Wednesday, 23 March 2011

The Boat

I fall back into the European world with a bump. The boat does not cater for filth like myself – that is, there's no “hobo class”. My room is very nice and I'm happy with it – but no happier than I'd be rolling out my sleeping bag on the top deck. Everything comes at an extortionate cost...or at least that's how it feels after a considerable stay in the Middle East.

I exchange pleasantries with the few other English speaking guests on board. No other traveller types and no-one remotely my age to share the bar with. Perhaps it's not bad thing – one of the few nuggets I've learned on this venture – I'm a total sucker for bad beer and good company.

My first day aboard passes quickly. The novelty of new transport and the three hundred and sixty degree view of endless blue has me transfixed for some hours. I talk with the manager about my food/money problem in the evening – not even through the first day and I'm already struggling with my empty stomach. We come a deal where by I can have some meals and pay for it by card when we dock in Egypt.

The next day we arrive in Egypt. I watch from the top deck as passengers and goods are unloaded and then loaded – its a painfully slow process. The manager mentions that there might be another cyclist staying in my cabin (my original cabin-mate was not a fan of “au de cyclist” and so asked for another room). Late afternoon comes a knock on my door. I open it and in walk Richard (from such episodes as Istanbul Take Two). In walks Richard. My brain is unable to compute this co-incidence and so my greeting comes out as a mumbled grunt.

“Thought I recognised that bike downstairs”

And then there were two...

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