A Travellerspoint blog

Epilogue

Final thoughts about our trip!

IMG_2847.jpg

Well, there is finally time to finish off our travel blog and upload a few photos.

Our final contrast of this country was in leaving the airport. When we arrived we entered through the old terminal - about what I expected as we arrived. The big surprise upon our departure was that we were leaving from the new Cairo terminal - just opened a couple of days before we left. This world class terminal could fit into any major international city - a beautiful modern terminal that wasn't fully functional yet. There seemed to be a lot of 'suits' standing around watching the check in process. Remember that we were at the airport about 3 hours before departure yet it took almost all of that time to check in. What a country.......

My thanks once again to our tour guide Rafik who helped make our trip so very enjoyable. Also, I would like to commend the intrepid group of travellers who were absolutely up for any adventure on this trip - no matter how little sleep they had the night before! That fact made it back to the President of Top Deck Tours in London, England. Ladies (and Miguel) - I would travel anywhere with you. I was pleased to be part of this adventure. I wish you all well as you start the next adventure - whether it is in the travel industry or not - good luck to everyone!

Jona

Posted by jonaway 11:06 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Back to the chaos of Cairo

overcast 31 °C

We have arrived back to Cairo and are once again immersed in the sights and sounds of this incredibly overpopulated mass of humanity and animals. The view from our room shows a six story apartment building and on the roof is one cow and two sheep. Each time we return to our hotel we pass heards of sheep and goats just hanging out on the street. The vendors bring their animals while they sell their watermelons and squash.

It is very cloudy/smoggy today so it is very hard to see a few feet in front of us. It even rained a few drops at the market - perhaps Cairo is crying because we are leaving tonight!

Our morning started by meeting up with our favorite guide Hala. She took us Sakkara and the site of the Step Pyramid. On a clear day you can see the pyramids but not today. In the desert where we were you could get a bit of a taste of a sandstorm. From there we stopped for lunch (and to purchase some more jewlery for some) and then to Khan el Khalili bazaar. I will upload some pictures of the market when I return (this is not that great of a computer and quite costly). You can imagine the scene 24 Canadian women cause while walking through the market. The most popular purchase has been scarves of every color and quality. Some of our group become extremely competent in bartering (are you reading this Brooke?) and have help those others who were unsure of how it works. I think we could have all spent a bit more time there to spend our last Egyptian pounds.

If we look extermely tiredwhen you meet us at the airport on Tuesday it is because we have been up all day sightseeing, are going on a dinner cruise on the Nile tonight, back to the hotel for three hours and then to the airport at 1:30AM - our flight is at 5:30AM. So we will travel all night and day to get back. This long flight will have been totally worth the distances travelled.

This will be the last post of our adventure for now but plan to come back and visit - once I get home I will post some more pictures for everyone! We have had an incredible group of students to travel with - not a harse word or unwillingness to participate in our adventure - thanks everyone - I would travel anywhere with all of you!

Thanks to all of you who have posted comments - we loved to here from all of you.

Jona

Posted by jonaway 05:56 Comments (1)

Yassar Habibi

Can these Egytian children be any cuter?

sunny 32 °C

Good morning everyone - it seems we have quite the following of readers of our blog. By the comments posted it seems this is the only contact you have with your traveller! The blog has been read over 2000 times already - wow!

It is early morning in Hurghada and our last day on the Red Sea. We are heading to Cairo late this afternoon, will have a short night's sleep and a full day of sightseeing tomorrow. The last evening in Cairo for most will be a Nile dinner cruise. We are off to the airport at 1:30 AM for an early morning flight to Frankfurt for most of us. Others will be off to their next adventure in Europe, Egypt or the Middle East.

Today is actually the first day that the group has been able to sleep in. Yours truly was again up at at the crack of dawn - hence the reason for this time to post on the blog.

The ATV quading adventure was a great hit - by all accounts. Everyone was well behaved (something that doesn't happen on all outings according to Rafik, our tour leader). There was only one minor accident with a few bruises but all is well. No need to call the insurance company for something so minor!

Yesterday we were treated to a full day boat trip on the Red Sea. We were fortunate to have the entire boat to ourselves. After being outfitted with snorkelling equipment we headed to the boat and our friendly (as with all Egyptians) crew. The sunscreen was slathered on and we were off.

The son of the captain was our entertainment for the day. We named him Yassar Habibi (habibi is dear one in Arabic)and he charmed his way into our hearts! Here is a photo of the little darling.

IMG_2717_1_.pjpeg

In addition the crew entertained us with some unusual towel hats:

IMG_2720_1_.pjpeg

When I return I will upload the video of Yassar Habibi dancing on the small boat we were on going to Giftun Island.

We stopped at a huge coral reef area and jumped in to the cold Red Sea. The aquamarine colors of this sea are again almost indescribable. I have snorkelled in a lot of places around the world - this ranks near the top as the best. Fish in every color of the rainbow (and some with colors you rarely see).

Many had fun jumping from the top deck of the boat into the sea. After lunch we were off to Giftun Island to walk on the beach and bob in the Red Sea. The salt content of this sea must be greater than others because you could float in the water without any need to tread water or paddle. We all looked like corks bobbing in the water!

IMG_2789_1_.pjpeg

After a day in the sun and with many sunburned bodies we returned to the hotel. Some of the group (me included) visited the local perfume shop for a sunburn treatment. It worked remarkably well and should for the price we paid for the ointment! He promised that we won't peel - time will tell.

Oh to be young again - some of the group spent their last night out on the town. It seems establishments stay open as long as there are customers. This morning I had breakfast with some of the partiers - they were just coming in as I was getting up. Oh well, we have a day to laze around the pool!

Some of us may venture out to 'shop' some more today. Shopping here is interesting - I could use some of their techniques in my Sales classes. The first thing they want to know is where you are from. As soon as you say Canada - they say Canada Dry! or Canadian Club! or Canadian Tire! This opens them up for the start of the selling process. By the time we reach Kah el Khalili market in Cario we will all be seasoned veterans in the art of bartering!

That's all for now - thanks again for reading about our adventure. It is hard to believe it is coming to an end. Don't fret if there are no more posts for the next day or so. Time may be at a premium. I will update everyting - with more photos - after we return. Dowmloading photos here take for ever!

Posted by jonaway 23:51 Comments (1)

Luxor to the Red Sea

sunny 36 °C

I have been getting grief from some of you at home (especially in Calgary) when I post the weather in the daily blog! What a difference in climate we have experienced coming from Calgary and the snow. Most days are clear and hot - not much else to it. Luxor was likely the hottest - the day at Karnak Temple it was over 40 degrees.

So now we are in Hurghada - a resort city located on the Red Sea. We haven't been here long but it could be best described as Cancun catering to the Russian population. The word "nyet" is heard far more than 'la' here. It is hot but there is a stiff wind blowing so it doesn't seem quite to hot - and of course, it is a dry heat! The hotel we are at is beach side although the walk to the beach takes 5 - 10 minutes. The water of the Red Sea could be compared to the azure blue of the Caribbean or the South Pacific - it is pretty cold I was told. I guess we will see tomorrow when we take an all day snorkelling trip to Giftun Island. We have a private boat charter so it should be fun for all. Most of the group is off on a ATV adventure right now - quading in the sand of Egypt. Guaranteed they will come back dirty and tired.

I want to tell you a bit about the vendors, shops and sales people that work here in Egypt. They range from 'in your face aggressive' to being "your new best friend". On my short walk today I was invited in to share lunch with four gentlemen, offered mint tea and, if I had stuck around, undoubtely had more marriage proposals. The sales people will do almost anything to get you to come in to their store to buy. They ask your name so they can write it out in hieroglyphics and explain it to you. Today my name said that I am the mothering type and I like to travel - both a pretty safe bet! The group has all experienced a different level of comfort with the vendors. Some just want to run through the gauntlet of sellers and some are more interested in making a game out of the bartering. Kaitlin J. had never barter before but jumped in yesterday. When asked how she did - she replied - okay but I will get a better deal next time!

Right now Carla and I are in an Internet cafe that only seems to have been opened about two hours ago - they are still plugging in cables and opening boxes!

For those of you reading the blog - your loved ones are doing fine. A few sunburns and a few that are a bit 'tired' as a result of a roof top party last night in Luxor. See the time on the bus serves a purpose - it allows people to sleep while getting to the next destination.

We will be in Hurghada until Sunday afternoon, then taking a long bus trip to Cairo, a short night sleep, a day of touring and shopping, dinner on a Nile cruise boat and then to the airport or non to the next adventure!

Thanks to everyone for reading and commenting on our blog! It is nice to have fans.

Posted by jonaway 07:56 Comments (4)

Falafels and Sheeshas

overcast 37 °C

Salam! We have now had a minute or two to breathe today even though we started out early this morning. Our balloon trip was cancelled so we got to sleep in until 5 AM! After a lovely breakfast that included bacon (which is very rare here in Egypt because of the Muslim religion) we were off to visit three tombs of kings in the Valley of the Kings. There was lots of walking and steps up and down to visit the innermost part of these ancient tombs. This is best done during the early morning because of the intense heat.

Now, let's talk a bit more about the food of Egypt. We have never seen so much bread (mostly all white) in our lives. Buns, bread, puff pastry, pitas, croissants, baguettes - you name it the Egyptians will make it. While it is all delicious it is a pit of a shock to those who aren't used to so many carbs.

I have mentioned that very little bacon or pork is served. We dined at our hotle in Luxor last night - a four course meal for 60 Egyptian pounds - about 12 dollars. Mulligatawny soup, feta salad, steak in mushroom sauce and not one, but three pieces of baklava! Top that off with a local beer Stella and you have a full meal for under $20.00.

Egyptians also love their cheeses. What we are missing which isn't served in any great quantity is fresh fruit. We have had fresh dates which taste nothing like the dates you buy in the Canadian grocery stores. Delicious!

Today we had the most authentic experience. Rafik, our tour guide, took us to his favorite sheesha bar. He ordered everyone street coked falafels. I was totally satisfied with my mint tea - a new favorite! And, in keeping with Egyptian tradition, we finished off the meal with the sheesa pipe. Egyptian men spend hours on the streets watching the world go by and smoking their sheesa pipes.

323.jpg

From the restaurant we went to the local market. Everywhere we travel in Egypt there are several very aggressive sales people, adults and children, trying to get you to buy. You get to the point of not wanting to even slow down when you reach them. Today, though, we went to the market where they wanted you to come in and look. Don't get me wrong - they are excellent sales people but we didn't have the same pressure to buy. Of course, wanting to help the Egyptian economy we bought and bought and bought some more! There are many people coming home with scarves, pashminas, silver jewlery, cartouche rings with our names engraved in hieroglyphics. Here are two of our expert barterers!

335.jpg

We are off to the Sound and Light show at Karnak Temple tonight and then heading to the Red Sea and the city of Hurghada for a few days of ATVing, snorkeling and relaxation - I believe we have deserved a bit of a rest! Everyone has proven to be excellent travellers - up for any adventure and not complaining about the early mornings and the time on the tour bus. What a group.

Till next time.....

Posted by jonaway 05:07 Comments (0)

(Entries 1 - 5 of 11) Page [1] 2 3 »