Sep 30, 2007
Mar 31, 2008
Well, today we are back in Cairo, or more accurately, Zamalek, a suburban island off Cairo in the nile. It is home to many of the embassies, and the families of said workers. Needless to say, it does not have much of the flavor of Egypt that say, smack dab Cairo would. It is rather genteel, with European delis, coffee shops, nannies for the embassy kids, very narrow streets, and many security guards/police. Nevertheless, it is very green and lush, with old mansions and huge old trees draping their ancient branches over the narrow streets - hiding embassy yards from peering eyes, although they mostly seem to be in a delapidated state, I guess since independence. (The Chinese embassy is bright red, and has an old pool table just sitting on the sidewalk outside the walls.) I can see how it is popular with tourists. It is still close to Cairo, by cab or bus, however we didn't venture that far today. We took an overnight mini-bus from Dahab to Cairo. It left just a little after 11 and got here at 7am. (Quite a change from the way to Dahab. The bus took two hours just to get out of Cairo, and ended up taking almost 11 hours. The difference was we got together with 8 other people and rented a private mini-bus. We actually had some leg room, it was clean, and mercifully there was no speakers blasting movies in Arabic all night. Not that that doesn't have it's own charm, but we will be making many many more bus trips in the next six months, most of which I am sure are going to be twenty times worse, why not? The differernce ended up being 25 Egyptian pounds each - a little less than five USD.)
Anyhow, today we caught up on a little sleep and our laundry. Here is a tip for anyone planning a trip like this - several of the most invaluable items I brought with me so far have proved to be a clothes line (nylon rope is good, and can be used for many other things as well), a drain stopper, and if you want to splurge, some clothes pins, although you can do without these if you are a little ingenious, and it us not extremely windy. By a stroke of luck on our part, and several mistakes on the hotels part, we ended up with a top floor "suite" - well - it is to me anyway, because it has a bathtub (with fresh, non-salty water!) and a large balcony. Tomorrow is Rod's birthday, so I think we will splurge and take a dinner cruise on the Nile. Hopefully during the day we will do a walking tour of Coptic Cairo (Old Town) - we will see how motivated we feel. We will be back in Cairo for a couple of days after our tour through the western desert. If not tomorrow, perhaps then.
But for tonight, a couple of Stellas (Rod's new love - Egyptian beer for those of you who don't know) on our balcony overlooking the lights of Cairo, with a wonderful breeze, listening to the city's calls to prayer over several speakers. Awesome!