TODAY: Newspapers, the Internet and television are all reporting that the damage to the antiquities of Egypt is minimal and it will be business as usual in the near future. However, just when the tourist will be returning is uncertain as we hear about new demonstrations in Algeria. Egypt has shown the power of the people and thousands of people are defying government bans on demonstrations.
Saturday, November 19th, 2005 Flying to Cairo, Egypt….
Up early…2 am…to catch the Super Shuttle bus at 2:30 am. In preparation we went to Carl’s Jr. for dinner at 3 pm and then went to bed at 6 pm. So by 2 am we’d had the opportunity to catch 6 to 8 hours of sleep. That with the No Jet Lag pills we managed to arrive in
The shuttle bus made three more stops before we arrived at LAX about 4 am. The lady behind Jim was sneezing all the way to the airport but she insisted that she didn’t have a cold. There were a total of six passengers for the trip. The counter was open at United Airlines when we arrived so we were able to check in.
After breakfast at McDonalds, Jim took an airborne tablet just in case the lady did have a cold in the shuttle. Our flight left right on time at 7 am. Easy flight to JFK in
I used my cell phone and called family to let them know we were in New York and on our way.While we waited in the terminal, Jim charged his Ipod so that it would be good for the rest of the trip; we took turns keeping an eye on the unit while it charged away in the wall near the waiting area…like watching water boil! We met some very interesting people while sitting in the terminal…one couple had worked for Embassies all over the world. They’d been in
About 5:30 pm we lined up and there met a gentlemen from San Francisco on his way to explore tombs…he reads hieroglyphics and is meeting a friend who shares his interest…his wife elected to stay home. Another fellow was meeting friends who live in
Soon we discovered why they had us line up so early. They were checking almost the entire carryon luggage prior to boarding. I got a pass but they checked both of Jim’s bags. Then they checked the tickets and passports. Again, half way down the skyway to the plane, they checked our passports for the final time. Finally at 7:15 pm we were airborne and hopefully still germ free!
We both had aisle seats. I sat next to an Egyptian banker…with a seat between that we put things into but neither of us used for sleep space. Jim was in the center and thought that he would have the whole row but by the time we left….every seat in his row was taken. Consequently neither of us got much sleep on the trip. Food was good…I’d seen both movies that they showed. Both were in English with Arabic subtitles; and yes, in
Sunday, November 20th, 2005….Arrival in Cairo
We arrived in Cairo about half an hour late and we met our Tour Guide, Rita. We’re spending the first few nights at the Mena House Oberoi Hotel near the Giza Pyramids. One couple was already at the hotel; they’d done a tour of South Africa with OAT and now were waiting at the hotel for us as they’d arrived on Saturday. They combined the two tours so that they didn’t have the long flight time. Roger and Alice live in Red Bluff California but because of the situation; many on the tour thought for a while that they lived in South Africa. Unfortunately for them their luggage was sent to
Rita gave us some quick Discoveries on the long drive to the hotel that is located next to the Giza Pyramids. We saw the City of the Dead; a cemetery used by the poor for homes; and the Citadel that houses the largest Mosque in
Had time to unpack and reorganize a bit before our cocktail and opportunity to meet with our tour guide before dinner. Her name is Rita, short for Francarita; and she seems really great. We found out later that she is a part time actress and has been a tour guide for about fifteen years. Very knowledgeable, a degree in Egyptology; and seems to keep close tabs on everything and everyone. She has a mild cold we noted; but we’re still healthy.
Some terms we were given…she will call us “Habebe” which means sweetheart in loose translation. Maya Maya means very good. One dollar equals five Egyptian pounds. La means no. The postage stamps for cards are only 1.5 Egyptian pounds each. The cards are about 2 Egyptian pounds each. Very reasonable I thought; especially compared to
Some information on Muslin practices: They pray five times a day including once at 4 am. Those that are very faithful about their prayers have a bruise on their forehead from constantly touching their head to the floor while praying. During dinner we shared a table with Paul and Sue who live in