We had an early start today. We were going to El Kharga and on to Dakhla in the desert and the first part of the trip had to be done in a minibus as no public transport goes to El Kharga. - our driver wanted to get back to Luxor in the daylight. We set off at 7:30 and soon reached the road to El Kharga. Then we realised why the driver was anxious to get back. It was through the desert and was about 200Km each way - we only saw one other vehicle on this stretch of road. The desert was a bleak as we have ever seen - just sand and rock and virtually no vegetation.
At the end of this road we reached Baghdad on the edge of the Oasis. It was not quite what we expected - it was dry and dusty with some crops growing - no pools and palm trees. At this point there was an army check point and there was a lot of discussion if it was OK for us to go through. Further down the road, there were some other check points all manned by locals. These were a little intimidating as they had knives and sticks. We found out that there had been some trouble in El Kharga - the local police chief was seen as corrupt and he had disappeared with most of his men.
We got into El Kharga - our plan was to catch a bus to the Dakhla Oasis. We were told this wasn't running so we went down to another bus station to catch a shared minibus. This was a 14 seater and was full - we were squashed into the back seats - and had a very bumpy ride. Leaving El Kharga, we saw a burnt out vehicle and a small group of protestors at a local government office. Our driver from Luxor seemed very nervous - now we understood why.
When we reached Dakhla, we were all a bit travel weary so went for a late lunch which cheered us up. The hotel we were staying in was under renovation - it was totally empty - the man even had to switch on the water for us. If this was it in its renovated state, I dread to think what it was like before. After lunch we had a walk round the old town of Mut - it is supposed to be old and quaint - it was very poor and very dusty and falling down. The guide book talked of the Dakhla oasis as it being medieval and charming- it was appalling. We decided to leave Dakhla tomorrow after a quick tour of the sites. We booked our next accommodation but unfortunately could not book the bus - it was full. Looks like we are back on the bumpy minibus. Not our best day of travelling!!