April 15-August 2, 2014
Nico and Julia explained to us that we should go to the ferry office and reserve tickets before applying for our Sudanese visas. We couldn’t buy them until we had the visas, but if we didn’t reserve, the ferry might be sold out.
Everything I’d read about getting a Sudanese visa made it seem like a pretty easy process. Our first morning in Aswan, we reserved our ferry tickets and cycled down to the consulate. We signed in, waited a little while and were sent upstairs for our visa applications.
We were greeted by a rather unfriendly woman, a secretary perhaps. When we told her we wanted to apply for our Sudanese visas she asked where we were from. Scott said, “Canada,” and she started to hand us our forms. When I said, “USA,” she took the forms back.
For me there was a different procedure. I needed to have someone in Sudan submit my name to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Khartoum. Only once had I been approved there and given some sort of number would I receive my visa. She assured us this could be done very quickly. There was no other option, and she told us that if she sent off my application without a sponsor in Sudan it could take months for the approval.
We assumed it would just be a short wait to figure out my visa situation. We went back to the hotel and arranged to meet Nico and Julia for dinner. They were sympathetic and hoped that we’d get our visas in time to take the Sunday ferry with them. We still had nearly a week to work things out.
The ride into Khartoum was supposed to be tough riding, hot and dry, so we decided to spent the next few days resting before tackling another desert. Almost every night we would meet with Nico and Julia in time for dinner and often to take a walk down the souk. For the first week, all we saw of Aswan was the souk, our hotel and our dinner spots. The days passed quickly and it was soon Saturday. Nico and Julia were leaving on the ferry the next morning. We had time for one last dinner together. It was sad to say goodbye, but everyone assumed we’d be on the ferry in a week or two.
There was no news on the visa front, but we still thought it would be quickly resolved. We had no idea how wrong we would be.