My Egypt Adventure and Transit of the Suez Canal – Part Three: Port Said
5 August 2013 Leave a comment
Part Three: Port Said
Part Three of my Egypt Adventure began on the third day when I left Cairo for Port Said and my transit of the Suez Canal aboard the Ashley Lykes. I was picked up by two representatives from the ship’s Port Said agents whose sole purpose was to get me to Port Said, processed through immigration and on board the ship. The trip took me through the Egyptian countryside, passing through several towns and villages. We made a couple of stops where one of the agents delivered packages of what appeared to contain American-made toiletries and similar goods, and cartons of cigarettes to various shops. When we finally arrived in Port Said, I was ushered to the offices of the shipping agent, where I was to remain for about four hours until I was to be taken to the ship.
Below are photos of one of the roads en-route to Port Said, a town where we stopped with the goods and scenes of downtown Port Said:
Below is a picture of the entrance to the office of the shipping agency of my ship (left) and a picture of my handlers (right).
Below: Port Said’s waterfront (left) and the Suez Canal Authority headquarters (right).
After leaving the agent’s office, we went directly to Egyptian immigration to process me out of the country. When we arrived there was a huge line in the waiting hall but somehow we bi-passed that and went to the office of one of the more senior immigration officials. He dutifully studied my passport, gave it the appropriate stamps and cleared me to depart. As we left, the agent shook hands with the immigration official and I noticed that part of the handshake included a wad of cash. The cash was what is known as “baksheesh”.
After boarding a launch, we proceeded to the ship, going through a maze of anchored ships of various sizes and shapes, including a Greek frigate, a Cypriot cruise ship, a multitude of tankers and other cargo ships.
Below: The Greek frigate Elli and Cypriot cruise ship Princesa Marissa at anchor off Port Said’s waterfront.
Below: A tanker at anchor and a local harbor ferry.
Below: S.S. Ashley Lykes at anchor. Note the bumboats lingering by the gangway. The master raised the gangway to keep vendors from boarding his ship.
Once on board the Ashley Lykes, I was greeted by the master who escorted me to his cabin where he added my name to the crew roster as an engineering officer(!). He told me that the immigration people might be coming on board before departure and therefore I had to be accounted for. He put the crew roster on a table in the reception area of his cabin and placed on top of it a carton of Marlboro cigarettes, “to keep them happy”, he said.
The next day, at 0100 hours, we got underway for our transit of the Suez Canal. In Part Four, my trip down the Suez Canal. Watch this Space!
End of Part Three