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Last updated : Nov 2009
Egypt, Cairo
Rating: (4.5) (16 Votes)

Cairo, Egypt
September 15th, 2004

Pros: The pyramid experience and it was way cool!
Cons: None

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. :