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Nile for a Smile

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Hello from Alexandria [Jan. 1st, 2003|09:08 am]
Nile for a Smile

nileforasmile
The second full day out here is drawing to a close.

First, a big thanks to those who have sent me encouraging emails. It's really nice to get encouragement!

Alexandria was the capital of ancient Egypt, home of Cleopatra herself.

Right now my main dilema is how to get out of it! The only part of my roue that offers genuine choice is the 2 day ride between Alexandria and Cairo.

'The Agriocultural Road' - Real bread basket stuff, I went up through it on the train earlier. Very green scenery with happy children swiming in the tribuitaries of the Nile itself, 'farmer with donkey' postcard stuff.

The positives: are that it is well populated with towns meaning that if I got tired out I'd be able to get to a hotel for the night. It's longer and a bit indirect, but I have the time. Plus the rail route runs along side it meaning that should disaster strike I will be an easy walk to civilisation and a train to Cairo.

The negatives: highier population means heavier traffic, different roads to take means changing lanes, joining roads and leaving them. Also, it's not a touristy region so it might be hard to find hotels easily should I get tired 9any signs would be in arabic!). Speaking of which, it would be easy to take a wrong turn and get lost. The Egyptians are a lovely bunch but can be a bit litter happy, meaning that the roadsides of populated areas are more likely to contain things that could puncture my tyres.

The desert road:
A bit to the south, a direct route from the port of alexandria to Cairo with nothing in between but service stations and a hotel at the midpoint (about 90 miles from Cairo)

The positives, wider good quality road that although is technically a motorway would warrant the status of an 'A' road in the uk. It's a straight line is it's biggest selling point, shoret than the aggrocultural route, not pretty but less traffic. Plenty of service stations to restock my water (although I would leave with a full days supply anyway, and keep it topped. Realistic worst would be that I did not get the full 90 miles in before it started getting dark (about 19.00 here), in which case I pitch my tent as Chris 'Suncop' and his companion did when they passed this way. Incidently, I'm hopng that with my lighter load and hybrid bike + the fact the tourist police cost them an hours delay by putting them on the wrong road!) that I will make it to the half way hotel. Absolute worst (the wheels fall off my bike or somthing) Voda phone are well established here and I've got the duty officer's number of the British Consulate in Cairo (which I checked out earlier & it works fine). Though more realistically I suspect I would just flag down a lift from some passing lorry.

Tomorrow I will cycle out early to check out the desert road, there is supposed to be an out of town superstore 20 mins drive down the line (which would make for a good recce trip).

Tsk! My first entry and I've told you nothingabout the place. Just what's uppermost in my tired brain! The people are lovely, lot's of "welcome to Egypt" comments. I will do a more general entry tomorrow when I get back.
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(no subject) [Aug. 30th, 2005|11:20 pm]
Nile for a Smile

nileforasmile
[mood |optimisticoptimistic]

I’d like to send a big ‘thank you’ to Claire Lamia, Christian Shorter and Myke Eales for their help to the Nile for a Smile challenge.

I mention this now so that when I return home from the deserts of Egypt in glorious triumph you will all be able to appreciate that, not only am I fantastically brave and heroic, but really, really magnanimous about it too (especially when you consider how insignificantly small their contributions were).

Well, I’ve a plane to catch soon so bye for now, be sure to check back for updates on my progress.






P.S. In the very unlikely event that vultures are found fighting over my bleached bones in the middle of some bloody great big desert, it should be noted that my tragic and untimely demise is almost totally THEIR FAULT!

First in this foul triad of treachery is Claire Lamia.

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Central (presumably surrounded by her hand maidens)

Do not be beguiled by her beauty, she has the mind of a razor! With the infinite patience of someone obviously up to no good, Claire translated my rambling notes into a highly professional website that could be marketed to companies. She even came up with the slogan ‘Nile for a Smile’ (ruthlessly displacing my initial, more accurate slogan ‘Now is the time of the Orc’.

I assure you, if the children receive a penny of company sponsorship cash then she is almost totally to blame.

Next in what President Bush would doubtless call an ‘Axis of Evil’ (or possibly “Axle of Weevil” depending on how confused he was on the day) is former police officer Chris ‘Suncop’ Shorter.


Responding to my innocent query on the ‘Lonely Planet’ website forum about cycling in Egypt and despite all my attempts to drive him away with over a year and a half worth of increasingly inane and bizarre cycling questions, Chris chose to be obstinately steadfast in both encouragement and advice based on his own cycling in Egypt.

You may feel that the fact Chris has already cycled the length of the Nile warrants some recognition as a significant personal achievement. However you would be wrong.

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As you can see by the way Chris towers over the tree line in this picture, he is well over 80 feet tall enabling him to cover the whole route in an afternoon.

Egypt has still not fully recovered from the experience of Chris’s booming laughter peeling across the landscape as he scattered terrified peasants and articulated lorries alike before the thunderous wheels of his giant bike (custom built in the shipyards of his native Cayman Islands).

Indeed, I was forced to supply a written statement from my doctor assuring the Egyptian embassy I was a mere 6 feet tall before they would grant permission for my own trip.

Without Chris’s help this whole thing could well have ended up as one of those pipe dreams to do ‘someday’.

Finally, in what Chairman Mau would likely have called ‘Dzing Chou Hwan’, or ‘The Gang of Three’: Myke ‘Infidel’ Eales.

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Undoubtedly setting out to upstage me and steal my thunder, this cad conspired with the likes of south coast musicians SWARF to produced a full on band night at his SouthSea Rocks club in Portsmouth raising over £200 in one fell swoop for the disabled children. But I’m telling no-one about it so his plan has failed.

Hahahahaahahahahaahahaaaaaaaaa.
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(no subject) [Jul. 26th, 2005|12:38 am]
Nile for a Smile

nileforasmile
[mood |ecstaticecstatic]

THIS SATURDAY: SWARF & KARN8 LIVE

Only £2:50 with flyer

All proceeds go to the Children’s Variety Club Charity

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...a reflection of wonderful things to come. Creating a stark stripped-clean blend of darkwave pop with gorgeous female vocals, they`re one to watch.'
www.metalhammer.co.uk

'Singer Liz has a blinding voice which sets off the bands stripped clean dancey sound a treat. An act just waiting to be discovered.'
www.meltdownmagazine.com

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‘The exciting thing about Karn8 is their newness, their freshness, their originality’
Gigreviewer
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(no subject) [Jul. 21st, 2005|10:37 pm]
Nile for a Smile

nileforasmile
Things are moving quickly now. My flights are booked for the 31st August and most of my time at the moment is spent training towards the trip.

My goal is to be able to do 80 miles a day by cycling to and from nearby cities like Bournemouth and Portsmouth. Tomorrow I plan to head off to Stonehenge and back.

On the training theme, I'd like to give a big ‘THANK YOU’ to ‘Taut’ sports drinks.

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This fairly new company has donated a big box of their energy/re-hydration sports drinks to my training efforts. Visit their website (www.taut.co.uk), or the ‘equipment’ section of this site for more information.

Or just buy one from Tesco’s and see what you think!
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(no subject) [Jun. 10th, 2005|07:15 am]
Nile for a Smile

nileforasmile
A very big |”THANK YOU!” to those companies who have offered their support to Nile for a Smile. I intend to start adding names and logo’s to the sponsors list over the weekend.

Simon
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(no subject) [May. 24th, 2005|09:14 pm]
Nile for a Smile

nileforasmile
Hello!

After over a year of planning and preparation I am finally ready to start raising sponsorship! If you are reading this it is likely that I have recently contacted you. Presented here is a brief run down of the overall marketing plan.

The ‘Nile for a Smile’ challenge is officially endorsed by the Variety Club Children’s Club Charity (Reg charity 209259). All money donated will go directly to the charity. No money donated will be used to cover any aspect of the expenses.


PUBLICITY

Generating publicity: The ‘Nile for a Smile’ website (www.egypt2005.co.uk) will be the main platform for promoting the trip. The website will be publicised through the a variety of specialist (medical/cycling) publications and local media in the West London and Portsmouth and Southampton areas (Those listed here do not represent a comprehensive list as we will be working to maximise publicity in the run up to the trip).

Maintaining publicity: An online journal section will be used to present an expedition journal with photo’s during the trip (Aug 31st – September 22nd).

Post trip publicity: This includes writing articles for London Cyclist magazine (offers have been extended to other cycling / travel publications and touring school talking to the children about the trip and the work of rehab therapists in the NHS. Again, promoting the website.

‘Nile for a Smile’ has three main target audiences for publicity


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MEDICAL STAFF
As an audience for potential sponsors, the expansion of the NHS over the last decade has resulted a high proportion of therapists aged in their 20- early 30’s, with secure jobs and disposable income. Medical qualifications are easy to work abroad with, making the profession attractive to those with an interest in travel.

A future issue of ‘OT News’ magazine has a readership of over 30,000 registered and training UK Occupational Therapists

There will also be a story in ‘Therapy Weekly’, whose readership 15,000 extends to include all the Doctors, Nurses, Social Workers, Pyshio, Occupational, Speech and Language therapists, etc. Therapy Weekly may be found in any Hospital or Social Services department in the country.

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LOCAL COMUNITY
'Local' is a very broad term. I am local to the areas surrounding my University where I live and train during term time (Richmond, Kingston, Twickenham, Hownslow, Isleworth and Uxbridge, etc), I am local to the Portsmouth and Southampton areas I work and live in outside of term, and where DJ friends are organising 'Nile for a Smile' charity band nights. I am presently 'local' in the Chertsey/Woking area where I will be spending the next two months on medical placement.

The College for Occupational Therapists are creating a press release that will be tweaked to emphasise my connections to whichever 'local' area I am contacting.

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STUDENTS
Brunel University is home to 13,000 students, many of which are on NHS funded courses. This also a significant market for local businesses aimed at the ‘youth’ market. The Student Union is helping to publicise this trip through the free campus magazine and internal staff news paper.

To attract further student interest for the website (where sponsors will be advertised), the website features a section with tips on ‘Back Packing’ as I have found younger students are very interested in travelling, but they are often unsure about how to go about it.


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TRAVEL AND CYCLING MAGAZINES
These will be more interested in any post event article about the equipment, training and experience of cycling across Egypt rather than promoting the ‘Nile for a Smile’ campaign, and are thus not onsidered part of the main three. This is still useful in promoting the work of rehabilitation therapy (and the sponsors & their products)



THE BENEFITS OF SPONSORING

Your logo will appear in the ‘Sponsors’ section of the website with Internet links back to your own Internet site, making it both convenient and easy for the casual reader to visit your homepage with the click of a button.

Raising publicity and Sponsorship are tied. Efforts are focussed on raising and sustaining publicity within several key audiences prior to, during and following the challenge, and then contacting potential sponsors who are interested in those audiences.

Strong positive publicity for yourselves within several specifically targeted audiences, who are likely to be interested in both this challenge, and your own services / products.

Good general local community publicity both before, during and after the trip through local media, specialist media and planned school visits.

Lots of publicity shots of me & my bike with your logo by the Sphinx, Pyramids, Valley of the Kings, Temple of Horus, the Nile and in the southern deserts, etc, etc that you will be free to use.

These publicity photos will also be featured in pre and post event publicity events (local and specialist media).

For Cycle shops: Any donated cycling equipment will be pictured on the ‘Equipment’ section of the ‘Nile for Smile’ home page, complete with technical and ordering specifications and links to your home page. The picture itself will be an internet link that can connect with your home page or part of your homepage that relates to the item. Any appropriate advert you feel will be beneficial can be included. You can be listed on the ‘Sponsors list’ as well as the ‘Equipment List’ if you wish.

You and your organisation will be making a huge difference to the lives of disabled UK children. This challenge emerged from my own first hand experiences. A child can wait over a year just to have an assessment for their equipment needs, and then wait just as long to be told there isn't the funding. I hope that your organisation will gain some direct benefit from sponsoring the trip, however the ultimate benefit will be to the kids.

Please Help
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My First Entry! [Apr. 25th, 2005|12:06 am]
Nile for a Smile

nileforasmile
[mood |accomplished]

Between the LJ cover and my home page (www.egypt2005.co.uk) ‘What’ I’m doing has been pretty well covered! So I’ll talk about the ‘Why’ I’m doing this.

It was when I started working in a hospital as part of my training. A key moment was working with a child at a young persons neurological rehab unit.

A car accident had left this child with severe difficulty with their physical coordination (Ataxia), as a consequence the act of walking across the room to the area we were going to be doing our therapy in was a colossal task, usually they would use their walking frame to help them. But today the kid was determined to walk it. And though it took them nearly 40 minutes, straining with concentration, with beads of sweat pouring down their face, and obviously in some pain, they absolutely would not give up.

Anyone in healthcare can tell you that it can be a powerful experience, often heart rending, but also fantastically rewarding. In two brief years of my training I’ve seen plenty of both and I’ve concluded two things:

The sheer determination and strength of will I’ve seen time and again from the people to live as normal and independent a life as possible deserves support and recognition

Life is both beautiful and fragile. I urge you to live it.
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