||Sa 9/30 3:20pm
||Su 10/1 11:00am
||Su 10/1 2:15pm
||Su 10/1 6:15pm
||Su 10/8 11:15pm
||Mo 10/9 6:00am
Simple plans for Egypt. Learn the true definition of "old" civilization. We will spend the first two days in Cairo and Giza, visiting The
Egyptian Museum, the pyramids, and the Sphinx. The Egyptian Museum houses the treasures of Tutankhamun among many other treasures. If the opportunity presents itself, we would also like to sail on the Nile. It just seems like a cool thing to do.
We will then travel to Luxor (not the Vegas casino). Luxor is the home of the Valley of the Kings, where King Tut's tomb is
located. There is also a music a light show in the temples at night that is reported as being quite awesome. Apparently the event tells the story of the dawn of civilization.
Our last major goal for Egypt is to visit the Red Sea. The Red Sea often appears on lists of top dive locations in the world. Our exact destination is not known for sure, but initial research points toward a town named Hurghada. One sight stated that "if it takes place in or on the water, you can do it
here". Oh yeah!!!!
Thinking of all the fun reminded me of one other thing we have to do when we get back to Cairo. Get some rest. The beast named Kilimanjaro awaits right after Egypt!!
Leaving Giza on our horses. Bound for Sakkara.
One of King Tut's burial coffins. This one fit inside the larger one in the background.
The Ramesseum in Luxor.
Temple of Deir el-Bahari, a monument to Queen Hatshepsut.
Arrived in Cairo after a seriously long flight. About 10 hours to Frankfurt and another 4 to Cairo. Plus a 3 hour layover and a 9 hour time change. Ugh!!! The games
began immediately. Had to get Visas that they were somehow running out of. Then we pre-paid for a taxi. Oops!!!! Had to wait for him and we apparently overpaid by a mile. We will learn quickly ... maybe. Turned out to be a great taxi driver. His name was Helmy, which means "A Dream". He taught us some Arabic phrases. Those fluent in Arabic, please pardon our spelling Fen = where is; Shokran = Thank you ..... and we wrote some others down.
What would you do on your first day in Egypt?? Pyramids of course! We went to Giza today, after waking up at 5:30am. For those who know us well, that can only be attributed to jet lag :) We first saw the Great Pyramid of Cheopes I. Then we saw some others near it. Names unknown. Apparently things like maps and guidebooks are not found at the site. Yet another lesson learned. We can tell you they were big. We went down a long entryway into one of them. Very hot. Not made for tall people, including Dawn. We also saw the Sphinx. Handsome lad! The
whole place was quite impressive. Hard to fathom that these things were built 4,500 years ago. And no, that is not a typo.
Then we decided to exert some energy and get brave. We literally "rode in the desert on a horse with no name" ... or at least a name we could pronounce. We rode from the pyramids at Giza to the Step Pyramid of King Djoser in
Sakkara (nice name Kel!). It wound up being about 15 miles and took over 4 hours. We have learned that they estimate things here like we estimate projects, about half their actual value on a good day. We even galloped a couple of times in the sand. This being Don's third time on a horse, there was some fear and whining, understandable in any language. We were pretty slow in general. The guide kept saying, "kick the horse lady" to encourage us on. He may have smoked 3 packs on the way. We encountered "watchmen" that apparently required some payment to roam through their desert. Our guide kindly paid them for us and then added it to his tip bill. He assured that we would get off cheaper by letting him pay instead of us. What a guy!!! The children loved us a lot. They said three things. "Hello", "What's your name", and "Money". They would try French, German, Spanish, and English to get your attention. At one point, we had about 20 of them trailing us down the road. They even threw rocks at Don!! We finally got away by "kicking the horse lady".
That's it ... for today. Egyptian Museum tomorrow. Should be calmer. We're in bed by 9:00 tonight. Off to Luxor tomorrow night. Hope to post again in a few days, as there are Internet cafes everywhere.
Visited the Egyptian Antiquities Museum today and saw lots of great stuff. Highlights included giant statues (4000 yrs old!), carvings, burial equipment, lots of jewelry, figures of armies and boats for burials. Lastly, the museum houses many items from King Tut's tomb including his funeral mask, beds, thrones, golden shoes, weapons, and all other items a king might need in the after-life. Must have been cold in his tomb. His mummy was in something like a casket (only gold). That was inside another casket thingy. That was inside a chamber that also housed 4 canopic jars that held his organs. This "small" chamber was inside a larger chamber that was inside another, etc. etc. All told, there were something like 10 layers/boxes/chambers to hold him. All were covered in gold. Guy had too much money!!!!!.
10/03 - 10/05:
We took an overnight train to Luxor and arrived about 6am. After walking around a while we found a hotel on the West Bank and got settled in. Located a 'guide' to take us to the sites. We first visited the Valley of the Kings. While there we went into three tombs of
pharaohs...very impressive with lots of wall paintings and carvings!! We then went to Queen Hapshetsut's temple (the locals tell us
Yankees to say 'Hot Chicken Soup' to pronounce her name). We then saw Ramses II temple...a little dis-repair but great for several thousand years!! We wrapped up the day with a great Egyptian meal with our driver then promptly took a nap from 4-midnight then were up all night!
The second day we visited the Valley of the Queens and saw tombs of the Princes and Queens of Egypt. Also lots of paintings and carvings although usually in more pastel colors and less formal pictures. We then went to Ramses III temple which was victim of the earthquake in 27 BC. You all remember that big one, right? We then went to Karnak to the north of Luxor. Karnak is an amazing temple
complex with several temples inside built over the years. Finally, we ended the day by taking a sunset felucca ride on the
Nile river (those cool sail boats with one big sail). 'Sailing' was actually a misnomer
here since 4 feluccas were hauled up the river in a train by a diesel boat then we drifted back down as there was no wind. But a fun ride none the less.
10/06 - 10/08:
Traveled by bus to Hurghada on the Red Sea. Hurghada is a coastal tourist town known for diving and snorkeling...reminded us a lot of Cabo with all the construction. Listened to very loud
Arabic music most of the trip and watched a local movie the rest of the time...long trip. Found a hotel and booked a dive trip for the following day upon arrival. The next morning we boarded the dive boat for our day trip with 12 Italians and an Egyptian/Canadian couple.
Witnessed the most amazing docking experience of our lives. Picture this if you can. Our port (left for you land lubbers) side is against the dock. There are 3 boats to our right, all tied to each other. There were boats behind us and a whole other row of 4 boats in front of us. We assumed they would move the other boats out for us to leave. Nah! Too complicated. They slackened the lines and started bumping the boats in front of us. Slowly but surely, the boats separated enough to get our bow in between two of them. We then ploughed ahead, pushing the boats apart. When we looked back, the place we had been was already filling in with the boats we had pushed out. It was like how the syrup fills in the hole when you dip your pancake!!!
The diving was pretty good, but not epic. We probably made a mistake by getting on a boat with snorklers instead of divers since they sometimes want to see different things. But damn those Italians have style!!! And me without my Speedo!! We
snorkeled a bit after our dives. As we cruised along, Dawn tapped me on the shoulder ... I presumed to show me a fish. I looked over and saw a fish that was not on any "fishes of the sea cheat sheet". It was the 60-year old Egyptian lady. She had on her fins and mask and
snorkel ..... along with her full traditional dress and scarf and hat. She did a mean doggy paddle!!! We almost choked laughing. Bless her heart for trying though. It took her husband in the water and a crew of three to get her back in the boat. She laughed the whole time and was clearly having a blast. We docked 3 boats away from the pier and had to climb through two other boats to get to the dock. You had to see it to believe it.
That pretty much ended our Egyptian fun. Took another long bus ride to Cairo and then waited 6 hours for a flight to Nairobi. Airports are such great fun. Check the Kilimanjaro page for the next leg of the journey.