After reaching out to every Egyptian contact we could find, we realized we were not going to track down a friend-approved mechanic in Aswan. Our only chance was in Cairo, and even there we would be looking for right-hand-drive parts for an Australian Model Land Cruiser in a left-hand-drive country. After mulling over our options, we voted against the possibility of being stuck in Egypt, with Bubbles’ engine in pieces, waiting for car parts. With the help of Heba, our guardian angel contact in Cairo, we organized a flatbed to tow Bubbles to Alexandria where we would load her into a shipping container.
While in the tiny town of Aswan we needed to stop by the local traffic office and collect a Traffic Fine Certificate, which certifies that you have no unpaid traffic fines. I was confident we were infringement free since we hadn’t driven Bubbles faster than 50km/h for the last three days. The only risk was our 80km/h towing experience. If you enter from Sudan, the only office that will issue you the Traffic Fine Certificate is in the town of Aswan. If you forget to stop and pick it up here you will be unable to ship your car and will need to pay a fixer to travel to Aswan, collect it on your behalf and travel back to your location. All a bit absurd.
While I was busy with the paperwork, Shea made friends with a local barber named Tito. We were both looking a bit unkept at this stage so a haircut seemed completely reasonable. Shea went first and I’m not sure exactly what he agreed to but this is what happened:
I emerged from the traffic office an hour and a half later with the golden ticket in my hand. Shea’s haircut/beauty session still wasn’t done yet.
The flatbed arrived the next day and, as we should have expected, the drivers spoke no English. I went about explaining how to operate the vehicle’s alarm system with a combination of sign language and grunts while Shea spent the morning at the 5-star Movenpick Hotel. He had decided the previous evening that he had earned an upgrade from camping and budget hotels.
Bubbles spent the next few days in the towing company’s lot as we made our way through to Alexandria, by train, at a tourist pace. We were re-united in style as the flatbed cruised down the road to meet us with Bubble’s alarm system putting on a full discotheque extravaganza. Clearly, my explanation was not as well understood as I had assumed.
The next few days were spent sorting out paperwork for Bubbles’ shipment before handing her over to our new friends at Consolidated Freight Services. There is a paperwork maze to navigate for vehicle shipments and these guys did a great job guiding us through it. On top of that they also loaded the vehicle and organized us a spot on a ship headed south.