| Up Your Nose|
It always starts with the nose.. and then come the ears.. then the eyes.. I get it.. No I am not talking about the Princess Bride.. I’m talking about travel in the developing world. As usual I have landed in the land of .. HONK HONK.. the nose is full of every bit of soot, exhaust, dirt and sand that you can imagine and the eyes just can’t believe most of what it sees every second.
I’ll come back and update this later as this is a new blog site and I have run out of time right now. I hope all is well.
and now the rest of the story….
So folks.. we needed to give realtravel.com the boot. Unfortunately they just were not living up to the reliability standards I needed to be successful in sending the messages out. So here we are now at travelpod and I couldn’t be happier.
Getting here has certainly been the challenge though. Lets see, so far my usual mode of travel of “we’ll figure it out” has not been an excellent choice on this trip. It has started with another trip of something forgotten and this time of course it was my vaccination card of which I am required to have with me to enter Kenya. So thanks to the HUGE heart of my mother, $58 and some finagling at the front desk of the Marriott, my card should be here before I leave Cairo to head to Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania on the 22nd at 10:30pm.
Now, what have we done, where have we been and who have we seen. I believe that list is a pretty good list of the “must-see” items on the Cairo list. The first day upon arrival and settling into the lavish comfort of the Marriott Zamalek which sits on an island in the Nile, we decided to go and visit the bazzar .. or the souq.. or whatever you want to call it! Of course anyone who knows me is already thinking.. oh know.. more **** on a Shelf.. and this puts Bangkok, and Dubai to shame. I had a grand time teasing all the shop owners who in the end were all good sports and it was just a great time.
After the Kahn al Kahlili market we met up with Michelle’s friend of a friend of a friend whos hairdressers dog walker knew a cousin who once knew a teacher who had a friend who lives and teaches in Egypt. That’s right it was the Bob and Anna show! They are a couple of uber friendly and fun teachers working at a school in Alexandria and they took us out for .. pizza of all things! Yes, mostly because everywhere Egyptian was closed for Ramadan. But we did manage to end the night Niester-Style with several beers at a local pub. I enjoyed the 8% Miester Beer but then really was a fan of the german Heffewizen-style Lexor White beer. After a few of these everyone is happy.
Being in a Muslim country during the month of Ramadan has proven to be quite interesting. Why you may ask? Well, aside from my love of hoppy libations which are hard to find, during Ramadan, there is fasting from sun up to sun down every day. This means, no street vendors which I normally live off. This means that I lucked out being the Marriot God and we got FREE meals in the executive lounge along with free water and pop.
Today was a Wonder Of The World day.. that’s right.. 5 sided chunks of stacked sandstone in the middle of the desert sun.. The Great Pyramids of Egypt! Oh .. did I mention the crazy guy with a lions body and no nose and a missing beard, the Sphinx? Some camel trading at a fence got Michelle and I a 20 minute ride around the compound with “Sam” the camel driver and “Mickey Mouse” the camel.. so touristy but so damn fun how could you turn it down for just under $10.
The most wearing parts of the trip have been my heart attack when I thought I lost my ATM card .. I KNOW everyone is surprised there.. and then all the taxi haggling that we have to do. These people just WANT to rip off tourists and it gets old convincing them I know they are trying to rip me off.
We did have a lovely late afternoon couple of hours in a MASSIVE stone museum with no air handling capabilities whatsoever. The Cairo Museum of Antiquities… anyone who has ever heard a story about the mysteries that place holds .. THEY ARE TRUE. The place truly is like stepping back in time. I kept expecting to see Dr. Livingstone sitting at a bench somewhere along the way. By far the coolest things were the mummies and the massive sarcophagus.
Oh did I mention the, your credit card wont work to buy your Egyptian Airlines ticket to Dar Es Salaam and not being able to call collect or being able to call an 800 number or really being able to communicate with BofA in any way other than to pay the $2.25 a minute charge from my cell phone. Turns out there was no problem after all and the crazy website was busted. So another set of taxi rides to the Egyptian Airlines office and we were off to probably my tied for top favorite activity of the trip so far.. the felucca ride on the Nile by night. A falucca is basically a single mast 6 meter sailboat .. but an odd one at that. The sail and mast are completely unlike anything I have seen before. But we got a 40 minute ride on the breezy Nile, away from the HONK HONK.. away from the “come look in my shop”.. away from the rip off artists.. just a peaceful relatively cool breeze, our captain, Michelle and myself.. EXCELLENT!
Well, tomorrow we are off on the 6 hour bus trip to Hurgadah to do some diving in the Red sea. The bus leaves at 8 so I have to be up at 6:15 so I’m outta here.. I hope all is well with everyone at home!