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Below are the 7 most recent journal entries recorded in nileforasmile's LiveJournal:

Wednesday, September 7th, 2005
9:33 pm
Here be dragons?
To my huge suprise I've stumbled across a small net cafe in Beni Suef so I'll do a quick update on how today went.

I didn't hit the road until 8:00am which was a real setback s the time from first light at 6 am is precious stuff.

To make up for lost time I cycled all day, taking a one hour break at 14:00 and arriving in Beni Suef for 17:00.

My eyes were killing me thoug, the dust and heat of the road, combined with a long time in bright light (even through my new sunglasses) gave me a nasty eyeache and I was knocking off the last few k's as fast as I could.

Foolish, and a lesson learned - tomorrow I will make sure I am on the oad for dawn and spend miday to 15:00 in a cafe keep out of the excesive bight light.

The scenery along th was was fantastic though and I did catch sight of one Azteh style pyramid looming over the palm trees. It's a shame I can't take the day tomorrow to go and look a it, but I'm on a schedule.

Speaking of tomorrow, some nice men from State Security have plonked themselves outside my hotel for the night. In times gone past (10 years now) there was an armed Islamic fundamentalist insurgency in the region between here and 200 k south.

As I said, there has been no trouble for a decade, but I have heard of westerners being put onto trains of being followed on the road by squads of security police (Chris, the Caman Islands cycle cop who was this way before me found himself put inside an armoured car and driven through one region!).

That said, I'm told that with today's elections that's all in the past, plus I have been escort free since Alexandria and nobody has felt the urge to offially enquire what I'm up too so fingers crossed, my route will not disrupted as Chris's was. In any rate, they did not feel the need to follow me around town so I can enjoy the evening at least.

Fingers crossed.
Tuesday, September 6th, 2005
7:09 pm
Today was more of a relaxing day in Cairo. With a resupply of sunblock packed away and some new sunglasses (I went to a proper opticians for them as it's not a piece of equipment you can afford be careless with).

Tomorrow I will start the day cycling along the Nile towards Beni Suef, a sort hop of 60 miles south, which should give me a chance to have my first proper look the Pyramids (I will pass at least 5 on the way!)

The great pyramid of Giza was an inspiring sight, but not one to hang about too long trying to steer a heavy bike through city traffic.

It should take me about 4 days to get to Luxor, the next place I'm likely to find a net cafe.

keep well people
Monday, September 5th, 2005
6:54 pm
The Desert Highway
I managed to leave Alexandria for 7 am on the Desert Highway. It was packed solid for the first 20 kilometres heading out (although the hard shoulder was clear appart from pedastrians hailing the minibus taxis and the occasional donkey cart).

Once I got to the main gate with 'Alexandria' written in Greek the traffic died down, the desert road opened up before me (and my minidisc random select kicked into 'Ride of the Valkryes'!)

Although a 3 lane motorway all the way to Cairo, the traffic died down to a trickle that would not have taxed a 2 lane 'A' road in the UK.

About 11 am I had had covered the first 70 km and the sun was comming up fast. The heat was bearable as I carry about 4.5 litres with me, refilling from service stations and small cafes along the way, but even a makeshift kepe and sun factor 50 does not provide impunity to the sun so I sheltered in a roadside cafe for a few hours.

The Egyptians do hospitality and friendliness in spades, a few buying me drinks and asking me to photograph them (they don't lne up for things though, cutting each other to pieces in trafic lanes and barging past you in the train station ticket office or market stall).

I got back on the road about 16:00 and mad it to the midpoint hotel (the slumiest dive I've ever been in, charging 4 times the going rate, either because I was a 'rich westerner' or being a service station in the middle of nowhere. But at 13 UK pounds for a soft bed after the road I just went with it.

Day 2 was easier, as I got towards Cairo there was reasonable cloud cover so I could just keep going without needing to stop, finially seing the pyramids about 15:00.

I decided to load my bike onto a taxi and head back into central Cairo where all teh backpacker hotels are (and I have a better chance of finding an opticians to get some reliable new sunglasses, rather than enless tourist junk shops).

Needless to say, it's been a long day and I'm tired (hence a lack of anything especially descriptive about the route).

I've found it hard to relax since I arrived in Egypt with all the technicalities and worries about translating the theory of cycling the river Nile into actualy doing it. The whole concept has completely blown away every Egyptian who enquired about it (making me wonder if they knew somthing I didn't!)

The Egyptians are lovely, but strike me as quite conservative, and to be fair, even my very modest fnding would be out of most peoples reach. The ride to Luxor should take 3 days (perhaps four if I have to spend a lot of time sun dodging, but I am feeling confident now.

I'm a day ahead of schedule so I'll take tomorrow in Cairo to do some sight seeing (and replace those glasses)
Thursday, July 21st, 2005
12:34 am
Things are moving quickly now. My flights are booked for the 31st August and most of my time at the moment is spent training towards the trip.

My goal is to be able to do 80 miles a day by cycling to and from nearby cities like Bournemouth and Portsmouth. Tomorrow I plan to head off to Stonehenge and back.

On the training theme, I'd like to give a big ‘THANK YOU’ to ‘Taut’ sports drinks.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

This fairly new company has donated a big box of their energy/re-hydration sports drinks to my training efforts. Visit their website (www.taut.co.uk), or the ‘equipment’ section of this site for more information.

Or just buy one from Tesco’s and see what you think!
Wednesday, July 13th, 2005
12:43 am
My bike is bike is sorted and my flights are booked. I’m back in the New Forrest now and spent yesterday taking a fairly convoluted 50-60 mile cycle to Portsmouth as training.

I have 8 weeks to build myself up for ‘Nile for a Smile’, I need to be capable of cycling 80 miles in a day with a full equipment loadout in temperatures between 30-40 degrees, and then get up and do it again the next day (an so on!)

There is plenty of admin stuff to sort out (unpacking my stuff, fundraising, and sorting updates for Claire to put on the website),that said I might just focus on getting the miles in before the weather turns nasty.

Current Mood: accomplished
Tuesday, June 21st, 2005
10:48 am
Image hosted by Photobucket.com
Image hosted by Photobucket.com
A good hydration pack is essential to cycling the Nile. With a 3 litre water reservoir and the capacity to carry an additional 21 litres of equipment and spares, the Camelbak ‘Ventoux’ model is a great asset to long cycle rides. If you would like to know more about the Ventoux, click on the picture.

• European styled pack cable of storing all those Epic ride essentials
• Air Director back panel with Air Mesh harness for your back to breathe
• 21 litre Cargo pocket with internal organiser
• Raincover included in bottom pocket
• Strap management secures loose webbing and holds cargo tight
• Easy fill Omega 3 Litre Reservoir
• 483mm X 254mm X 229mm

If you would like to know more about the Ventoux, just click on the picture.

(The picture will be a clickable link to http://www.evanscycles.com/dept.jsp?dept_id=1046
on the actual website).
Friday, April 22nd, 2005
9:47 am
My first entry!
Between the LJ cover and my home page (www.egypt2005.co.uk) ‘What’ I’m doing has been pretty well covered! So I’ll talk about the ‘Why’ I’m doing this.

It was when I started working in a hospital as part of my training. A key moment was working with a child at a young persons neurological rehab unit.

A car accident had left this child with severe difficulty with their physical coordination (Ataxia), as a consequence the act of walking across the room to the area we were going to be doing our therapy in was a colossal task, usually they would use their walking frame to help them. But today the kid was determined to walk it. And though it took them nearly 40 minutes, straining with concentration, with beads of sweat pouring down their face, and obviously in some pain, they absolutely would not give up.

Anyone in healthcare can tell you that it can be a powerful experience, often heart rending, but also fantastically rewarding. In two brief years of my training I’ve seen plenty of both and I’ve concluded two things:

The sheer determination and strength of will I’ve seen time and again from patients determined to live as normal and independent a life as possible deserves support and recognition.

Life is both beautiful and fragile. I urge you to live it.

Current Mood: accomplished
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