After a needed day off from customs, I headed back to “Cargo City” as they call it, to continue the import process. I met up with the two dock workers I hired to help with the process and we went to an old part of the facility where they continued to go from office to office getting signatures, stamps, more signatures, more stamps, etc.
At some point in the process, it dawned on me that we were at the customs impound yard and sure enough I saw my crate sitting there with all the other vehicles that haven’t made it into the country. Looking over the yard and the inches of dust on the vehicles, I started getting sick to my stomach. I can only assume my bike is going to look like this in a year or two.
I understand now, neither the customs nor traffic officials have dealt with an imported motorcycle in quite some time, and most have never dealt with it at all. Everyone is very concerned I will leave the motorcycle in Egypt when I depart (maybe on the horse I rode yesterday?). This appears to the be the root of my problems, not only do most people not want to help, they simply don’t know how to.
We made slow progress up until noon, when Ibrahim let me know everyone would be leaving for the day in a couple of hours. I gave him 1000 EGP ($50 USD) and asked who we needed to pay. Shortly thereafter, I received an official Egyptian drivers license, got a marriage proposal from some lady who wanted to get out of the country (seriously) and license plates. By 3:00, I was in the “pit” of cars and tearing open my crate. By 3:30 I was grinning ear to ear weaving in and out of the chaotic Cairo traffic on my dusty iron steed.
I’ll need another day in Cairo to get some supplies, prepare the motorcycle and sample some local spirits later in the day. Saturday I will head South to Luxor, which is about 400 miles – it’ll be a long hot drive south (104 yesterday). It’s a little ambitious for my first drive through Egypt, but I’m ready to get the traveling started and get out of the City of the Dead.
This was an impossible process without the local help from Ibrahim and his cousin, who are both very good men. CFS – Consolidated Freight Services cannot be trusted and made every attempt to extort money from me.
My motorcycle was sitting down with this mix of abandoned vehicles.