Thursday 18 October Dakhla Oasis to Kharga Oasis today Today was my birthday ! And the alarm call to get us all up was was brought forward an hour to 5am !! Just what I needed ! But I did manage to find a few minutes to open the birthday card my wife had sneaked into my luggage ! As usual the early start meant a stunning dawn and sunrise Today was not a long ride - about 230 km to Dakhla. Early start saw us leaving the town as the kids were making their way to school. It was great to see them looking smart and smiling -compare that to kids on the way to school in the uk. Last night we spoke to a couple of 10 year olds outside the old city. Very polite, good English and keen to interact with us. Cool ! As we left the hotel we passed by a large lake - a bit smelly but worth a photo opportunity And the official shot that made it all worth while ! The scenery was different today. To most people desert scenery is desert scenery but it has been fascinating over the course of the trip to see just how many different types of 'desert' there are ! Flying the Jersey flag ! Short rest break We arrived at the hotel in Kharga to be greeted by hotel staff and well wishers as we rode in the gates We were also greeted by the local Governor as well - we were possibly becoming a bit blase about all the official greetings but this guy was responsible for the New Valley Governorate - an are of some 440,000 square km or 1/4 of Egypt - as shown in orange on the map below All of a sudden we realised just how high profile and important our little ride was in Egypt ! The Governor talking with us A birthday beer ! Whilst the bikes had been pretty reliable up till now, one decided it had done enough and wanted to go no further - looks like a valve gave way and tool out the piston/cylinder head. No fancy workshop facilities here That evening we went out for a ride in the local area to see some of the sights. Started off by visiting what I think was a local youth group sandboarding on the dunes just outside the town - and of course some people had to join in and have a go The we moved on to the tombs at Bagawat And then we headed back through the town to go on to the next sight. But this is where it all started to go a little pear shaped. Perhaps we had all become a little to 'familiar' with Egyptian driving styles or perhaps we had become too used to the more laid back traffic of the quiet and pretty much traffic free areas we had been riding through for the previous four or five days and were just not ready to face heavy traffic again. But Gunner from Denmark fell from his bike and suffered a bit of a nasty gash to his elbow. And then in all the confusion Mohammed was trying to direct traffic to help the group stay together and got knocked off his scooter by an impatient car driver - Mohammed put a (very) brave face on and finished the trip the next day - but later found he had broken a couple of bones in his foot and toes. My diary for the day simply describes it as 'carnage' ! So it put a bit of a dampener on the evening as we all headed back to the hotel. A bit of a shame as the Governor had organised for a local band and dance group to perform for us.