Wednesday, 10 October 2007

Night train to Aswan (Day 4)

If you want to get from Cairo to Aswan one of the easiest ways is to catch a night train. You simply buy a ticket, get on the train in the evening, get a comfortable chair, fall asleep and wake up in Aswan eight hours later.

Well that's in theory. In reality it took around 15 hours and a new locomotive to get to our destination. Well we got used to that kind of stuff at this point.

When the train stopped on a occasional train station, I tried to take a photo or two through the train window. I had quite a hard time doing that - those windows haven't been washed for a while.

As our guide wisely pointed out:

All you need to know about the way things work in the Middle-East can be represented with three letters - IBM

No, not the company, but the acronym - I.B.M.

Letter I stands for Insha'Allah - If Allah wills. People finish their promises pretty often with these words. This means that if something doesn't happen, well it wasn't meant to happen in the first place.
Letter B stands for Bokra - Tomorrow. When someone promises something will happen bokra, he usually doesn't literally mean tomorrow, but sometime in the near future.
Letter M stands for Malesh - Never mind. When Allah doesn't will and Bokra never comes, then instead of upsetting yourself you can say Malesh and forget about it.

When you accept these things, everything is much more enjoyable in Egypt. The same was with our train - Allah's plan was a bit different from our schedule, but we eventually got to Aswan, thought to ourselves: "Malesh" and were moving on.

First we settled in a hotel. This one was much better compared to the one in Cairo. We could even enjoy a beautiful view of the Nile from our balcony.

Then we went on a round walk around the city center. The walk also included a bazaar. It didn't take us long to notice the lack of rubbish laying around. That's compared to Cairo of course.

Hunger was slowly getting to us and our guide took us to a local pizza place. Not Italian kind of pizza, but its Egyptian version. It was delicious!

After that it was time to catch some sleep. Our schedule continued at 2AM the next day. Yup, that's right - at two in the morning we were moving on.


Jose 10 October 2007 at 18:25  

Souds it was a pretty amazing trip so far.

Anonymous,  11 October 2007 at 09:36  

IBM - interesting explanation! hehe

nfds 11 October 2007 at 16:45  

IMB - this works similarly in Morocco and Mali, too. It takes some time to get used to this kind of time perceiving. But once you do you'll be rewarded with inner calmness; everything will happen when the time comes. No need to rush, no need to be in a hurry.

Nice blog!

All the best,

Travel-PB 12 October 2007 at 18:55  

It sure was interesting! I hope you enjoy reading about it!

Thanks Luke! You've also got a nice one yourself. ;)

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