singers. So bizarre.
When the boat finally did leave Egypt it was dark. The crossing was supposed to take and hour and a half. 3 1/2 hours later we FINALLY reached Jordan. By the time we got through customs again, got our passports back from the guy who collected them from us on the boat (that was disconcerting, but turned out all right), and made the short drive to the hotel, it was well after 10pm. Even though we didn't have an active day, we were exhausted. We still mustered the energy to go out to eat in a very cute little restaurant close to our hotel, but it was an effort to stay awake.
I can't say the ferry crossing was the most enjoyable part of our travels, but I do think it was one of the more interesting experiences. We were right in with locals who didn't normally cater to tourists and we met some oddball characters who made the day a little more bearable. Really, that's what travel is about, meeting people and experiencing things that you wouldn't in your normal life.
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