Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Egypt- Take 2

On our way to South Africa last year from Greece we stopped in Cairo and were awe-struck by the pyramids. They’re the kind of huge that can’t be fully appreciated until you’re standing in front of them. You can read all about that trip here.

Egypt is a history lover's dream come true- they have treasures beyond treasures in this country. Aside from the pyramids we have really wanted to go back to see the Valley of the Kings in Luxor. After much debate about the costs, the difficulty of getting there and time schedules we finally decided to just do it. Jules and Frenchie took a couple days of vacation and we met the team that is working in Cairo there last Thursday. Egyptians work Sun-Thurs.

We had to fly overnight and then had a long layover in Cairo before getting to Luxor Thursday morning. Our hotel was overlooking the Nile and after inhaling some breakfast we all went straight to bed. After a good 4 hour nap Jules and I headed to the pool where I baked in the insane Egyptian sun for an hour. It was all I could handle and sadly my sunscreen worked too well because I got zero color for my suffering.

The Cairo team arrived that evening and we walked through town to a little pub for some dinner. Walking that evening I was quickly reminded how much I disdain the manner in which Egyptian men conduct themselves with women. The too close for comfort whispers in my ears, the cat calls, the leering…I had my fill in the 20 minute walk and unfortunately had 4 more days to endure.

Friday we had to depart at 4:40am for our hot air balloon ride. We were taken to a felucca (boat) and served tea and coffee before crossing to the west bank of the Nile. We stood around for well over an hour before they finally told us the wind was not safe enough to fly and we’d need to try again tomorrow. Which the guys did the next morning while Jules and I writhed around in bed- sick from whatever we had eaten the night before. But, I’m getting ahead of myself…

On the agenda for the day was the temple of the Queen Hatshepsut...

and the Valley of the Kings. Which unfortunately didn't allow photos. Our guide said there was no actual reason they forbid it, but if you want to see it you'll need to go there. They are crazy strict about it and will not only fine you on the spot, but also delete the photos from your camera.

The highlight of the Valley of the Kings was of course King Tut Ankh Amen’s tomb, although not the most impressively decorated, it is the only tomb that still holds its mummy. And of course we all know about him so it was amazing to actually be there and see it.

Since we had cut the balloon ride out of the day we had time to check out the tiny, but interesting Mummification Museum as well as the Luxor Museum before heading back to the hotel for some much needed showers and a little lunch. It was well over 100 degrees and some of the guys had gone out to another temple, but we were more than happy to get out of the sun and enjoy the air-conditioned museums.

That night the World Cup started so we divided up the matches between the hotel lounge and another restaurant on the Nile…the restaurant I blame for our inability to go on the rescheduled balloon ride Saturday morning.

We caught up with the guys afterwards and toured both the Karnak Temple…

and Luxor Temple…


Very impressive and they are still excavating the Avenue of Sphinx that led from one to the other…

We all left for Cairo that evening and some of us went out for a late bite and some football. Sadly none of the guys who were giving me such a hard time about the USA team were with us to see that England was in fact not going to kick our arse.

Jules and I were still not feeling well the next morning so we skipped out on another trip to the pyramids. We headed back to Tunis early evening and I have to say I was glad the weekend had come to an end and we could finally get a full night’s rest.

This weekend we’re headed to Jordan to see Petra. My ankle is getting better every day and I’m hoping will hold out for the insane amount of walking we’ll need to do to see everything.

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