Another Border Crossing. We decided to start the day with a visit to a building, now much restored, which had been used as the Allied Officers’ Mess during the war. Private J Brill of the RASC painted a mural there in 1942. The image is haunting. It has echoes of Stanley Spencer with sculls and bodies on one side and music and feasting on the other. We were unable to interpret without assistance. Private Brill was killed shortly afterwards on the first day of the battle of El Alamein at the age of 22.
At least we achieved something before the border crossing. To cut a long story short, we were just congratulating ourselves on having completed the formalities in one hour less than the entry into Libya when we came to a grinding halt a few kilometres into Egypt. Our Egyptian guides had been told that we were not to proceed since the discussions over the use of radios and GPS equipment had not been completed. We had been in ‘discussion’ with the Egyptian Embassy in London for a year. We waited for over an hour before the authorities were persuaded that keeping ‘elderly’ people in the sun without water was inhumane and we were allowed to proceed. That meant that the last hour’s drive to our beach resort hotel was in the dark and we had no chance to enjoy the facilities until briefly in the morning.
We had an indifferent buffet dinner with Nikki and Paul (good company though) and then we walked down to the sea and paddled. The Mediterranean was a beautiful temperature.
The problem over the electronic equipment has been resolved provided that we promise not to do a number of things such as hunt with hawks.