The bus trip from Dahab back to Cairo was one of the worst we’ve ever had, but one thing made it all worthwhile: the chance to see hundreds of storks on their annual migration northward from Africa to eastern Europe via the Sinai Desert.
Because they’re taken through the window of a bus travelling at 100km/hr, these photos aren’t the best. You don’t usually see more than one or two storks at a time, so I’d love to have been able to stop for a minute just to stand there and marvel at the spectacle of these enormous birds swirling high in the air above the flat sand and ocean, but we just kept trundling along, our ears bleeding from the endless blaring of Friday prayers from the driver’s radio in competition with the grossly violent DVD he’d cranked up – for whose benefit we’ll never know. Certainly not the young mother behind us, whose pleas to turn down the racket because her thrashing, screaming two-year-old couldn’t get to sleep fell on deaf ears. Mind you, he was OK with jamming on the brakes and yelling at a passenger stupid enough to light up a smoke in the bathroom – the one wafting nauseating waves of piss throughout the bus every so often – he was OK with yacking on the cell phone and even text-messaging on the highway, and he didn’t hesitate to drop us off in a huff at a Cairo bus stop miles from our scheduled destination forcing us to get involved in yet another taxicab haggle we’d thought we’d be spared.
But the birds made up for it all.
The sight reminded us of another stork spectacle we were also lucky enough to witness on a bike trip along the former border with East Germany last year around this time: storks mating in a chimney-top nest. I’m happy to re-publish this photo:
To end, a stork swarm over the Sinai courtesy of YouTube: