Trip Start Sep 16, 2003
10Trip End Sep 23, 2003
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The MS Orchid is a little dated but it added to the romance of cruising the Nile. It was almost like traveling during the hey day when very few could afford to visit the amazing sites on the Nile River.
Kindness abounds from the people of Egypt. While exploring the quarry we were at the very top near a guard shack. There are tourist police everywhere. As we came to the top a strong breeze blew the hat right off of my head. My hat flew down into this huge cavern that had been carved out by Egyptians 1000 of years ago. One of the guards climbed down the side of the rock hewed quarry retrieving my hat and bringing it back to me. I said Shukran which means thank you in Arabic.
My Arabic gets great response. I only know things like Thank you, you're welcome and traditional greetings but each and every time in a heavily accented voice I get "You speak Arabic?" I am guessing since they ask in English that they are well aware that I only know a few words but they are so happy that I even know that. Most of our tour group hasn't even tried to learn anything about the language or culture of Egypt. It is almost as if they are treating it as a trip to Epcot. They want to see what Egypt looks like and take pictures but they don't want it to be an Egyptian experience. They want an American experience with all the things that make them comfortable in their own country. They don't want to have food that is different. They don't want to try to talk to anyone local. They don't want to respect the people of Egypt by dressing accordingly. Yesterday one of our guides had to ask the girl with the brand new boob job to put a shirt on over her barely there tank top because we were going to a church. Our guides have not worn shorts once on this trip and neither have Cory and I. I try to understand but it is hard for me to process why you would want to experience another country if you didn't want the full experience. I guess that it is good that they are experiencing it at all. I know a lot of Americans that are afraid to leave the country at all.
After returning from Philae and getting back to the cruise ship Cory and I went out to find an Internet cafe to send word home to the family that we are okay. We had to walk past the stables on the way back into Aswan where we were barraged by men asking us if we wanted a ride. With a polite shake of the head and the word shukran we let them know "no thank you" and they didn't not pursue it. As we walked along the Nile the sun started to set. The feluccas silhouetted against the Nile painted a picture of what I really thought the real Egypt was like. Suddenly it didn't feel surreal any longer. I was really in Egypt.
We found the Internet cafe in easy walking distance of the ship. The gentleman behind the counter collected our money and we tried to e-mail home. It took us forever because the keyboards were completely scrambled. Being in a job where I type all of the time it was hard to break the habits of years of practice. I had to hunt and peck as if I was just learning all over again.
Well now we are settling down in our twin beds just like Ozzie and Harriet and tomorrow we have another full day!