The port at Nuweiba is starkly different from the Jordan side; un-tarmac’d and loud. Men drag trolleys heaped impossibly high with beds, bundles and office chairs into an open-sided iron hangar, where everything is sausage-squeezed through X-ray hatches. A lovely young Egyptian dad has offered to guide us through, and with his help we find the bus station on the other side, and buy our tickets for the East Delta bus to Cairo.
More waiting, and we don’t mind at all. We drink very cheap tea and watch the trolley-men load bundles onto buses, toiling among the station’s population of cats. The cats look well-fed and devious, the very same that kept court with the Pharaohs. An American girl walks through, whistled and whooped at by the porters. The call for our bus comes.
The bus is a thousand times better than the Disco-Midget, with legspace and seats that recline, but sleep is the last thing I feel for. To Cairo! Jesus. Moses. I’m astonished that we’re here in Egypt, the end point of the voyage out, barrelling through the desert, stopping to piss under the stars, freezing to death in the gale from the driver’s window, in Egypt.
My euphoria buoys me all the way to Cairo six hours later, a four a.m world of dirt and huge flyovers where we haggle a taxi fare and navigate litter-strewn alleys to a hostel bed.