Our first problem was to sort out the impossible situation that had arisen because of these unwanted Israeli stamps in our passports. We went to some very chaotic Egyptian authorities where we were shuttled from office to office. We tried to get some kind of an Egyptian document to get us over the border and out of Egypt without any hassle. We tried this for about two days and then came the brilliant idea out of the spiritual blue to get new passports. Eventually we found the German embassy and they did a rush job and Irmgard had a new passport within 2 days and at the same time we found the British Embassy and they were very sympathetic who also did a rush job on a new one for me too.
At last no record of those unwanted stamps! So we were off the hook but a little poorer as we had to spend a lot of cash to get those documents. Remember if I had followed God's leading on the road to Limasol in Cyprus I believe the story would have been different. God forgives us but there are consequences for our failures as well as rewards when we get it right.
We still had great hopes for finding a ship to take us East away from Egypt. We circled round from Alexandria then to Port Said and then Suez quite some times. Maybe we visited those places twice trying to find ships. We talked to Captains and shipping agents but no one wanted to help. It was a closed door. The harder we tried the more impossible it seemed. We even had the idea of trying to board a ship when it stopped to embark a canal pilot.
We would be hitch hiking down a road and not realizing where we were exactly and then in the field next door we would see this enormous vessel towering above us, seemingly traveling on dry land. Only when one came closer did we see the water of this most strategic and famous of all the world's Canals.
We became very good at hitch-hiking in this extraordinary country of contrasts. It was good preparation for India. Many times we were gazed at by crowds of children who had never seen two westerners at the side of the road holding out their thumbs or waving down vehicles. They lived in very primitive conditions in small villages. Sometimes they got really close with a kind of very simple familiar spirit. When it got unbearable I would just shout out BOO! And raise my arms like a bear, and they would turn tail and run. Sometimes they would come back and it would turn into a game. Kind of cute but sometimes rather inconvenient.
We got lifts with rich Arabs driving large American Limos and we would sit in the back seat with wife number 2 or 3. Wife number 1 who was usually young and pretty would sit in the front. The music was something else. A melody and then BUM BUM BUM at the end of each line with loud drums. A totally different culture but very interesting. The prayers that were shouted from the tops of the minarets made sure that we never slept in. I got quite used to it in the month that we stayed at the Monastery. Our little flat was such a great help. We became friendly with the Nuns who many times offered us free meals and were fascinated by our faith. In those day we were definitely not Roman Catholics but they were such a blessing for us.
Driving in down town Cairo was bedlam. Horns sounding all the time. Short sharp continuous bursts to warn the many pedestrians who walked in the middle of the street and then scuttle away at the last moment. Once we had passed they would resume their positions treating the main road like a European walking street where all vehicles are forbidden.
The contrast from the business area and five star Hotels to the simple and very primitive conditions out in the country was most noticeable.
I know this sounds ridiculous but we never visited the Pyramids. I was so intent on completing this journey that I believed that any deviation from the objective would have been a side track. I regret it now. Many people asked us about this and this was the answer we had to give them.
Now we had two possibilities. Go back and give up or hitch to Aswan and take the ferry to Wadi Halfa and then a train to Port Sudan. Then we would have to pray that the Lord would part the Red Sea for us. We pondered over this idea laying it before the Lord and this is what He seemed to want. We made the decision to hitch due south to Aswan after thanking those Nuns and their Mother Superior.