Combining Day 4 and Day 5 - Sept.24/25

Trip Start Sep 19, 2010
Trip End Oct 25, 2010

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Flag of Egypt  ,
Thursday, September 23, 2010

Day 4  Sept. 24  Had to get up at 1:00 a.m., pack and leave the hotel at 3:00 a.m. to catch plane at 5:00 a.m. to Aswan to see the Aswan Dam,  Lake Nasser, and the Unfinished Obelisk.  Some good pictures.   Aswan seems to be much cleaner, better planned city than Cairo.  Of course, Cairo has 44 million people.   We then drive through the countryside to the MS Amarco, the ship that will take me down the Nile River.  I do not have any tours while on the cruise as the places they stop the second day, being Kom Ombo and Edfu, are not accessible, and the ones they stop at the third and fourth day, I am going to visit when I stay in Luxor for 4 days.  However, I find the sun deck and the pool very enticing my first day and decide to retire early as it has been a long day.  I sleep like a baby.  

Day 5 -  Another great breakfast and meet a few people from Norway and Spain who speak English.  The ship is small, refurbished and really quite well organized, with first-class service, and great food.   At the second stop I notice decorated carriages parked at the top of the peer and ask the Assistant Manager, George Lucas if I could take a ride.  He sends out a staff member with me to negotiate the fee - 30 pounds Egyptian it turns out (about $6.00.  I have 40 pounds in my hand and the carriage driver sees it and want it too before we start (as a tip).  They are so pushy that even though they are poor and you might feel sorry for them, it turns one off.  The ride is great - all over the city and through the downtown and all the way down the colorful Souk Market.  He waves at everyone and races a few other carts which is a little alarming but he quits when I shreek.   He takes my picture, stops and brings back a drink in a glass which I refuse as I just don’t know what it is (I rub my tummy to show that I have a problem).  He takes it back.  It is a thorough tour of the town with him smiling and turning to make sure I am okay.  As soon as we get back, a friend offers to help me out and no amount of protesting will stop him.  I have trouble bending my knee and he pushes it and, of course, I slide with a thump and land on the step.  I wave him away and he puts his hand out for a tip.  Say what??  The driver pushes him away and helps me to stand and  puts out his hand for the 10 pounds.  I give it to him and he asks for 20.  I say no I have no more and he looks so disappointed, but that is totally in keeping with the way Egypt appears to be.  You tip for everything, sometimes when they do not do anything or do something you really did not want done.

 On the ship, they have tea at 5:00, dinner at 8:00 and fun style entertainment in the dinning room after, and then a small disco until mid-night.  Most people dress in Arab, Middle East costume for this one night (some very elaborate and some thrown together from what they could buy on the ship).  I do not bother but have great fun with the Spanish folks during the entertainment as they are really decked out and dancing starts to the egyptian music, a sort of Egyptian version of the bunny hop
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