Hope all is well in the world with you :)
I just got back to my Mom's place in Tagamo. Although it was hard to say goodbye to Dahab, the Red Sea and the friends that I had the pleasure of making in that awesome town, it feels good to be back near Cairo!
It's strange to say, but I missed the hustle and bustle of this place :)
Anywho, the last two times that I made the trip between Cairo and Dahab, I took one of the white minibus taxis that expats typically organize for themselves.
I assumed that this was the only real method of transport unless you owned your own car, so I asked the guys at the diving shop to organize a van for me. They looked surprised and asked me why I wasn't taking the 'big bus' - essentially the greyhound bus - instead.
'It will cost 90 Egyptian pounds (approx. $12) instead of $100'. Sold.
I was initially planning on taking the overnight bus last night so that if isn't waste any daytime - the countdown is officially on for my departure from Egypt, so I want to make use of all the precious time that I have left - and so that I arrived in Cairo when it was light out. Always makes things a bit easier when it's not already nighttime here when you're traveling solo.
It wasn't meant to be, however, since I was supposed to buy my ticket in advance and clearly didn't. My bad. It's all good, though. I had dinner with some friends to bid Dahab a proper farewell ;)
I decided to try and catch the early morning bus that left Dahab at 7:30am. I managed to get up and to the bus station in Dahab city with enough time to buy some snacks for the bus (you never really know when there will be stops on the buses here - or at least I don't with my verrrry limited amount of Arabic - so it's always a good idea to be over prepared with snacks, water and toilet paper).
'There's not enough people to have a 7:30 bus. Come back at 9'.
I had a feeling something like that would happen.
Second time was a charm, though. Persistence is key, my friends!
So off I went. I sat beside this really interesting Scottish lady, who had done some pretty epic traveling herself. We shared some travel stories until Sharm el Sheik, where she got off and I was politely told that I was sitting in the wrong seat. Who knew that there were seat numbers on our bus tickets?! Anyway, I moved up front and central beside a cute older grandmother and her daughter and grandson (aka the most well-behave child of all time).
Not so surprisingly, we were stopped at the first checkpoint and a soldier came on to inspect my passport. The driver got up and closed the curtains on my window with a grumble. We actually didn't have too much trouble after that - I got a system down where I would avoid contact with all the guys at the checkpoint and they would usually let us pass without any troubles. Great success!
My Momster decided to send a taxi man that she knows to come get me at the Almaza bus station, since I wasn't entirely sure of the directions to her place yet - I could get to it from Ma'adi, but not from the airport direction.
There's also another stop in downtown Cairo, but the Almaza station near the airport was actually closer for me to get to Tagamo.
The ride itself was pretty uneventful - we stopped at a few random places along the road to pick people up and drop people off (the bus driver barely slowed down to let them off, I think it was his own personal joke to see them jump off while the bus was still moving); we made a few rest stops at random little restaurant areas; and watched to some Egyptian TV show, MyEgy, and Arabic music, the volume obviously turned full blast.
I would definitely recommend the bus if you are traveling solo or with a small group. It's way cheaper, quite comfortable, and gives you a bit more of an 'Egyptian experience', if you will ;)