Stage 7: Luxor to Idfu
5:30 sure seems to come early. Packing up this morning much easier without a tent to worry about. Unfortunately, early morning equanimity ruffled upon discovering rear tire is soft; what the heck, pump it back up for now and I’ll worry about it later when it warms up a little. I am prevarication personified. Riders’ meeting before breakfast: Tallis emphasizes advisability of riding in groups today and tomorrow due to kids, or worse, teenagers, tending to be too enthusiastic in their greetings (grabbing at arms or handlebars) if not downright aggressive.
We’re away by 6:40 just as sun starts to appear. We’re escorted all morning by motorcycle police, ahead and behind, as well as in-between as groups join, split, coalesce again as day goes on. Today is a short day, essentially flat, running first along a major canal to the Nile, and then the Nile itself. Once out of town and the main traffic crush, lots of agriculture, but all small holdings, not industrial scale. Very pretty scenery and the morning sun eventually warms.
The morning goes quickly and we reach the lunch spot, a sandy beach on the river, shortly after 10:00. Some minor harassment in the last 30-45 minutes or so, but I was more concerned with the traffic than the people at that point. Unfortunately, one of our riders did let herself isolated and experienced some drama. We all are a little tense after the lunch break.
Continuing on the last 40 km of the day, we pass through several villages or built-up areas; kids or young people now increasing both in numbers and encroachments into our paths. We don’t really have anything more than minor contact, but still, it cannot be termed a relaxing ride. A shame, as it seems the Elders are quick to show their disapproval of such behaviour. The little kids are almost hysterical in their greetings.
Traffic, especially the ‘bajaj’ or tuk-tuk’s which abound like so many motorized cockroaches, carelessly plunge out into the road from their hidden lairs, swerving abruptly in front of all and everyone (especially cyclists, it seems), ignoring everything except the promise of their next fare or drop-off. Drivers of these diabolical vehicles typically have no rear nor side vision, those being obscured by curtains to the side and the covered passenger area to the rear.
I don’t like them!
Well, we reach our camp quickly enough on the outskirts of Idfu; a sort of municipal park. Grassy area and welcome surprise: toilets and (cold) showers are freely available. A group venture forth into town in search of beer, it being that time of day, but alas, none to be found. However, pizza and a bakery are discovered, so the expedition not felt a failure. Excellent dinner tonight and, it being Pete’s birthday, a very fancy cake appears!
And that’s it for Idfu.