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Saturday, July 2, 2011

Egypt + Cairo = Pyramids.....

“ I never knew my Mummy till my Daddy died”....... hmm you need to be Egyptian to get it LOL....

The best thing about getting in the night before at a port is that you don’t have to worry about formalities before you can get going on your tour the next morning...  Taking a break from organising our tour the honours were given to Roz... and what a wonderful job she did.... after a lot of tooing and froing she had around 20 of us booked with Ramses Tours for our trip to the Pyramids and National Museum.

Even though we were travelling privately we were still required to travel in the Princess convoy out of the city....  Once on the bus Mimo (short for Mohammad) our tour guide had introduced us to another Mohammad, our very own man in black armed security guard and our driver,  I can’t remember  his name... but to make the trifecta we will assume that he is Mohammad as well.

We sat and waited for each of the 41 buses to fill so we could be on our way.... Once we were off into the morning traffic you could see at every intersection Men in White uniforms (traffic police) blocking traffic to allow an uninterrupted passage out of the city.... Interesting enough Garry noticed once we hit the first toll gates we had a small Ute join us with 3 armed soldiers in the back.  They stayed with us until we reached the second toll gates  just before we reached Cairo and interestingly enough on the way home when we arrived at these same toll gates we had to pull over and wait for other buses that were not far behind us  so we could travel the rest of the way in convoy again.... Here we were also joined again by our friends in the back of the ute up until we reach the toll gates just outside of port said.

It was a three hour drive but I think we spent more time in the traffic in Cairo than on the motorways to get there...  Here is another country where they drive with no direct rules just an understanding on what the cars are going to do around you.....If you drive up behind someone you just toot to let them know to get out of the way.... These bus drivers must have a very good feel on how long their buses are as they weave their way in and out of traffic whenever they see a gap open up.

Mimo was another very good tour guide who loves his country and passionate about his religion. He was very informative about both.  He told us about his one wife( so far) and his 10 month old daughter.  He was very charming which had Garry a little worried.  But he had needn’t of worried,  he was only sizing me up as a potential mother in law as he kept asking about our daughters at home..... Don’t worry girls I would never allow you to be someone’s second wife, especially if there is still a first you would have to share with...

Our first stop was the National Museum .  The Museum is situation right next to Tahir Square where the riots occurred to oust President and relieve them from his autocratic regime.  The Egyptians are so proud of this event and refer to it as the “Revolution”.  They really do see this as their chance to move forward.  The only evidence that you see of these riots is the burnt out building right next to the Museum.

Once inside Mimo took us around to see the main points of interest  in the  Old, Middle and New Kingdom sections... The highlight was the Tutankhamen display of the vaults, sarcophagus and most important his mask.

Next on the list was to be a Felucca ride on the Nile river, but Mimo said it was actually better to ride a felucca if there was wind as it was a sail boat.... and there was instead we went on a motorized boat .  We took lots of photo’s and we even had a little belly dance.  This trip took us to the venue where we were going to have our lunch.  Another smorgasbord of traditional food  and I washed mine down with a blend of Mango, Guava and Strawberry juice.

Back into the bus and off to the Giza (pronounced jeesa ) Pyramids.  It was sad to drive through some of the surrounding towns as there so much rubbish in the waterways and all looked so run down.....  To see all this squaller and then look up and to see the pyramids which are Iconic is unbelievable, But then how many people can say there is a pyramid at the end of my street!!

At this site there were 3 pyramids with Cheops being the largest one.... as exciting as it was to see the pyramids we were faced with the most aggressive venders we have experienced on this cruise... especially the one that offered Garry one million camels and 2 bananas. They literally don’t leave you alone, they actually try to put their goods in your hand so that you will buy them....  They get so much in your face that when you finally snap and yell at them, they accuse you of showing no respect....  We then drove around to see the sphinx a little smaller than you think but then again it was only built as a statue.

Mimo strategically had us finished so we had enough time to visit the Papyrus shop.......We saw a demonstration and of course we relented and bought a souvenir.  After about 10 minutes of waiting for the transaction to go through, the very friendly sales man kept throwing in all these freebies into our shopping bag.

Now it was back on the bus for the long drive home.... driving out of Cairo we saw 3 different accidents.... 2 not so serious but one where we were not sure that there may have been a fatality.  Once we reached the first of the 2 toll gates on the way back we had to stop and wait for several Princess buses that were behind us and move in convoy back to the ship....

Back on deck for a champagne sailaway but this time without the chips...  just prawns and salad!!!


1 comment:

  1. Sounds like you had an "interesting" time, the touts drive you nuts hey ! I am sure I would have been nervous with the armed guides...Still loving you blogs, good on you for keeping the good work up..cheers, Kris