Official website: www.londoncapetownrally.com
day, another ferry.
This time Sagaga in Egypt to Duba in Saudi Arabia.
We were all on the ferry by 1am and I was asleep when it left, which I'm told was about 4am. The ferry was a catamaran and had 2 car decks. The rally filled one deck and the other was empty as far as I could see. We had a lounge for rally crews with airline type chairs (which didn't recline). I slept reasonably well.
10: Safaga (Egypt) to Jeddah (Saudi Arabia)
Upon waking in the morning,
the girls on the rally all put on their burka type robes but
with black head scarves rather than the full face bit
(right). The girl drivers had to swap places with some of
the rally officials who will do the driving for them while
in Saudi Arabia.
It was 11:15am before we got
away from the port after doing immigration, customs and
carnet. Customs was relaxed and the threatened search for
alcohol didn't happen. We then started the drive to Yanbu
where we will spend the night.
There is no competition in
Saudi, so it is all transport and I'm writing this in the
car as it's 118 km to the next call in the route chart.
First impressions of Saudi:
it is very bleak and desolate. More so than Egypt. They do
have better roads and infrastructure. Clearly a rich
country. The highways we are travelling on are 2 lanes each
way separated by 30 metres of gravel in the form of a dip.
Speed limit is 120 which is as fast as the Datsun is
comfortable at. We can talk by yelling at each other at that
speed. Any faster and we need the headsets on.
Coming up to a checkpoint
a decorated highway roundabout
We are not really happy with
yesterday's scores. Cars that didn't make it thru the first
stage and cut and run, skipping controls, got the same
penalty as us who completed the section, got the
redirection and reported on time to the next control.
What the organisers have done
is dropped all penalties for thetwo transport sections after
the sand and they put a maximum on the last stage of 10
minutes. The effect of this is those who were ahead of us
and who didn't complete the section or report to the next
two controls, got the same penalty as us. So instead of us
gaining those places we lost 4 places from the Porsches and
two of the big 4WDs who didn't get bogged.
This is the second time this
has happened. In Greece, cars got stuck in mud and they
limited time loss there as well. They are definitely making
up rules as they go. There will always be winners and losers
when this sort of thing happens, but at the moment luck (or
maybe the organisers) seems to favour others.
Saw camel and goats on the
edge of the road today. Unfortunately we are generally past
them before I can get a camera going.
Car still going well. Tyres
Staying at the Tulip Inn in
Yanbu. We have an apartment tonight but there is a Mosque
next door. There was a call to prayer a little while ago and
I just hope there isn't one at midnight or 4 in the
The apartment has Kitchen, 2
bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, lounge room and they are all big
rooms. No alcohol tonight .
Day 11 Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia was interesting
(I am writing this on the ferry to Safaga in Sudan, Sudan).
There are virtually no women to be seen. Men are generally
friendly wanting to shake hands and ask about the car, but
language is a problem.
me with a fan
There are lots of young boys in groups, generally driving utes whose behaviour is crazy.
want to meet you, shake hands, and race you in their utes.
They hang out of open doors, drive through red lights and
would be arrested in 5 minutes in Australia. And they look
about 15 years old to me.
It's actually the morning of the 12th. Our guess is the ferry will get in at say 11 to 12 and if immigration/customs takes the usual 4 hours it may be 4 pm before we start the 700 Km drive to Gederaf. So midnight at best to Gederaf and we have a 7:30 am start the next day.
No hot water, no towels, last cleaned the day it was built.
We slept in our sleeping bags
rather than use the bedding. Mark has just told me that the
toilet doesn't flush. Can't wait to get out of here.