Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Egypt







Egypt. Cairo. Colorful Bedouin tents in the sand next to monolithic
ruins and a wide lazy river? Not even close. More like New York City
with exponentially crazier drivers and more stuff open after 2am. And
more horns.




Our cab driver picked us up at the airport and drove us to the hotel,
Om Kholthoom, explaining that half the drivers in Cairo were crazy.
Then he demonstrated which half he belonged to, straddling the white line
on a narrowing exit ramp at forty until the less crazy drivers on
either side dropped back. He called the car horns "the music of Cairo."
And it goes on 24/7.

I guess there are 20 million people in Cairo during the work week. And
almost everything stays open all night. I mean stuff like candle
shops and autoparts stores were still open at 2am as we made our way back
from dinner. I suppose this comes from a desert culture that sought
shade and rest during the heat of the day, toiling thru the night.



We started in Cairo, because Ann was working there, and I worked at a
cafe overlooking the Nile on Zamalek Island. I heard there were a lot
of ExPats on the Island. The city has this sand colored dust that coats
everything that doesn't move. Like the hotel room windows. It seems
like taxi drivers are trying to rip you off and at first we felt preyed
upon to some extent. But then I walked Ann to her office and she got
cash at a cash machine on the way. On my way back this guy is yelling
"sir! SIR!" from across the street. I walk over there, figuring he's
mistaken me for someone else (that happens a lot). He says "you cart
visa you leave it" I'm trying to figure out what scam he is trying out
on me as I make sure I have my passport and wallet. He goes "cart!
CARD!" He's pointing at the cash machine. "Inside!" He says. I go
inside and there is a guard in there with Ann's debit card, which she left
in the machine. All of the sudden Cairo seems less predatory. Of
course I have to cough up a tip for the guard and the guy on the
sidewalk. There is no question of a tip in situations like this. It's
just a question of how much.

Four days in Cairo, the pyramids visible from the top of our hotel, and
we left the island once to go on a dinner cruise.





Pretty cool cruise
on the Nile with a killer Egyptian buffet, belly dancer and a male
dancer that was spinnning for 20 minutes with these big hoops skirt thing.





Ahmed, who took us out, said the belly dancer was a turkish wedding
tradition to made sure the groom was fully aroused before bedding his new
wife for the first time.


Aside from the cruise, we went out one other time, but were mostly
working. We made up for that over the next four days.

Feb 15th, 7:00pm. Drive from our hotel to Cairo airport, boarding a
flight to Aswan.
Feb 15th, 11:30pm. Check into the Cleopatra Hotel in Aswan.
Feb 16th, 3:00am. Check out of Cleopatra Hotel, get into a van.
Feb 16th, 3:30am. 35 people in the van. We are driving to Abu Semple,
something
Ann was told that we must see and we did. 4 hour drive, desert
dawn.







Feb 16th, 10:00pm 4 hours back to Aswan.
Feb 16th, 2:00pm Falafels
Feb 16th, 2:15pm The granite quarry. THis is where the unfinished
obelisk is.
Feb 16th, 3:30pm The Aswan High Damn. 16 times the material it took
to build the great pyramid.
Feb 16th, 4:00pm Get on a speed boat head upriver on the Nile.
Feb 16th, 4:30pm The Temple at Philae. Isis gathered Osiris' body
parts (minus one) and buried them here.
Feb 16th, 5:30pm Get on a Train to Luxor.
Feb 16th, 10:30pm Arrive Luxor (Arabic word, plural of "palace").
Check out the Sunset Hotel. Too shabby.
Feb 16th, 11:30pm Check in to the Pinata hotel.
Feb 17th, 06:00am Hop in a car. Head to the valley of Kings.
Feb 17th, 07:00am Valley of Kings. Hot. Hotter inside the tombs.
Mind blowing.
Feb 17th, 09:00am Hop in a car. Head to the Hapshupset's Temple.
Feb 17th, 09:30am HapShupset the only female pharoah to build a temple
to herself.
Feb 17th, 11:00am Hop in a car. Head to the valley of Queens.
Feb 17th, 11:30am Valley of Queens.
Feb 17th, 12:15am Hop in a car. Head back to Luxor.
Feb 17th, 12:45am Stop to view TutMoseII statues, called Memnon?
Before rennovation began on these giant statues,
the wind made it sound like they were weeping.
Feb 17th, 1:00pm Hop in a car. Onward to Luxor.
Feb 17th, 1:30pm Falafels.
Feb 17th, 1:45pm Karnac. 27 temples inside this 140 square kilometer
complex. Place is friggin huge.
Previously blown mind is re-blown.
Feb 17th, 3:30pm Decide to skip the Temple at Luxor and hit the roof
top pool. Did I mention it was hot?
Feb 17th, 4:00pm Sunning by pool. Beer involved.
Feb 17th, 6:00pm Pool is cold.
Feb 17th, 8:00pm Dinner. Chinese.
Feb 17th, 11:00pm Crashed.

Feb 18th, 6:00am Check out. Get in car to airport.
Feb 18th, 8:00am Fly to Cairo.
Feb 18th, 10:00am Arrive Cairo.
Feb 18th, 11:00am Driver takes us to the Zaccara. First pyramid,
temple of Zuul.
Feb 18th, 12:00pm Hungry, cold. Driver wants to take us to a carpet
making school.
This is where they teach children the trade of making carpets. We
pass, demanding food.
Feb 18th, 12:30pm Cheops. Food. Coffee. Good.
Feb 18th, 1:30pm The Great Pyramid.
Feb 18th, 2:30pm The Sphynx.
Feb 18th, 3:00pm Back to Cairo.
Feb 18th, 4:00pm Dinner at Chiles (the chain).
Feb 18th, 5:00pm The big market at cairo. Been around for 10000
years?
Feb 18th, 6:00pm Airport.
Feb 18th, 7:00pm Fly back to Jordan.

3 comments:

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H iAnne and Reed
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it's still under construction

So are you definitely a no go?

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