Pyramids and Sphinx!
Trip Start Jan 08, 2007
59Trip End Apr 30, 2007
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Saturday, April 7, 2007, 6am - overnight
Excursion: Cairo and the Pyramids, Suez to Alexandria, 2 days, 1 night in a hotel, free for all guests
We disembarked at the ungodly hour of 7am. One of the dining room crew took our overnight bag out to the bus for us. Errata: the dining room staff is in charge of all luggage, all the time. My guess as to why they are in charge of luggage: they are really strong from carrying all those food and dish trays overhead.
We had to tender to the port, which ticked Capt. Dag off royally. The weather was very windy, making it impossible to get the ship safely up to the pier.
I am writing this in Italy--we were too tired right after Cairo to write, and now it's been so long that the details are no longer fresh in our minds. So I'll just do the best I can, briefly, and you'll have to take it on faith that this was an extraordinary experience.
I have wanted to visit the pyramids since I was a young girl, maybe 7 or 8 years old. Seeing the pyramids was as fabulous and exciting as I imagined. I really didn't care what the world cruise itinerary was, so long as it included the pyramids. Now that the cruise is on its last legs, no other stop has equalled (or, I'm sure, will equal) the pyramids.
Again, Capt. Dag changed the itinerary. We departed the ship in Suez, where the ship went through the canal without us. We rejoined the ship in Alexandria, the next evening. Originally we were supposed to rejoin the ship from the other end of the canal, but road construction led Capt. Dag to have us bussed directly to Alexandria. We just have to take it on faith that Capt. Dag knows best.
It took about 2 1/2 hours on the bus to reach Cairo. Fortunately, since we were to spend a lot of time on it, this bus was extra large with enough leg room and a very clean and well-stocked on-board bathroom.
One of the most interesting and ubiquitous sights were the unfinished homes.
Egypt is considered a third-world country, according to our guide, Mervat. It isn't as poor as many of the countries we've already visited, but there were plenty of slums.
I had to laugh--the hawkers, only in Egypt, said, "Please try to say yes" as they offered their wares. When you think about it, that makes an interesting statement about their culture. They kind of irritated John, I could see, because they were very insistent and they got really close physically. I must have been having a good day, because I thought they were funny.
Before we went any further, it was important to get our camel photos. John sat on his. I rode mine.
My memory gets a little fuzzy now, but there is a temple associated with each pyramid.
Another interesting thing about Egypt was the presence of so many donkeys, horses, camels, and mules.
After Giza we went to lunch in a hotel.
In the afternoon (by now I'm really getting tired) we drove through the city of Giza
and stopped at an upscale papyrus store.
By now it's mid-afternoon, so we made a quick trip to the Sphinx. This, too, was incredibly exciting.
We checked in to our hotel, the Conrad (the best level of Hilton) hotel in Cairo at about 3:30 pm. The hotel and our room were lovely and luxurious, although the hotel wasn't as clean as a four or five star hotel usually is. The plan was to rest and grab a snack, if necessary, before the evening's festivities. And a shower--it was hot and dusty all day, so we were pretty dirty.
We left the hotel at 7 pm for the Egyptian Museum. I don't have any pictures because pictures aren't allowed in the museum. We saw the entire King Tut exhibit, in situ, plus other amazing Egyptian antiquities. Our guide, Mervat, went around with us, explaining everything. Even John, who as you by now know hates museums, enjoyed this treat. We spent about 90 minutes in the museum. This was really fabulous because the museum was closed to other visitors while we were there. Normally it is wall to wall people.
We had dinner in the museum garden. It was a buffet, there was a live musical group, and we ate by candle light. Our guide, who has been in the business for 15 years, said she has never heard of any other group having dinner or any other event in the museum garden. The food was mostly local. By the time we left the exhibits, the food had been sitting out for quite awhile so it was cold so I didn't eat much. We sat with April and Gordan and got to know them better, which offset the disappointing food somewhat.
We returned to the hotel at 10:30pm (way past our bedtime so we were exhausted) and left a 7am wakeup call for the morning.
Continued on the next entry...
Where I stayed