This scene recounts all the chaos of a classic experience which all who head down Africa’s east route will negotiate: the weekly ferry crossing of Lake Nasser, from Aswan (of Dam fame) in the south of Egypt to the tiny port of Wadi Halfa in northern Sudan.
Deep within the historic region of Nubia, this is the only overland route between the two nations, who are still unable to agree on who actually owns the inhospitable tract of empty desert in between.
The ferry sails just once a week, and tickets can only be procured by visiting the agency in Aswan in person with the valid Sudanese visa you obtained from the embassy in Cairo. To ensure that I wouldn’t be waiting around in Aswan for days on end, I hopped on a train from further up the Nile, bought my ticket and was back with my bike the same day, in order to continue enjoying the fantastic experience of cycling the Nile Valley.
Some who’ve seen the full film might recognise segments from this final deleted scene in the series (here’s #1, #2 and #3). A deleted scene isn’t wasted if it reveals material that works better elsewhere!
I’ve heard that the route south from Wadi Halfa has been fully paved since I crossed it in 2009, transforming northern Sudan into some of the easiest riding in East Africa.
And that’s the thing about travel — no matter how far you go, all you’ll ever see are cross-sections of places as they existed for one brief moment.