Last time I took notes during a transportation day was the time I was in Central America getting from Nicaragua to El Salvador. I wrote the post Diary of a “Transportation Day” in there I explained about how I hate transportation days & a full detailed account of getting from one place to another in Central America. I hadn’t thought about taking notes during a transportation day in a while, but I knew taking a 2nd class train ride from Luxor to Cairo would be interesting so did so.
Train travel in Egypt is reliable and even though it still takes for ever to get from place to place it’s the best way to get around (where available) and actually good. My 1st experience with train travel in Egypt was taking a 1st class sleeper car train from Cairo all the way down to Aswan. I normally avoid 1st class and take whatever is cheapest. However in Egypt they will not sell you anything, but 1st class at the window if you are a tourist. They do it for our protection because in the past their has been terrorist attempts on trains. The ticket was 360L.E. ($60) and not much in reality for a long 15 hour ride in a sleeper train, but compared to 52L.E. ($8.66) for a 2nd class train ticket that’s a huge difference (especially when you are on a budget).
The train ride down to Aswan was amazing. I was treated very well and was traveling in luxury something I’m not used to. They served us dinner after in hour in route and then after that came back to do the beds. I had the top bunk and loved it. I couldn’t stop EEEEeeee-ing I was like a kid and so excited. I was going to stay up and do some writing, but the bed was actually comfortable so I knocked out and slept like a king. I woke up in time for sunrise by coincidence and then went back to sleep.
Yup that is me sleeping in the train! Ahh it was so cool… I would so do it every time if I could afford it. Made it to Aswan and I enjoyed the Temples of Abu Simbel & Philae and then fell in love with Elephantine Island. I then hopped on a train to get to Luxor and enjoyed a view of Luxor the Pharaohs didn’t even have. After 8 days in Upper Egypt it was time for me to get back to Cairo. I was missing a certain someone and well ready to get back to him. The thing was I did not want to pay $60 to take a sleeper train back to Cairo. Luckily a girl in my dorm was going to Cairo that night and told me she was just going to hop on the 2nd class train and buy the ticket on board. I couldn’t believe it and told her I would tag along, because I wanted to do that too, but to scared to do it alone.
What happened next is the following:
7:15pm – Arrived at station for a train that departs at 7:45pm.
7:45pm – Of course the train is still not here… ahh Egypt how I love ya!
7:50pm – Some random man tells us it’s going to arrive at a different platform. So we change platforms.
8:00pm – We get on the train. We have no tickets which means we have no assigned seats which means we will play musical seats the entire ride to Cairo.
8:03pm – The train starts rolling!
8:05pm – We found some empty seats.
8:09pm – Okay yeah they weren’t empty… ah let the fun begin.
8:11pm – Found an empty seat so took it. Every one is looking at me crazy and like I don’t belong in that seat, im sure it is someones. I guess I’ll find out in a bit.
8:15pm – I notice a group of kids in front of me looking at me in awe.
8:30pm – They start speaking English to me and asking me questions:
“What’s your favorite subject?”
“Are you married?”
“Where you from?”
“How old are you?”
8:35pm – Yay the ticket guy just sold me a ticket for 52L.E. ($8.66).
Oh & that doesn’t mean I get a seat… that just means I can stay on the train until Cairo.
9:00pm – My 1st yawn… ahh this is going to be a long night, but these kids are too cute and still talking to me.
I can’t stop smiling.
9:25pm – They ask if I can please take a photo of me with their parents cell phone. They take several.
9:30pm – They then ask me to please touch their baby sister.
I’ve never been asked to touch a baby, but okay.
9:35pm – I am asked to please be quite by the guy behind me because he is trying to sleep. So the talking stops.
9:37pm – Since I haven’t been asked to move I will close my eyes and try and to get some sleep.
9:51pm – Ahh thought to soon… was asked to move because it’s someones seat.
9:52pm – The father of the children offeres me the seat next to him because it’s his friends and he won’t be back for a while.
10:04pm – I am then offered sunflower seeds. I accept and eat away.
10:30pm – I want to go to sleep, but can’t.
10:48pm – Ugh it’s gonna be a long ride.
1:03am – Wow I slept for a while.
2:11am – Damn it the guy came for his seat… time to move again.
Not a single seat is available.
2:26am – I am now standing between cabins with others and it’s fucking freezing.
2:27am – It is Superbowl Sunday at home and I know my girl Kelly Clarkson is sing the national anthem.
I wonder how my girl Kelly Clarkson did singing the national anthem at the Superbowl.
2:49am – OMG it’s fucking freezing here and I am tired of standing up… ugh are we in Cairo yet?
3:15am – Someone sitting on the floor has moved so now I am sitting on the floor and freezing to death.
3:30am – Yup still freezing and still have about 5 Egyptians just looking at me like what am I doing here.
3:48am – I still can’t get comfortable… ugh just kill me now… this is when I start questioning everything.
Why am I traveling?
Why am I on a budget?
Why am I cheap?
Why am I doing this?
5:07am – I must have fallen asleep clenching my day pack. I wake up to someone tapping me on my shoulder and telling me that they are getting off and that I can take their seat.
5:08am – Oh it’s cus we are pulling into Cairo… well I don’t need it anymore.
The entire time I am dealing with this the other girl had a comfortable crate to sit on in the kitchen area through out the whole ride. So yeah that is what traveling in 2nd class looks like in Egypt. It is by all means very uncomfortable and crazy yet so amazing at the same time. I will never forget talking to the kids and being asked to take a photo or touch their baby sister. I won’t forget freezing my ass off between cabins. It’s the small crazy experiences like this that make travel fun and such an adventure. Now that I know how to use the train system on a budget when I get back I will continue to do so. I will just hop on a train pay and enjoy! So tell me would you be able to handle this? What’s your craziest train ride story? When things are so uncomfortable do you start questioning everything too?