I knew getting to Jordan would be tough
There's a slow ferry that runs between Nuweiba and Aqaba, but everything I read suggested that this is most emphatically NOT recommended for tourists, and it was better to talk the fast boat.
There is only one fast boat a day, and it leaves Nuweiba at 3 PM according to my guidebook, 2:30 PM according to my hotel. Either way you have to be at the port 2 hours before departure to complete departure formalities.
When I was stamped out of Egypt the immigration official who spoke good English said to me "4 o'clock, OK." 4????? An hour later than I expected.
I went to the departure gate and managed to ascertain from the officials there in Arabic that the boat did indeed leave at 4.
Then I surveyed my surroundings, starting with the wall size picture of President Mubarak waving goodbye. This was the single most disgusting building I had ever been in in my life. There were more flies than passangers.
Once it became known that the boat had arrived from Aqaba, a few people, including us, gathered around the door ready to leave, only to be told to disperse by the very angry port police, who insisted it would be at least 3 more hours until departure.
This continued for hours. Every once in a while somebody would think that it was time to leave and would gather to be first out the door, and the police would come screaming at them to stay back.
Each time, the screaming got more violent until I thought I might actually witness some police brutality. The few Western tourists there were all sitting near the door, because it's the only way they would know what was going on and when it was time to leave.
Once I finally got to the front of the line and had my passport inspected for the fifth time so far, I was allowed to climb the stairs into the main cabin of the ship.
I was shocked. It was beautiful. Felt like the first class cabin on a plane.Read the full story on the Xtreme Tourism Blog where it was first published in January 2009.
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