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Published: November 18th 2010
So I left the Akram Inn, and the company of the two Australians I met on the ferry, and with trepidation back in my heart, I headed off on my own to the bus station for a 10hour overnight bus to Siwa, a small oasis in the middle of the Western Desert, just 40miles from Libya. On my own, for the first time. It was good to have some company for the first few days, but I was now ready to head off alone - it had all been a bit too predictable and dare i say it, almost too easy so far. I wonder how long I'll regret writing those few words?
I found my way to the station, even to the correct platform, was getting used to being the only white face in the place, when in walks a stereo-typical all-American guy. Aviators as standard. Still, some company should help with the long bus journey, so I decide to give conversation a go. Mike, confounding expectations, turns out to be a liberal American (i guess they generally are in the Middle-East) biologist, a perenial Bush-baiter, and has an impressive passport stamp from Antarctica. He still likes guns though.
After a sleep deprived bus ride (the bus was apparently swapped for a freezer at about 2am) we arrived in Siwa at 5am. And it felt like heaven. Cold. But still heavenly. We checked into the first hotel we found, and as the rest of the town slept, watched the sun rise, bathing the town in the light of a new day. The air is clean and crisp. Car horns have been replaced with birds singings. Car engines replaced with plodding donkeys. It's quiet. It's eerie. It's beautiful. We could be a million miles from Cairo. And it feels as if we're even further. Instantly I know I'll enjoy Siwa.
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