Eilat, Israel – STUCK
3-9 March 2013
We are having problems moving through the border to Egypt from Eilat.
Last Sunday we decided to head for the Eilat/Taba border for Egypt. We left Israel without any grief only to have problems in Egypt.
After having our two 4×4’s thoroughly searched and then questioned about the binoculars, walky talkies and GPS saying it was not possible to travel with these items in Egypt from a security prospective, the Egyptian border officials then did not let us pass as we did not have visas and a tripytque or carnet de passages.
We were told we could get a temporary carnet and visa for Egypt at the border but sadly we were not able.
Anyway, the officials informed us to go to Tel Aviv to get the triptyque (carnet de passages) from the Israeli Automobile Association (MEMSI) in Tel Aviv and visa from the embassy. So sadly, we collected our dodgy items (GPS etc) turned around and headed the 100 metres back into blooming Israel.
Gutted, frustrated and annoyed, more so (I was close to tears, I think we all were) when Israel wanted to empty, search and scan our cars again when we had only just gone through the border post 3 hours before and traveled 100 metres from the border!!! Arrrggghhh!!
Anyway, somehow Priscilla started chucking things out of her car and the main lady at security told us to repack and not to scan.
That was a relief as it is such an ordeal when borders do this. Sib actually hugged the woman but she still couldn’t manage a smile.
We traveled to Tel Aviv the next day to try and get the carnet from MEMSI but they said we weren’t able to help so after traveling more than 700km we were back in Eilat. The UK RAC was our only hope and we promptly paid 2179.05 for the Egyptian part of the carnet for 2 vehicles! Not cheap.
The day after we went to the Egyptian Embassy in Eilat and obtained free Egyptian visas and to be told by the Consular himself that ‘he had just heard’ we could not take 4×4’s into the Sinai without a special request. This meant we had to apply to the Egyptian Embassy in Cairo (during a time of revolution) which without being negative doesn’t sound too hopeful but I guess you never know? Lets hope the Consular can help us.
I (we) feel the Taba border is a ‘no go’ now (unless the permission is granted) as it is too close to the Northern Sinai and problem area which according to the UK Foreign office is an absolute ‘NO GO” and we will have to find another way…. Jordan, Sudan??
So after waking up the next day at the Orchid Reef Hotel (for the 3rd night) feeling utterly depressed (I have never seen Sib so down) and thinking how on earth are we going to get through to Egypt, we decided to buy 3 bottles of red wine and have a party in Sib and Pris’s hotel room with Lily running around naked. It was just what we needed and as we put Lily to bed at 8pm both Nic and I passed out (Nic in Lily’s bed with the peppa pig duvet over him) and Lily and mummy sleeping together!:)
It is now Friday evening (8th March) and we have pulled ourselves away from the luxury of Orchid Reef hotel and their splendid breakfasts but terrible reception and are camping at the Eilat School Field which is right next to a halls of residence and 10 minutes walk from where we were! It is ok and has warm showers.
We are now just waiting for delayed DHL package (the carnet) from the RAC in the UK. Apparently it is ‘on hold’ in Lod Israel and has been for nearly 2 days! The Israeli’s obviously do not work at the weekends!!
Once the carnet arrives we are heading for Jordan to visit Petra and to check out the ferries in Aqaba for a possible cargo ship to Port Sudan plus wait for the answer from Cairo. We are all praying we can to Egypt. I really do not know what we will do if they don’t let us in – Port Said via Haifa (again), cargo ship to Port Sudan, Mombasa, South Africa?
Lets see and fingers crossed….