Day 6: Ras Sudr – Abu Zenima: Short Day in the Desert

Thursday May 26, 2011, 80 km (50 miles) – Total so far: 586 km (364 miles)

I woke up to find my bike missing! I hadn’t locked it to anything as the staff had assured me it would be safe beside reception. I had just put a lock around the back wheel meaning it couldn’t be cycled. I was obviously a bit worried now so rushed over to the receptionist and asked where it was. She played dumb until I mentioned the police. At this she got up and went to a room around the back of the reception. She opened the locked door, looked inside and immediately tried to close it again. I had caught a glimpse of my bike though and made her open the door again. I recovered the missing bike finding the rear mudguard broken and the rear wheel slightly bent. It seemed someone had tried to cycle it off but due to the lock around the rear wheel had broken the mudguard and bent some spokes.

What should have been a quick job turned out to be a finicky 20 minute job, removing and reattaching the pannier rack to get at the broken mudguard and remove it. Instead of truing the wheel I just loosened the rear brakes slightly as it was late already and I wanted to get going before the heat was at it’s worst. As I was doing this 2 teenage boys who worked at the hotel looked on. One of them offered to bring it to his fathers bike shop so he could fix it there. It was fairly obvious from their body language that it was these 2 who had been messing with the bike.

What I’m guessing happened is that the teenager whose father owns the bike shop tried to take the bike by cycling it off. Once he found he couldn’t cycle it due to the lock, he decided to hide it in the back room and lock it hoping it wouldn’t be found. He would then later cut off the bicycle lock and bring it to his father who would sell it for a nice sum of money. This is only speculation but seeing as the receptionist tried to lock the door before I saw the bicycle meant there was something very fishy going on. It was a good reminder to make sure I secure the bicycle properly from now on. So anyone passing through Ras Sudr avoid the Dolphin Hotel, it may be cheap but the staff are an untrustworthy bunch of….

Leaving Ras Sudr
More evidence of bedouin roadblocks, this time piles of burnt tyres
Abandoned buildings along the road

After this bad start I left for Abu Rudeis. I had a nice tailwind for the first 40km and flew along beside the Gulf of Suez before turning up into the foothills of the Sinai. It was another day with very little on the road and I spent most of it out in the wilderness with no settlements around. There was always traffic on the road though so if I ran out of food/water I could always get help if necessary. The next 40km was pretty nice cycling through some good scenery before I was spat out back at the coast near the small town of Abu Zenima.

Gulf of Suez
One of the many overloaded pick-up trucks
Heading into the foothills
Top of the climb
Desert Plateau
Descending to Abu Zenima

It turns out there’s no hotels in Abu Rudeis so I settled for the only one in Abu Zenima. Luckily it was pretty cheap at around €8. This meant it was a fairly early finish to the day. The reason I was staying in hotels rather than camping was a combination of the landmines in this area, the heat and the sickness that was still affecting me badly. I probably should have been camping more but when I had cheap hotels available to me and I wasn’t feeling 100% I was glad of it.

I spent the rest of the day and evening in my room writhing with stomach cramps. I had never had cramps like this before, they wouldn’t go away and seemed to be getting worse by the day. A combination of Immodium and Motillium was doing nothing to help so I guessed I would just have to suffer through it. I make a point to never try and whinge but this was badly affecting me and was something I found tough to deal with when trying to cross large stretches of desert. Especially in this sort of 40°C+ heat.

Where I spent most of the day!

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