(4.5) (16 Votes)
September 15th, 2004
Pros: The pyramid experience and it was way cool!
Hello from Cairo....
The last few days have been busy, and a real lack of access to the
Internet. We stayed two nights in Selcuk, Turkey at a great hotel.
The Bella Hotel was really just a front for a couple of guys that
figured out a new way to get the tourists to buy carpets. No John,
we didn't buy another carpet. : Once they knew we understood their
marketing program they relaxed and laughed with us every time they
made a big sale. The other tourists seemed a lot like we were the
first few days. You know, that deer caught in the headlights kind
of stare. We certainly don't consider ourselves worldly travelers
yet, but out here in the real world you learn quick or perish. :
There was lots of ruins and an old Greek village to experience but
my highlight was a really cool steam train museum. Eat your heart
out George! Don't worry, I took a ton of pictures just for you.
We spent our last night in Turkey in Iznek. It was a very old, small
town on this huge lake. All of the Istanbul people seem to go there
for their summer weekends. The neat thing about this town was that
it was where all of the painted tiles (usually blue), originated
that were used in the Ottoman palaces and Mosques, about 2 to 3
thousand years ago.
It was a four hour road race back into Istanbul, with getting lost
in the city for an hour, the only highlight. Leaving Turkey was
uneventful and our flight into Cairo took about two hours, arriving
at 8:30pm. Cairo is HUGE! During the approach to the city it seemed
like we had the lights of the city below for a full twenty minutes
prior to touchdown. The airport was more than crazy. The touts were
ten deep waiting to jump the tourists. A tout is a guy that wants
money for something. A taxi ride, information, something to sell
you, or just to get you to do something that might get him some
sort of kickback. In Turkey this type of behavior is always connected
to the family. The brother is getting you a Taxi that his cousin
drives, to take you to his uncles hotel. In Cario the family doesn't
seem to be involved, but everyone knows someone that they are connected
to, so that the kickback takes place.
Today was the pyramid experience and it was way cool! We started
out with the idea that we would just follow the other tourists and
walk around the pyramids. On the way our driver asked if we wanted
to ride a camel. We had heard that riding camels was uncomfortable
and that it really sounded like a dorky thing to do. We changed
our mind at the last minute and decided that a tour of the pyramids
from the back of a camel would be fun and at least a 10 plus on
the dork-a-meter scale. This ride turned out to rank at the top
of our list! Imagine riding a camel across the sand, overlooking
the pyramids, with the Muslem "call to prayer" coming
from tens of Mosques in Cairo, as background sounds. I get shivers
just remembering it. Go ahead, call us dorks, but it was amazing.
Tomorrow we visit the Egyptian Museum. It should be a long day.
We are scheduled to relax the next day before taking a sleeper train
to Luxor and Aswan for about a week. I don't think that the Egyptian
keyboards add any extra y's, but there are so many characters on
these keyboards you are not really sure what keys to hit most of
the time. Things are never boring.
My son John wrote and said that he gave my entire family a lesson
on how to read Travelpod entries. Next week it will be how to write
an e-mail. :
We are having to get used to new money. In Turkey it was $1 million
for a bottle of water. In Egypt it's about $6.50, and water seems
to be the best way to figure the exchange rate. I'm still very slow
at counting money out to people for things. JoAnn says that I look
like an idiot and should not be showing everone how much cash is
in my wallet. I agree, that when I was in Turkey and had 250 to
300 million in my pocket it was probably a big deal, but in Egypt
it's only a couple of hundred dollars. :