30.04.2009 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.
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!
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.....