Day 2: Alexandria to Marsa Matrouh

February 27, 2013
By Dewane Van Leuven

Day 2, October 13: Alexandria to Marsa Matrouh, 324 km

We ride east along the Mediterranean coast. A lot of riders from the Alex scooter club ride with us. We roll by El-Alamein and the German cemetery between Alex and Marina. We can’t stop anywhere, except for gas and group photo ops—riding hundreds of kilometers across roads of varying quality doesn’t allow you a lot of time for sightseeing.

We are to eat in Marina Al Alamein, near the midway point between Alex and our destination of Marsa Matrouh, but get to Marina a few hours late for lunch. This is a gated community, or should I say, a gated amusement area—think Santa Cruz with 12-foot walls. We stop, and Ahmad starts his conversation with the officers at the gate. All the officers are packing, and are very particular about the point this makes.

We wait outside the gate and we mingle. One person I talk to, Sameh, is in the Alex scooter club (along for the ride just from Alexandria to Marina) and has a TGB xMotion 300. This is a sharp-looking scooter, and it goes much faster than you’d expect a 300 vertical Twin would go. I’m not big on twist-and-gos, but if TGB had a presence in the U.S., I’d buy one.

A few hours pass. We’re still mingling. Sameh introduces me to his girlfriend. She is a stunning Arab beauty with long flowing auburn hair. I put my arm around her and Sameh takes a picture. I hope it doesn’t cause her any problems later on—people can be weird about women showing any sign of contact here—but Sameh looks like a Hell’s Angel after a trip to the barber, and he’s wearing leather head to toe. I don’t think he has any problems with it.

We see lots of gesturing (including the “patience” gesture) and hear what sounds like shouting coming from the gatehouse. The problem was, this is a summer resort, and it’s October. Everything is shut down. The people at Marina were going to staff the Chili’s there—yes we ate at Chili’s in Egypt—and because we were late, there were staffing problems.

Finally, an arrangement is made (probably involving large sums of money, and by “large” I mean “a few hundred dollars”—this is a developing country), and they open the gate and let us in.

The late lunch makes us even later. It becomes dark, and we are still riding. I watch one of my riding partners hit a pothole he didn’t see, and he makes a most awkward jump, with the rear end being launched higher than the front and pushed out to the right. He sticks the landing, but we hear later that another rider (Simon from Canada) bit it on one of the potholes and skinned his arm and leg. The lights don’t work so great on these scooters (Sym Fiddle IIs) and the potholes are impossible to see.

We stop at a police checkpoint outside of Marsa Matrouh. I’m so tired, I forget to put my side stand down and the bike falls on its side. One of the car drivers tells me later that he was sleeping while driving.

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