We started out this morning at 8:00 sharp. That turned out to be around 8:35 Egyptian time, which isn't too bad. We started out from our front door in a Toyota van. It is about a hundred miles as the crow flies to Wadi El-Hitan except no crow follows this route. We headed north to catch the southbound highway toward Fayoum. Here's a map that shows our route.
It's the last 23 miles across the desert that makes it a four hour drive although the multitude of speed-bumps along the lake-shore drive near Fayoum don't help either.
Our first stop was for fuel, of course. Vehicles here are seldom filled before beginning a trip. After all, why fill up before you pick up the clients? Note that the van is well equipped with Kleenex on a piece of shag rug which is another local custom.
Our next stop was a rest stop. We pulled in at this convenience store which has chips, water, soda and tea. Linda is being shown to the restroom around back, a tiny square shack with a door off the hinges and a porcelain hole. The courteous driver adjusted the door over the opening after she was inside and then he discreetly disappeared.
We opted for freshly brewed tea. A wide variety of teas and Nescafe is available and you know the glasses are always clean, because they are wet.
I know there are people interested in construction who read this blog, so here is a shot of the ceiling support beam and electrical work.
Back on the road, we passed this one or two miles long row of tombs. Linda says I have taken this picture before but I can't help using it again.
Shortly after we turned south from Lake Qarun at the Fayoum Oasis, it was time to change vehicles. We switched from the van into a 4-wheel drive Toyota Land Cruiser, the vehicle of choice for the desert.
If something looks not-quite-right about that Land Cruiser, it is because it is stuck in the sand. No driver of a 4-wheel drive vehicle here can resist taking a shortcut off-road. We have been to the desert three times in recent years and have had to help extricate the vehicle each time.
Since I was busy taking pictures, I couldn't push at this point. I imagine that the passengers on the bus were wondering why we didn't just stay on the paved road. I was wondering that myself.
But, I have to admit, the Land Cruiser got us to some spectacular views of this area that we were not able to see last year in the low-slung sedan.
They were well-worth the initial inconvenience.
We finally arrived at the entrance to Wadi El-Hitan at about 1:15. Well under five hours.
(To be continued.)