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Author Topic: Stellenbosch to Egyptian nightmare!!  (Read 33859 times)

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Offline ratrap

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Re: Stellenbosch to Egyptian nightmare!!
« Reply #80 on: October 12, 2008, 02:29:09 pm »
Rivetting stuff!!!!
No matter how much you push the envelope, it'll still be stationery.
 

Offline I&horse

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Re: Stellenbosch to Egyptian nightmare!!
« Reply #81 on: October 12, 2008, 06:54:14 pm »
Kan nie wag vir die res nie, kommaan bru.......
Silence is golden...... Duct tape is silver

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Re: Stellenbosch to Egyptian nightmare!!
« Reply #82 on: October 12, 2008, 11:21:54 pm »
 :salut:
 

Offline LuckyStriker

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Re: Stellenbosch to Egyptian nightmare!!
« Reply #83 on: October 13, 2008, 08:11:39 am »
You read this story and then you watch LWD with their fixers and security etc, etc and you realize what posers they are.

I'm sure Frohan wished he had a fixer and some security when he was stuck in prison.
 

Offline Frohan Visser

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Re: Stellenbosch to Egyptian nightmare!!
« Reply #84 on: October 13, 2008, 08:28:28 am »
Howzit manne!!!

Yes, I watch LWD and were just smiling when I saw all their backup and the fixers, shit that whould have been a breeze, but on the other hand, then it wouldn't been the trip it was..........it was hard and shitty in the prison, but because of that I won't forget it!!!

I am typing and will post the next bit very soon, there is still some action coming, I promise, just be patient please!!

Sorry for not having much photos with the last tread, I think everybody will understand that photos were the last thing I was thinking when I was stuck with 64 Arabs in prison.........
1986 Suzuki DR 600, Confiscated in Egypt
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Offline Hoofseun

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Re: Stellenbosch to Egyptian nightmare!!
« Reply #85 on: October 13, 2008, 04:38:06 pm »
Excellent report, waiting for the last part, patiently!

"You are never to old to learn something new"


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BigEd

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Re: Stellenbosch to Egyptian nightmare!!
« Reply #86 on: October 13, 2008, 09:28:27 pm »
Ok, this smiley will have to do :eek: FAAAARK!!! Brass balls. First 6 beers on me - you deserve it! :eek:
 

Offline Frohan Visser

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Re: Stellenbosch to Egyptian nightmare!!
« Reply #87 on: October 14, 2008, 08:05:49 am »
Some more Egyptian hospitality

Just as back ground, remember I got my last little pita bread on the Thursday morning in the prison in Aswan, well that Friday morning I was taken to the train station just after 7, so I didnt get anything to eat before the train trip. First I was allowed to sit all by myself in a train coach, there wasnt anything to sit on, u just sit on the steal floor and there were 4 small windows with thick bars on the outside. But only after about 45 minutes and the second little town at which the train stopped, I realized I must share my coach with some prisoners. This prison train litterly stopped at every little town and station and picked up all the prisoners along the way and very soon the coach was full. I was sitting later on top of my big back pack and keeping my small back pack and my tent under my feet, that way nothing could get stolen. There were not any toilet in the coach, just as in the prison, just a hole in the floor of the coach and very soon some urine were flowing everywhere on the floor of the coach as the prisoners couldnt really aim very well in this over full and moving train coach.

I was lucky to sit next to the one little window and while the train were moving, I got some cool air, but at some stations it stopped for more than a hour and then it got very hot inside that coach. There were one big water container with a small tap on the one wall of the coach and everyone tried to get a sip of water to prevent dehydration. That evening the train stopped in some small town and that was our overnight spot, it was very uncomfortable to sit like that and I didnt sleep at all. There were constantly fights amongst the other prisoners, but because I couldnt understood the language I wasnt involve in any of this.

What happened in the meantime back in Stellenbosch at my parents is that they slowly started getting worried, because I was suppose to call them once I was in Israel. They got my letter that I posted in Asmara, Eritrea and they worked out from the date on the letter that it was already past the date I was supposed to contact them, but they knew its Africa and sometimes stuff just happens slower than expected.

The next day my train experience went on and they were still just loading more and more prisoners into the train. By midday the water container got empty and the prisoners started shouting for more water. In the meanwhile I could see a little bit of the passing landscape through the small window and I saw 2 dead cows drifting in the Nile. Not long after that they stopped the train and some guards came to fetch our water container and filled it up from the Nile. That water was so dirty and full of germs, but as soon as it was in our coach all of us, including me were drinking from it, what else could u do. That evening we stopped again in a small town and over night there, by now my legs were so lump from sitting so still, but there was no opportunity to stretch ones legs.

The Sunday evening just after 8 we arrived in Cairo and immediately I realized that my prison nightmare is definitely not finished and the worst is still to come. I was taken to Kalifa prison in the back of a truck and again it was difficult to keep my balance while holding all my luggage and while being handcuffed and chained together with all the rest. I was with some Arabs and mostly foreigners like Nigerians, Sudanese, guys from Syria, Jordanian, Zaire, Palestinians, Jordanians and some Tanzanese all in one cell. I still wanted to ask the prison guards why I am not allowed to be free, but they just pretend not to speak any English as soon as you wants to ask something. The big cell was so full that it took about 45 min before everyone could lie down at sleeping time, because I was a new intake , I got to remained standing.  I didnt sleep anything on the train for 2 nights and now had to try and sleep while standing, that was testing my endurance to the limit.

The next morning at 10 I got my first meal after 3 days and it consisted out of a pita bread and a little bit of cooked beans, it was delicious. This cell was only one big room, about the size of a triple garage and it had a few small windows very high up, the toilet and washing area was a little dark room with no lights and again the toilet was just a hole with a pipe in the centre of the little room, there was a wash basin of which the outflow was running on the cement floor and it was also suppose to drain through the same hole as the toilet, but as in Aswan this bloody pipe was blocked and again one bump your toe against some floaters when u were using the toilet, it was disgusting to say the least. Another thing was that the toilet rooms light was not working and I cautiously first check if no-one was hiding in the dark before you try to use the toilet, just in case someone wants to get u from the back.

That Monday morning just after 10 they called some of us and we were told they are taking us to the immigration office so our embassys could start dealing with us. Again we were handcuffed and all of us were chained by our feet in one long row. The truck stopped somewhere in the city, then we got out and had to walk about a kilometer through the city to get to the immigration office. While walking there we were still handcuffed and chained and I must say it looked funny, this one long haired white guy chained together with all these other criminals in one long row. At the immigration office they locked us behind some thick bars at the end of the hall way and there u wait until they call your name, then u get unlocked and from there your embassy start to organize to get u out of there. Well sadly for me nothing happened in my favor that day, my name wasnt called out and at about 4 we walked back to the awaiting truck and then back to Kalifa prison again.

That afternoon after coming back I remembered I still had a thick piece of rope with me in my back pack, so what I did was I untangled the rope into smaller pieces and then cut it into half, so we had 8 pieces of rope about 2.5 meters long. I then stood on the shoulders of another prisoner and tied all the ropes onto the bars from the separate little windows and then we tied some of the luggage of some prisoners onto these ropes, that way we made our floor space much bigger and everyone could sleep more comfortable. I was the hero for the next few days because of my brainwave, but at least I could sleep that night.

By now the prison guards started chatting to me and they told me the whole corruption story and how they are making their extra money. They definitely didnt think that this story would get out to the outside. Anyway, all of them are working together, from the border posts right through to even some people at the airports. United Nations were then, 1994, giving 40 US Dollar per foreigner that is in prison per day, to buy food for the foreigners, so for all the corrupt prison guards and everyone working together, their main aim were to get as many foreigners into prison for a few days until the embassy‚??s get them out there, and the more they can get in prison, the more pocket money they can generate. The one pita bread and beans definitely cost much less than 40 US Dollars per day and then they also confiscated either your bike or 4x4 and that were then later used by these culprits.

The next day I was again taken to the immigration office but again nothing happened to me and at 4 I returned back to Kalifa again. That evening we were joined by about 10 Chinese business men, they were on their way from Russia to China and were just transitting on the airport in Cairo, when they were arrested and brought to Kalifa, they were all dressed in suits and on the way to the prison their watches were taken from them as well. That night we had another floor space problem and I counted 65 people altogether in that one cell. Again they did this just for some more pocket money, but the Chinese were out the next day and we had some peace and more floor space to ourselves.

My daily routine was now to eat my pita bread at 10 and then the rest of the day I would spend reading in my small Bible, that was all I had with me for reading, it made me a better person and I read the New Testament all the way to John. Then in the afternoon when the rest of the people were still at the immigration office I will wash myself out of the wash basin and also try to sleep a little bit, then one could relax doing both with most of the prisoners not there. Some of the Nigerians chatted a little to me and all of them were enormous big body builders and they were all there in prison because of drug smuggling. The one evening one of the prisoners lost his head and grab the bars in his hands and started to bang his head on the bars, he went on untill it was bleeding and then the guards came in and hit him with some battens, he fell down and was luing there untill the next morning when they came to get him, I dont know what happenend to him.

What happened in the meantime in Stellenbosch was that my father started sending faxes around, first to our embassy in Israel and they immediately replied and said I havent arrived into the country, then he knew that I was still south. He then send a fax with my details to the British embassy in Sudan, by then South Africa didnt had an embassy in Sudan. They also replied quick and said I left the country, so then he knew I had to be in Egypt. He then send a fax to our embassy in Cairo, but it was Friday morning and their  weekends start at Fridays until Saturdays, so the embassy were closed. It was a long Saturday for my whole family.

That Sunday morning when our ambassador got to his office, he saw the fax and because he knew about all the corruption in Egypt, he started checking with all the prisons and he told me afterwards that he already knew that Sunday evening that I was in Kalifa prison. Anyway, that Monday morning just after my dad got to his office, he got a phone call from the ambassador to say that he found me, but he will still check if I am all right. In the meantime I didnt know about anything and I still paid that Sunday night one of the prison guards a lot of money to organize that I wasnt send back to Aswan the next day with some of the prisoners, he gladly accepted the money and I would later found out that he already knew that the embassy knew about me and that he just wanted to make a last little bit of bribery money. If  the embassy didnt got to hear about me, I would have been send back to Aswan and I was also told by some guards that they were going to put some of the prisoners in front of a firing squad, if that would have been my end as well, I dont know.

That Monday morning I was told to go with the other prisoners to the immigration office again, when we got there they ask me to write all my details on a piece of paper, meanwhile the ambassador were already in the office next door and they just wanted to make sure that it is me that he is after and there another bloody corrupt officer ask me for money then he will help me to get hold of the embassy, in the meantime the ambassador was already next door and the officer laughed after I gave him some bribery money and told me then about the ambassador. A few minutes later the ambassador came towards us, locked behind the bars and talked Afrikaans to me. That was the nicest few words I heard in my life. I couldnt believe my eyes and ears. He then asked if I was all right and said he first wants to let my parents know that I am alive and ok and then he will organize to get me out of the prison. I told him about my bike and he said he first wants to get me safe out of the country and then they will fight to get my bike back.

He phoned my parents and they were very relieved and thankful that I was still alive and well, although I was in prison, I was still ok. The ambassador came back after a few minutes and said they dont want to release me but he will try his best. In the meantime he organized a ticket back home for me on the coming Wednesday evening and at home my father had to deposit the money for the ticket into foreign affairs account and to be able to do that in time he went after hours to the bank and got very special help from the local bank. That afternoon I was taken back to Kalifa, but I didnt care anymore, I knew I was on the way out, although the ambassador couldnt get me out then, the stuff was slowly starting to happen in my favor.

The Tuesday I was taken to the immigration office again, but this time I had all my belongings with me and at about 10 the ambassador came to get me, he told me it got a whole big political issue now and the Egyptian authorities still dont want to release me, but he is taking me to the airport now, I will still be behind bars, but at least I was on my own and safe and out of Kalifa prison. For the first time I could see a little bit more of the city and on the airport I could walk without handcuffs and chains on my feet and I could feel like a tourist again. I was taken to my cell, it had carpets and a normal shower and toilet and I ask the guard to go and but me some food at the airport kiosk. The ambassador left and I started thank God for His help to get me out of the prison. That evening I slept well and I was the only one locked up there, so I felt much safer as well.

The Wednesday morning the ambassador phoned to hear if I was all right and told me he will be there the evening just before 7, my flight was at 8. That was one of  my longest days and later I  packed everything, took a shower and put my cleanest clothes on.
The ambassador arrived and told me he is scared that the authorities are going to swop me with someone else and then send someone else onto the plane, so one of the South African ladys working at the embassy will fly with me to make sure that it is me and not someone else. They finally were allowed to unlock me and I thanked the ambassador for everything and then I carried all my stuff towards the plane, accompanied by the embassys lady. Everyone else were already seated when we got on the plane and while the plane were moving on the runway the pilot ask all my details over the intercom to still make sure that it was me and when he was happy and after he confirmed with the ambassador on the ground, we took off. Everyone inside the SAA flight wanted to know what was going on, but my only concern was that I was safe out of that country and I was smiling from ear to ear. I was at the end 25 days in prison and I must say it was a long 25 days that I never want to re-live again.

The whole flight back I was watching the little screen with the map of Africa and the little plain on it to show our progress and what took me 2 and a half months took us now only 9 hours back to Joburg. At Johannesburg international I had a VIP welcome and I was told that my ticket and flight to Cape Town was ready , I thought that I will hitch hike back to Stellenbosch but a hour later I was on Comair flying to Cape Town.

Luckily I met some old friends of my parents on the flight and we were still chatting when we were departing the plane and it made the big arrival moment with my parents a little easier. I was glad to be on home soil and when arriving home took all my dirty clothes off, sterilized it and took a nice hot shower and then ate the first decent meal in 3 months, mothers food.

Obviously I had to tell my story over and over and even 3 different newspapers published articles about the trip and the Egyptian nightmare.

My first meal back home with the family and a photo of me before I cut the long hair.





I came back 4 days before my diploma ceremony and was been able to eventually went to the ceremony and that evening our family and my sisters family in law had another big feast, my stomach wasnt really use to all this nice food and it took about 6 months before my stomach was normal again.



My grandfather was very old already and my parents never told him that I was missing and they also spared him my prison story and sadly on Christmas day , only one month after my arrival he passed away, luckily I still had this picture of him and my bike that was taken just before I left on my trip.



About two months later there was a phone call and it was Stephan, the German guy that I met in Nairobi and to whom I gave my old tyre. I gave him my parents address in Nairobi and told him to stay at my parents when he arrives in South Africa, he was amazed to see me and we then shared a lot of touring experiences and I took him out to some local Stellenbosch pubs.





What happened with my bike and the fact of my unlawful imprisonment was that our Government made a court case against the Egyptian authorities for putting me in prison for no reason and for not letting the embassy know that I was in prison. I also had to put a claim in for my bike and lost of income in Israel and England as well as my 2 airplane tickets, but the last word from our Government was that the Egyptians agree to pay the claim but it just never happened until today. I will always be grateful for the help I got from the ambassador and my fathers effort as well as the whole family that encouraged my parents and my sister while I was missing and also to God who had His protective hand over me.

I traveled 14200 kilometers, went through 11 countries, got a hell of a lot of flat tyres, endured tremendous heat and all the nonsense in the prison, but at the end it was still a good experience that I was glad I could share with all of you fellow bikers and I hope I didnt bore u and please forgive me for my bad English. I hope I encourage all of you to start planning and pack the bikes and start exploring our beautiful continent of Africa!!!!!!!!!!!!!

« Last Edit: November 24, 2010, 10:25:42 am by Frohan Visser »
1986 Suzuki DR 600, Confiscated in Egypt
1992 Suzuki DR 800, sold
1997 Suzuki DR 650, sold
2005 KTM 640 Adv, sold
201.. KTM 690 R in the next 2 years
 

Offline LuckyStriker

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Re: Stellenbosch to Egyptian nightmare!!
« Reply #88 on: October 14, 2008, 08:22:20 am »
...and I hope I didn‚??t bore u ...

You don't have to worry about that
I had to remember to breathe when I read your story.

All I can say is AWESOME!
 

Offline EssBee

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Re: Stellenbosch to Egyptian nightmare!!
« Reply #89 on: October 14, 2008, 08:41:59 am »
Frohan, thank you for sharing that with us! I'm sure others would have cracked in that situation, you didn't. Respect is due! Testimony to your endurance which Wannabee and I saw in the mtb scene in the Cape a good few years ago.

I can only imagine what it must have felt like the moment you handed your beloved DR's keys to that b*stard.......

Thanks again!
 

Offline MrBig

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Re: Stellenbosch to Egyptian nightmare!!
« Reply #90 on: October 14, 2008, 09:07:44 am »
Sjoe man thats a great story!
Thank you a million times.
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Offline husky

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Re: Stellenbosch to Egyptian nightmare!!
« Reply #91 on: October 14, 2008, 09:15:41 am »
You showed admirable strength of character to survive that gyppo prison. Amazing experience and well written up.
 

Offline Colyn

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Re: Stellenbosch to Egyptian nightmare!!
« Reply #92 on: October 14, 2008, 09:48:21 am »
Thanks for sharing ... it is a pity that almost every report that I read on the web or see on TV points out that Egypt is rotten and should be avoided.
Never underestimate the power of denial.
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Offline IceCreamMan

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Re: Stellenbosch to Egyptian nightmare!!
« Reply #93 on: October 14, 2008, 10:09:43 am »
Excellent Frohan , just bloody excellent
Swim.Bike.Run.Eat.Sleep
 

Offline Hidalgo

Re: Stellenbosch to Egyptian nightmare!!
« Reply #94 on: October 14, 2008, 10:28:40 am »
Wow !!

Thats is an amazing story and well done for dealing with it so well.

I agree, from all the overland trip reports Ive read most of the adventurers had problems in Egipt and alot of people have said its just not worth the trouble travelling with your own vehicle.

 :thumleft:
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Offline Crossed-up

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Re: Stellenbosch to Egyptian nightmare!!
« Reply #95 on: October 14, 2008, 11:13:04 am »
Frohan, that's an incredible adventure.  The matter-of-fact way you tell about your Egyptian experience is a credit to you.  I respect and salute you. 

It's absolutely amazing that you managed to hang onto your films through all that!  That's fortitude and presence of mind.
Congratulations!

En moenie oor die Engels worrie nie - dis seker baie beter as my Afrikaans.  :thumleft:
 

Offline Frohan Visser

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Re: Stellenbosch to Egyptian nightmare!!
« Reply #96 on: October 14, 2008, 11:23:40 am »
EssBee, Crossed-Up, Lucky Striker, MrBig, Husky, Colyn, IceCreamMan, Hidalgo and BigEd.................and all the rest of u who replied................I am very glad u enjoyed it and it was a pleasure sharing my "little adventure" with all of u!!!!!!!!!

BigEd, thanks, I will take u up on the 6 beers!!!!!!!!!!!
1986 Suzuki DR 600, Confiscated in Egypt
1992 Suzuki DR 800, sold
1997 Suzuki DR 650, sold
2005 KTM 640 Adv, sold
201.. KTM 690 R in the next 2 years
 

Red Adventure

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Re: Stellenbosch to Egyptian nightmare!!
« Reply #97 on: October 14, 2008, 11:34:57 am »
Respect to you for enduring such an adventure and coming out of it with a positive approach to life. :3some:

And respect to Him for always being there and making our burdens light.

Thank you for the time and effort of once again sharing this story, we are privileged to have read it and learned from it.

Now my wife will be mad as she is going to need to spend a lot of time convincing me that I have to wait till my daughter is out of the house before I can think of such a journey. :-\
 

Offline growweblaar

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Re: Stellenbosch to Egyptian nightmare!!
« Reply #98 on: October 14, 2008, 11:46:06 am »
Jissie, Frohan, dis 'n epic adventure! Dankie dat jy die tyd gevat het om dit alles op te tik.

Nou moet ek weer werk :P
 

Offline ChrisL - DUSTRIDERS

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Re: Stellenbosch to Egyptian nightmare!!
« Reply #99 on: October 14, 2008, 12:00:24 pm »
Mooi Frohan. Ek het in 1995 vir die eerste keer van jou trip gehoor. Uiteindelik weet ek die hele verhaal. Kom maak n draai in Stilbaai.
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