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19/01/15, Like the first day of school

So after a busy day of sightseeing yesterday it was finally time to meet the people with whom I will spend the next four months. At 8pm there was an informal rider meeting at the bar of the hotel and because I didn’t want to be the first person present I decided to show up some 5 minutes late. However it turned out that most of the people had already turned up by then so I faced a scary unfamiliar mob of cyclists to familiarise with. And unfortunately that’s not my biggest talent….

I took a deep breath and clumsily introduced myself to some staff members and after that I decided that I first needed some chardonnay courage before I would proceed. And I’m glad to say that after the first glass things became a bit more easier 🙂 Besides this I saw a guy standing at the bar who hadn’t just ordered a glass of liquid courage, but an entire bottle. It’s nice to be able to pick out the people from a crowd of who you are certain that you share at least one interest 🙂 and he proved to be a fun guy indeed.
After a couple of more glasses of wine talking became smoother and smoother and I’m glad to say that there are many interesting and friendly people in the group: a Rhodesian war Veteran, a 68 year old very vital lady who is “just “ cycling to Khartoum, a guy who’s wife has been treated for cancer, a fellow Dutch guy with whom it seems to click, many people who have travelled a lot or lived and worked abroad and many other interesting people (old, but luckily also young) that have their own specific reasons for joining up. So great evening! Thank you chardonnay…
We stayed at the bar till about 0130am and I slept in this morning till 8, which is extraordinary for me! Got into my clothes and went down for breakfast and met some more fellow riders. Then at 9 we had our first formal rider meeting regarding all the proceedings surrounding the tour, which was very informative. The staff seems to be quite relaxed and easy going, which felt good! I trust on them to stay safe…
The rider meeting finished at 1230 and after that there was a joint bike assembly session. My bike was already assembled, but I wanted to discuss the bad bolt of my calliper with the bike mechanic. Luckily he sees a number of options to help me out. One of which was by using a thread repair kit, so I took a taxi to downtown Cairo and with the help of the taxi driver I tried to find such a kit at bicycle shops, shops for car parts and at hardware stores, but unfortunately we were not successful. The alternative is to tap a new thread, so lets see what happens tomorrow… Nevertheless it was a fun way of exploring down town Cairo. People are very friendly and helpful 🙂
So yeah, good day. And first impressions of the people are great!

Ready to start the first formal rider meeting…

Bike assembly. Very funny to see all the people walk through the hotel lobby with there bicycles. Other tourist don’t understand it very well 🙂

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