Travels in Egypt
The following is my account
of my trip to Egypt in 2016. I kept a travel journal and this
appears below, with photographs. I had been in South Africa for a month
before I went to Egypt.
8 September 2016, Thursday
got up at seven, brushed my teeth, and got dressed. I went down to the
dining area. Breakfast is included (I checked first). I had an omelet
with chilies and onions, a croissant, bacon, sausage, and lots of
I went back to my room and filled out my journal and typed some more. I
took a shower and started packing again.
checked-in my Etihad flights using their web page. Boarding passes
were e-mailed to me. I went to the lobby desk and the desk staff said
could print them out for me. I forwarded the e-mail to them and they
handed me the printouts in seconds.
I have to wait several
hours for my airport transfer so they gave me an executive pass to
their executive lounge in the hotel. They have showers, beds,
refreshments, internet, etc. With the pass, I get free food and drinks.
Not so bad, better than waiting in the lobby which is what I'd have to
do. I had a latte and caught up on my e-mails.
A little after
four pm a bell hop came to the lounge and said that my ride had
arrived. I went outside and I recognized my driver from when I arrived
almost a week
ago. I told him what all I was doing. Traffic on the road to the
airport was very slow, it was rush hour and there had been several
I got out at the A terminal (for international
flights). I got through security very quickly, but the very long lines
for exiting passport control slowed me down quite a bit. My first
flight is on Etihad Airways to Abu Dhabi. I found my gate and
re-organized my things after the security process. I also caught up on
It was dark when I boarded the plane, about 6:30 pm. I watched a couple
of movies, the first was The
Huntsman: Winter's War. The other was Hail Caesar
with George Clooney. I had seen it before on a flight, but I hadn't
seen all of it. I had a choice at dinner and received a tray full of
I had chicken biryani and a roll. I didn't eat any of the other stuff.
I had wine and water to drink.
I sat next to a Tamil lady
originally from Sri Lanka, but now she lives in Sydney, Australia. All
of her family were forced out of Sri Lanka during their civil war
now her family is scattered over six countries.
9 September 2016, Friday
was an overnight flight and I actually sort of slept. We landed about
5:30 in Abu Dhabi. I had to go through security again and the lines
were long. I walked to my new gate area and went to a French style
bakery/café (chain I think). I had a sort of croissant-like thing, but
found that it had chocolate pieces in it. I also had a café americano
I boarded my next Etihad flight and it took off
about 9:30 am. I sat next to a young man about 35 years old. He worked
in Abu Dhabi, but was from Cairo. He had a boy and two twin girls. He
was very friendly and very proud of Egypt and Cairo. He told me about
places to see and food to eat, especially koshary and foule. He wrote it
all down for me in English and in Arabic.
I became sleepy and
fell asleep, disregarding lunch, beverage, and movies. I woke up to see
the Red Sea, the Nile, and the plateau between. I also saw several
isolated pyramids, one of which was stepped.
We landed at Cairo
was met by an Intrepid Travels (their website)
representative before passport control. He
helped me with the visa (thanks to Mary, I had the cash ready in
dollars), and he filled out my arrival card. I went through passport
and then met him again outside. He and a driver took me to the Barcelo
Pyramid Hotel (their website)
While with him, I booked two four-hour tours,
one to Saqqara and Memphis, and the other, a walking tour of downtown
I was in my room by one pm. I took a much needed
shower. The temperature is in the upper eighties Fahrenheit and the air
conditioning in my room, as far as I can tell, only blows warm air. I
hand washed two shirts and a pair of socks, and took a pair of blue
jeans to the lobby to have them laundered.
I am sweating as I
walk through the hotel and I found a restaurant that serves beer, so I
had a Sakara beer. I wanted to save the label but the waiter whisked
the empty bottle away when I wasn't looking. I drank my beer and filled
out my journal. The only pet peeve so far is that there is no free
WiFi, you have to pay for it. In this day and age, that is a shame, so
I give this hotel one big tick mark against it. While I was at the desk
a fellow came up and complained that he paid for internet and that it
didn't work. I finished my beer and explored the hotel a bit. There are
several restaurants here and I'll probably eat here tonight. It's
amazing what good service you get when you carry a notebook and
where I had my beer, another
cafe, lounge, reception area, sign in lobby, swimming
from my room, fruit plate
and water brought to my room, drawer showing direction to Mecca,
Today and for a few days there are Muslim
religious holidays (Eid
al-Adha, Wikipedia entry)
related to the Hajj
Stores and restaurants are open
at unusual hours, if at all. Today is Friday, a special mosque day
anyway (Friday Prayers, Wikipedia entry).
Even traffic is very light this afternoon.
At 6:30 I
went to a bar at the lobby and had a glass of Omar Khayem red wine
while I waited for the big restaurant Horus (on the top floor) to open.
At seven, the restaurant Horus is supposed to open. I went to the
restaurant but no one was there. So I went to the balcony. I could see
the Pyramids from the balcony here earlier, but there was so much dust
in the air that one could barely make it out. However, at seven, it
could not be seen, the sun had gone down and the pyramids were not lit
up. I went back inside and called the desk and said that no one was
there. They sent a couple of waiters up right away. I ordered a mixed
starter platter (mezze,
and a mixed grill of meats for entre. I also
ordered another glass of Egyptian wine, this time the Marquis. It
was still very hot throughout the hotel. I opened a sliding glass door
and sat at a table next to it and caught a very nice breeze (I
don't think that there is a breeze at street level). I filled out my
journal while waiting. They said that it would take at least twenty
minutes. I assume that they make it elsewhere because there is no
kitchen at this level of the hotel. Just now there is a call
for prayer all over Cairo. Traffic is heavy and horns are honking. Now
there is a duet call for prayer.
My mixed mezze came. There
were eleven bowls and each one was excellent. I could only sample a
little of everything because the main course was coming. The large
mixed grill came and there were four kinds of meat I think. Two kabobs
(chicken and beef), ground lamb, and a steak plus lots of grilled bell
peppers, onions, and tomatoes. The rice had a very nice spice, cinnamon
I think. I only ate about a third of this
platter. I felt like a glutton. I called it quits, finished my wine,
and charged my meal to my room.
- view of pyramids
from roof-top restaurant, closer
view, bottle of
wine, Horus dining
room, religious-celebration traffic,
- my mezze,
closer view, another view, my main course,
I was back in my room by 8:30.
I did my usual ablutions and pills. I filled out my journal and then
went to bed. It is still hot in my room.
10 September 2016,
got up at six and brushed my teeth. I went to the Sphinx Restaurant on
the first floor which is where the included breakfast is served. I had
rice pudding with sprinkles of dried fruit, crepe with honey, falafels
of some type, yellow bun, and an eggplant-tomato dish, plus a pot of
dark roasted coffee. There was much more available including a hot
breakfast, all sorts of sweet rolls, etc. Everything I had was good. I
have several days so I'll try more later.
I went to the lobby
by 7:45 to wait for my tour. My guide was a young lady named Hend. She
is about the age of my daughters so naturally I told her about them.
Everyone is surprised that I have a daughter with an Egyptian name,
Nora. I am the only person on the tour.
First we went to
We were the only tourists at first, but a handful of others
filtered in later. Normally there would be long lines and crowds. It is
because tourists are afraid to come to Egypt.
We first went to
a diorama room that showed what the original compound of the Pyramid of Djoser
step pyramid (Wikipedia entry),
the first carved-stone pyramid in the world. We entered
another pyramid, Pyramid
of Unas (Wikipedia entry),
and finally Princess
Idut's mastaba. I noticed fossils in the white
limestone blocks in the temple area.
and video room, diorama of Djoser
temple complex, the stepped
pyramid, Imhotep Museum,
date palm, closer view, Bougainvillea and date
to Djoser's temple
through gate, another
through columns, Hend,
pyramid, open ceremonial
view, open area,
ritual race (in ceremonial open area), the pyramid, temple structures, Nummulites
and other fossils, another
another, ramp to
statue niche, all the remains
of seated statues, mastaba?,
Djoser's pyramid, another
pyramid and others, closer
view through dusty haze, another
- mud-brick mastabas
and other structures, another
in limestone steps,
- Unas Pyramid: facing
stones of pyramid, passageway,
in pyramid chamber, painted patterns,
and lid, another
close up, another view, more
for Tomb of Idut,
bas relief of boat,
and fish, small
and net, duck
hunter, cattle, rowers, pulling boat, hippo and crocodile, animals, workers, another chamber, butchers, more butchers, yet more, even more, carrying meat, ducks, false door, seated
- geologic strata
at temple compound, tombs
under strata, tomb
carving, side of
We went back to the bus.
The driver bought some dates and offered them to us. I really like
fresh dates. I picked out about 12 from the large bag and thanked him.
They will be my lunch. later. I asked Hend about popular cold drinks,
and she said to ask for "lemon with mint." It is lime, not lemon.
one area, there were lots of "Carpet Schools." Child labor is illegal,
so carpet factories get around the law by calling their factories
We then went to Memphis
the old capitol of Lower
Egypt. There were a few assorted statues outside and one huge statue of
Ramses II (Ramses Colossus). The statue was lying on the ground, it was
broken at the
statue of three figures,
stela with cartouches,
close up of
cartouches, close up
of Aswan granite, another stela,
cow-headed goddess, statue
of two figures, standing
Ramses II, more
Temle of Ptah, another
another view the other
side, sign for
Sphinx, statue courtyard,
sarcophagus, another view, closer view (Aswan
granite), another standing
Ramses II, sitting
outside Ramses Colossus
for colossus, the Ramses
of statue, wife
at legs, column
I was back at the hotel a little before noon. Hend
went to the desk, and talked to them about the air conditioner. They
said that the problem had been fixed, it was a hotel-wide problem last
night. I went to my room and it was cooler and the temperature was
dropping. I washed the
dust off my dates and ate them for lunch. The cleaning ladies seemed to
like the tip I left (I do this everywhere, every night). I took a quick
I ate a golden delicious apple and then went to the
lobby bar. I ordered a lemon with mint. It took awhile to prepare, but
was very nice to drink. It was just slightly sweet (basically, our
lemonade with a little mint, not carbonated). That went down quickly. I
then ordered a tonic water to take back to my room. I took a nap for an
hour or so and then got ready for the rest of the day.
to the lobby at 3:15. I sat next to another fellow and asked him if he
had signed up for the walking tour and he said yes. He was Andrew from
the South Island of New Zealand. He is 76. I introduced myself.
Andrew's wife was too jet lagged to do the walking tour.
walked in and we went out to the van. I told Hend that I would like to
go to the Harley Davidson (I had mentioned it in the morning) on the
way. She called the shop and they said that they closed at four. She
begged them to stay open a few minutes later because that was my last
opportunity. They agreed to stay open a little while. The shop was on
an island between two branches of the Nile. We arrived at 4:10. I
bought two t-shirts, both of which were new designs, one arriving just
today. The lady waiting on me was very pleased that I picked one of her
designs. I paid for my shirts and then we left. I didn't want to keep
them any longer, so I didn't look at any of the bikes.
drove to a big bridge over the Nile. We got out and Hend told us about
Egyptian history and the Qasr
al-Nil bridge (Wikipedia entry),
among other things. We walked across
and looked at the fancy hotel in the garden district. We crossed
numerous streets which appeared to be a dangerous sport. We saw the
famous Tahrir Square
where the first revolution occurred about
five years ago (Wikipedia entry).
I remembered the bridge we just crossed in many
televisions news reports during the revolution. We also saw lots of
graffiti painted during and after the revolution.
- Cairo Tower
near Qasr al-Nil bridge, close-up
of memorial and tower, street book
at bridge, closer
view, view of eastern
view, view across
the bridge, Nile River
looking south, round
building, Egyptian Museum,
at Tahrir Square, Royal
the square, museum again, closer view, political graffiti, closer view, another view, yet another, more graffiti, American University, apartment building, political graffiti, closer view, another view, more graffiti, yet more, even more, still more, graffiti, more graffiti, closer view, alley with nice
view, statue in
stopped at a famous koshary restaurant and had the koshary (Wikipedia entry)
that I had
wanted to try. It is a bowl of two kinds of pasta, rice, tomato sauce,
grilled onions, lentils, and garbanzo beans. You add garlic infused
vinegar and chili sauce to taste. It was good and filling.
then went to a pastry bakery and had freshly made ice cream. I had the
mango strawberry and it was quite good. We were then picked up and
driven to our hotel. Andrew and I both signed up for the Muslim and
Coptic Cairo tour tomorrow morning. I paid my tip to the driver, I had
already paid my tip to Hend at the koshary restaurant.
to my room and took a quick shower. I went downstairs to the lobby bar
and had a glass of wine while I filled out my journal. A fellow played
music on a piano which was nice. He had all the sound effects to go
with it which was interesting in its own right. I left when an
aggressive mosquito kept attacking me. I'm still taking malaria pills,
but I don't believe that is a problem here. I bought another bottle of
tonic water to take to my room.
I typed out my journal and then did my
evening ablutions and took my pills. I watched television for a few
minutes and then went to bed.
11 September 2016, Sunday
got up at 5:45, brushed my teeth and went down to breakfast. I had
small amounts of couscous, falafel, foule (a broad bean
sort of gravy, Wikipedia entry),
somewhat sweet croissant, apple, honey dew, squash, date, ripe olives,
cheese, salami, semi-sweet roll, and lots of coffee. I probably forgot
a couple of items.
I went back to my room to get ready for the
day. I hope my next hotel has working WiFi and free internet. I could
have used my spare time sending out e-mails. I'm not spending twenty
dollars for internet for one day. The staff of the hotel are all very
friendly and I give them an A+. The hotel's location is a D. It is
isolated in a sort of working class neighborhood with no shops and
restaurants of interest to foreigners except for the hotel restaurants.
What hotel food I've had seems good. But I do feel isolated here.
went to the lobby at 8:45 and met Andrew, his wife Linda, and another
lady, Diane, also from New Zealand. Dahlia, our guide came shortly
after. We crammed into a minivan and set out for our tour of the Muslim
and Coptic parts of Cairo. First we went to the Citadel (Wikipedia entry),
structure on a rocky prominence over Cairo. It had been a limestone
quarry in ancient times. The wall was built in stages but was first
constructed as protection against the Crusaders in the 1180's. I
noticed that the limestone was chock full of fossils of the protozoan
They were called Nummulites
because they were
coin shaped and coin sized, large for a single-celled life form. I took
photographs. We went inside the walls and took pictures of the Cairo
panorama. One could barely make out the pyramids through the thick
haze. We went into the Muhammad
Ali Mosque (Wikipedia entry),
sometimes called the
Alabaster Mosque because of the beautiful alabaster in it. Muhammad Ali
(Wikipedia entry) was the last Ottoman general to rule Egypt. He
declared it independent
during his reign. We went inside the mosque after taking our shoes off
and Dahlia explained the five fundamentals of Islam.
- outer gate
to Citadel, trebuchet
view, another wall
area, limestone with Nummulites
fossils (edge view), another
view, ancient quarry
for this limestone, map
of citadel, the Muhammad Ali mosque,
an-Nasr Mohammed, steps
to next level, Muhammad Ali mosque,
date palms, quarry strata, outer wall to mosque, alabaster base, ornate door, alabaster base, more alabaster, map of the mosque,
view, ceiling at
fountain, alabaster seat,
chandelier, ceiling, prayer stations,
pan of Cairo,
from wall, Ibn Tulun
of Sultan Hassan and ar-Rifai, closer
view, Muhammad Ali mosque,
lion fountain, guardian
lion, bas relief of
got back on the van and went to the Coptic
Cairo area (Wikipedia entry).
Dahlia said the
temperature was 39 degrees and it did feel pretty hot. Dahlia said that
it was an unusual heat wave. We saw some Persian structures that were
later modified by the Romans, and then we went to our first Coptic
church called the Hanging
Church (Wikipedia entry).
It got this name because it hung over
the Roman walls. Today is Sunday and the church was in session. We went
to a second church, Greek
Orthodox Church of St. George (Wikipedia entry)
dedicated to St. George. They were preparing
for a wedding. And then we went to the nearby Ben Ezra Synagogue
Photos were not
allowed even though it was no longer an active synagogue.
to Coptic area, coffee shop,
view, sign for
- entry gate
to Hanging Church
Hanging Church, mosaic
in courtyard, orange flower, church bookstore, map of church, plan of church, Dahlia with map,
church service, another view, yet another view, video of
Sunday service, another video,
at Roman wall,
church icon, friendly Egyptians, courtyard,
of Greek Church of St.
building, St. George church,
Roman ruins, St. George, bells, mosaic, inside the church
(getting ready for wedding), another
We stopped at a little coffee shop. I had a sediment coffee with milk,
and then a lemon with mint.
reboarded the van and went back to the hotel. I went to a nearby shop
and bought a liter of bottled water. I went to the desk and asked about
my laundry and they said that they would check on it. I went to the
lobby bar and ordered two small bottles of tonic water and then went to
my room. I took a shower and then a short nap. A little after three, my
blue jeans were delivered to me.
At six we met in the lobby
bar. I was the first attendee there and I asked the young lady if she
were Hoda. She said yes. She is the guide for our Intrepid tour. Others
filtered in, Andrew and wife Linda, and then Diane (all from New
Zealand), then Kelly from Australia, and finally a young couple from
Singapore, David and Jenny. Hoda talked about out trip, we filled out
our insurance forms, and prepaid our tips for the entire trip (which
Hoda will give out for us). Tomorrow we meet in the lobby for our tour
at 8:30. After the meeting we divided into two groups, one going to the
Horus Restaurant on the roof (I did that last night) and the other to
the Italian restaurant, where I had pizza with anchovies and ripe
After the dinner, an Egyptian wedding party began. It
was very interesting. There was loud oboe and drum music, and beautiful
young bridesmaids and grooms dancing. Video cameras were on. I even had
my picture taken with some of the attendees. I did not have my camera
unfortunately. While watching the wedding festivities, another fellow
stood next to my table to watch. I scooted a chair out and motioned him
to sit down. He did and we shook hands. He was from Saudi Arabia. I
told him I was from Kentucky in the USA. He asked what airline flights
I was taking to get home.
I went to my room by 9:30 and did my
evening ablutions. I watched a little television while filling out my
journal. I went to bed soon after.
12 September 2016, Monday
woke up at six, got up and brushed my teeth. During the night it came
to me that the reason for being for this hotel is that it was a wedding
hotel. I had stayed at one just like this the first time I went to
Mumbai. It too, was fairly fancy, had good food, was isolated from
tourists' interests, and was in a working class neighborhood.
went to breakfast and had rice pudding, falafel, foule, Egyptian
bread, honey, a bun with spices, a date, and lots of coffee. It is hot
I went to my room and took a shower. I also typed out my
journal. In the elevator, a fellow in his religious clothing said "Eid
Mubarak." I responded with the same and shook his hand. It
I kept my big bottle of water in the little
refrigerator in my room, but I noticed that the interior of the
refrigerator was hotter than the room despite it being set to the
coldest temperature. I'll just leave the water out in the room. Later,
I learned that none of the refrigerators worked.
We met in the
lobby at 8:15 and got on the small bus. We went to the Giza pyramid complex
and, of course, I took lots of photographs. We went first to the Great Pyramid of Giza
I also noted more
nummulited limestones and called everyone's attention to the large
single-celled fossils. Hoda explained a lot about ancient Egypt to us.
We then went to the Khufu
ship museum (Wikipedia entry).
I bought a photo permit and took lots
of photographs here as well. The museum is built over an ancient boat
that had been buried next to the largest pyramid. It was buried
disassembled and so curators had to reassemble it. It took years to do.
It was also amazing that the boat was thousands of years old and was in
such good condition.
at entry to Giza pyramid complex,
of Great Pyramid of Giza
(Khufu's pyramid), another
view, Khufu's and Khafre's (on right) pyramids,
yet closer view,
block, limestone casing
blocks at platform, pyramid
up close, lower
part, nummulitid limestone,
closer view, another one, yet another, more, the limestone bed, smaller Nummulites, more, small ones, nearby small pyramid, edge of Great Pyramid,
closer view, boat museum and
stone on side pyramid,
that covered boat pit at Khufu
ship museum, minor
for museum, shoe covers
inside museum, closer
view, photos of
dismantled boat and block covers, Hoda
at photos, Hoda
and photograph of dig, boat sign,
material, old rope,
flint knife, sign for boat pit, another view, wood fragments, model of boat, another view, another model, sign for model,
several boat models,
of boat, bottom
length, hull joinery,
oar mechanism, cabin, more joinery, other end view, cabin, stern, stern piece, rudder mechanism, deck attachment, oar bank, bow end, another view, yet another, other side of cabin,
looking back at
boat museum and pyramid,
of Khafre's Pyramid and Menkaure's (in back), another view, closer view, another view, upper part of
view with Dave, Seshem
Nefer Theti tomb, closer
I was also told that the alabaster slabs
that once covered the pyramids had been robbed to make the Alabaster
Mosque in the Citadel by the ruler Muhammad Ali (Wikipedia entry).
We then went
to the Pyramid of
Menkaure (Wikipedia entry)
where the others bought a ticket to enter. I did
not. The outside of that pyramid had been lined with red granite from
the Aswan area. One of the Muslim leaders tried to destroy all of the
pyramids and started with this one. His workers were only able to
remove some of the granite and limestone blocks, but soon gave up,
because it was too difficult. Thank goodness.
of Menkaure's Pyramid,
stand, the pyramid,
toward Khafre's pyramid, Aswan red
for Menkaure's pyramid, granite
casing blocks on lower part of pyramid, entrance, heiroglyphs, sign for pyramid
the two big pyramids,
yet another, more, group pose, family pose, camel ride, horses,
for the others, an aggressive vendor started talking to me. He grabbed
my camera and tried to take a picture of me. He turned it on and then
promptly dropped it in the sand and rocks. I tried to get it back, but
he wanted to fix it, so he cleaned off the lens with his oily thumb.
The sand had gotten into the outer barrel of the zoom lens and the lens
would not retract, it was jammed by sand grains. I kept trying to get
my camera back, but he wanted to fix it. He was really trying to
manhandle it to get it to go back in. I was finally able to get my
camera back and walked away. I was finally able to twist the lens back
in, and he saw that, and asked for money, now that it worked. Do not
ever talk to the vendors and don't let them touch your camera! We
got back in the bus and the camera finally seemed to be functioning
We next headed to the Great
Sphinx of Giza complex (Wikipedia entry)
where I was fortunately able to take photographs.
of the Sphinx
and Khufu's Pyramid, wall
near Sphinx, Aswan
granite gate, post and lintel hallway,
group pose, another pose, yet another, Dave and Jenny, another, the Sphinx, close up, another close up, yet another, another view, back end, rear view, base, stela, overview,
We boarded the bus and then headed out again. We stopped at a local
take-out place that Hoda recommended.
I had a pita-type sandwich filled with foule, a bean gravy or paste. It
tastes just like refried beans, but is a little bit soupier. I was very
thirsty in the heat and had a cold Sprite. I don't usually drink soft
After lunch we went to the Egyptian
Museum (Wikipedia entry).
I got a
photo permit as well. This is a huge, multi-storied museum. Hoda took
us to a few choice exhibits and explained them to us. Then we had time
to explore it on our own. It is not air conditioned, but there are
fans. The temperature is in the upper 30's C, so it's pretty hot.
- Egyptian Museum,
closer view, sign for museum, standing pharoah near
standing statue there, yet
statue there, side hallway
near entrance, Djoser
view, sign for
statue in main hall, another,
statue of Menkaure
with Hathor, another
statue, Prince Rahotep and
Nofret statue, dwarf Seneb
and family, hallway with ornate
columns, Hoda and Mentuhotep,
of Queen Hatshepsut,
Akhenaten, another view, another Akhenaten, Akhenaten sunk relief,
child, hall with sarcophagi
and standing statues,
of Amenhotep III and Queen Tiye, sitting
statue of three, sitting
statue of two, Ramesses II
with Horus, sign
for statue, pharoah
with captives, standing
close-up, giant heads, sitting Horus, stela, pharoah, Horus and
Seth, column, large head,
We were all hot, tired, and sore at the end. At three, we got back on
the bus and went back to our hotel.
took a shower and washed out my shirt. I'm hoping it dries quickly,
tomorrow is a travel day. I also filled out my journal. I found one
packet of lens cleaner and cleaned the fingerprints off my camera lens.
At six, we met in the lobby and loaded onto the bus and headed
back toward the Giza pyramids. We went to the Aboushakra Restaurant
where the second-floor dining area was like a balcony view of the
Sphinx and the Pyramids. In fact we had a great vantage point for the
light show at the pyramids, and we got it for free. Hoda negotiated our
meal and price. We had a set menu of many dishes including pita bread,
baba ganoush, hummus, spinach-like puree, egg plant dish, okra dish,
pickles, and bowls of something like moussaka. Then we got the main
course of grilled minced mutton, steak, chicken, vegetables, and rice
with cinnamon and other spices. I had water to drink. I think everyone
enjoyed the meal.
of the pyramids, pyramid
and Sphinx, another
view, yet another
show, my plate,
our table, another view, pyramid, light show, sign for restaurant,
We were taken back to the hotel. David,
Jenny, and I walked to a tiny store and got several large jugs of
drinking water (6-liter jugs). Back at the hotel, I checked out and
paid my room charges to save time tomorrow.
I went back to my
room and packed most things. I brushed my teeth, took my pills, and
then filled out my journal. I watched a little television and then went
to bed about nine. Tomorrow is an early travel day.
13 September 2016,
got up at 5:45, brushed my teeth and went down to breakfast. I had
chicken sausage dish, falafels, foule, Egyptian bread, a bun with
spices, croissant, dates, honey dew melon, freshly made strawberry
yogurt, and lots of coffee. I was the first there, but Diane joined me
a few minutes later.
After breakfast I took my pack, and bag
to the lobby by 7:15. I also had my new six-liter container of drinking
water. I will add my packet of Indian electrolytes to it later. They do
not sell electrolytes here, so I am lucky to have a couple of packets
from India. We loaded our gear onto the bus and started our drive to
Alexandria on the Mediterranean.
We had a three-hour drive to
We made a comfort stop half-way through and I got a coffee
for myself and an espresso for Hoda.
Our first stop in
Alexandria was the Citadel
of Qaibay (Wikipedia entry)
at the old harbor
This is the site where the
ancient Lighthouse of
Alexandria (Wikipedia entry)
once stood. It was one of the seven
wonders of the ancient world. It was brought down by earthquakes in the
- the bay,
boats, the Citadel, closer view, souvenir shops next to
harbor, seashells, Citadel walls, closer view, harbor entrance, along
the wall, closer view, harbor and skyline, another view, lighthouse,
We also stopped at a royal garden with royal
palaces for the Turkish rulers of Egypt during the 19th and 20th
centuries. There are two very nice hotels, plus a presidential palace
- rock and tree garden,
sandstone, another one, Montaza Palace
park, date palms, another view,
hotel, low bridge,
We stopped at an Azza ice cream shop. I had a bowl of vanilla and
mango. Very nice.
then stopped at a Greco-Roman burial catacomb (Catacombs of Kom el Shoqafa,
Photography was not
allowed (I have no idea why). We climbed down hand-carved spiral steps
to the catacombs. The rocks were cross-bedded sandstones and exhibited
honey comb weathering in places. The tombs were decorated with Greek
and Egyptian themes.
Next, we stopped at a take-away
restaurant where Hoda took our orders, the options were falafel
sandwiches or foule sandwiches. I didn't get anything because I had had
a big serving of ice cream.
Our bus moved through incredibly
busy and narrow streets filled with two-way traffic, pedestrians, and
market stands. I don't see how they drive here (or walk).
got to our hotel, Mediterranean
Azur Hotel (their website),
in the early afternoon. It
overlooks the Mediterranean Sea. My room is right next to the swimming
pool and just steps away from the beach. Most of the women are wearing
full burkinis in the water, but the men are not. I'm not going to rant
about that right now.
- hotel entry
our room assignment, another
cafe, sign for
one of the restaurants,
lobby bar, lobby, my room, another view, yet another, another one, bathroom, another view, yet another, view of pool from my room, atrium in our wing, ceiling, from above, beach, row of rooms, roof restaurant/bar, another view, view from roof, pool
at sunset, another view,
This is probably the busiest holiday
week for the locals to vacation. It is like our 4th of July,
Thanksgiving and Christmas, all rolled into one. The beaches here are
Anyway, I went to the desk and asked about Internet.
Here, it costs about $5.50 for overnight, considerably cheaper than the
last place, and it actually works here. You have to carry a modem to
your room, and set it up. They give you a scratch-off card with your
password on it. I finally got the modem all set up and was able to log
onto the Internet. I sent out a bunch of e-mails. We're only here for
one night and I don't know if we'll have Internet at the next place. I
spent most of the afternoon typing. And I did take another shower and
washed out a shirt.
About 5:30, I finished my typing and went
to the roof-top bar. I sat with David and Jenny. I ordered wine, but
that was not sold at that bar. I ordered Sakara beer. The waiter came
back to tell me that it was in glass bottles and they couldn't serve it
at that bar. But I could order a can of Stella or Heineken. I declined
and went down to the lobby bar and had a glass of local Marquis red
wine. It came with peanuts and potato chip snacks. I filled out my
I take this time to say that all of the
Egyptian people that I've encountered so far have been very friendly
and kind. They have all welcomed me to be there. Their economy is
dependent upon tourism and tourism is at an extremely low level. Now is
the time to visit Egypt. Everything, food, hotels, travel, is at a
great value. There are no lines or crowds at any of the ancient sites.
met in the lobby at 6:30 and walked to a good seafood restaurant. You
pick your fish, shrimp, squid, etc., they weigh it, you tell them how
you want it cooked, and they bring it to you. But before it comes out,
you also get lots of dishes like baba ganoush, pickles, cooked beets,
and many others. I picked sole and had it grilled. It was very good. I
had water to drink.
We walked back to the hotel. There were
two weddings going on, one on each side of the hotel. Four of us
stopped at the lobby bar and had a glass of red wine. My path to my
room was blocked by one of the wedding parties.
wedding dancing migrated down the hall, I went to my room and filled
out my journal. I did my usual evening ablutions. I went to bed a
little after ten.
14 September 2016,
got up at 6:15 and brushed my teeth. I went to breakfast in the dining
area at 6:30. It doesn't open till seven. I sat down anyway and took
some photographs. It is a lot more peaceful now than it was at night.
is a sprawling hotel. It is never over three stories high, but there
are linear buildings (one to two stories) separated by and ending with
circular buildings (three stories high). There are at least four
circular buildings. The compound could be larger, but that's all I
could see. There are two swimming pools and one beach area. Waves are
only a few inches high. All of the rooms appear to open toward the
Mediterranean and the pools. Andy and Linda, and I are in a circular
building, whereas the others are in one of the linear buildings.
breakfast I had falafel with bean gravy (foule), sausage dish, mashed
potatoes, Egyptian bread, molasses or molasses-like honey, shredded
carrot salad, sliced cucumbers, small sweet roll,, yogurt, omelet with
everything, cut fruit, and coffee. I sat with Andrew and Linda.
breakfast, I sent out one last email and then took a shower. I
repacked, because this is a travel day. I checked out at 10:30 and met
the others in the lobby.
We loaded our stuff onto the bus and
went to the new library, Bibliotheca
Alexandrina (Wikipedia entry),
a new version of the ancient Library
of Alexandria (Wikipedia entry).
Architecturally, this must be one
of the finest libraries in the world. We had a tour through the library
and wandered through several of the museums there. They have an
impressive digital collection and project as well. I bought a pocket
bird guide to Egypt and the Middle East in the gift shop.
- tree with pink
and white flowers, library
lobby, museum hallway,
view, high-tech roof,
12:30 we got back on the bus. Hoda had bought falafel sandwiches for
all of us, and we ate them on the bus while traveling. We headed back
to Cairo, making a comfort stop halfway there.
Because we made good
time, we stopped at a papyrus shop. They served us hibiscus drink (made
from hibiscus flowers soaked in water, sugar is added, and it's good
for high-blood pressure) and then demonstrated how papyrus (Wikipedia entry)
was made. It
is incredibly strong and can be soaked in water, wrung out, and still
be tough. Of course they wanted to sell us papyrus with Egyptian
artwork on it. I bought a plain piece of papyrus because I was more
interested in the technology.
We got back into the bus and
went to a supermarket to get snacks for our train ride. I didn't get
anything. We then stopped at our hotel as a comfort stop and to wait
for our evening train.
At about seven we got back on the bus
and drove to the train station. We are taking a sleeper train overnight
to Aswan. We boarded the train about eight. We are in two-person
cabins, but I am in one by myself. This is far nicer than the Trans
Siberian train I was on last year. I have my own wash basin, mirror,
electrical outlet, and it's air conditioned.
After about ten
minutes, dinner was served to us in our cabins. It was a mutton stew,
rice, green beans in tomato sauce, bun, tahini sauce, and dessert. I
didn't eat the dessert. In a few minutes after eating the tray was
taken away. The attendant asked if I would like anything to drink and I
asked for tea. I paid him six Egyptian pounds for it. I filled out my
while taking tea. It is an overnight train and it is dark, so there is
nothing to see outside.
There are two toilets (marked W.C.) at
one end of the car. I went in one and took a couple of photos. The
floor was wet (so wear shoes). We seemed to hit the roughest patch of
rail while I was trying to take aim. It was almost as if someone were
watching for the most opportune time to lurch the train left and right.
The sink did work and there was toilet paper.
I went back to
my cabin and prepared for bed. It was nice to have my own little sink.
I brushed my teeth and took my pills (using bottled water), and went to
bed about 9:15.
15 September 2016,
slept off and on all night, but it wasn't unpleasant at all. We made
several stops, but the heavy curtains kept out all the light.
got up a little before six and brushed my teeth. In this dusty climate,
the windows are pretty dirty. I won't be taking any good photos through
these windows. I filled out my journal and typed it up.
that during the night, the train remained idle for at least an hour, so
we will be arriving late in Aswan. She didn't know why the train
We have gone past fields of date palms, bananas,
sugar cane, corn, alfalfa, and other smaller crops. The common birds
are doves, egrets, crows, and I did see a Pied Kingfisher.
arrived at Aswan
a little after noon, three hours late. We loaded onto
our little tour bus and drove a short distance to our hotel, the Philae
Hotel Aswan. We were given a glass of freshly made
lemonade (our kind,
not carbonated), and then given our keys. I went to my room and Hoda
brought me a container of koshary for lunch. I also put electrolytes in
my six-liter container of water. I filled out my journal as well. It
appears that they have free WiFi, the air conditioner works, and the
little refrigerator also works. There is a safe in the room too. Many
of the people here are much darker than in Cairo, they look more
of hotel, hotel lobby,
desk, my room, another view, yet another view, another one, bathhroom, another view, yet another, view from my room, another view, Elephantine
all mixed up,
I took a shower and got dressed. At 1:45 we met in
the lobby and rode the bus to a boat dock. We took a boat a short
distance to the island, Philae
near the old Aswan Dam. The Isis temple
has been reconstructed on a new island by UNESCO and other
supporters, because the old temple was partly submerged by the new
lake. The temple was
built during the Ptolemaic dynasty, but was built by Egyptians. I took
lots of photos. It was pretty hot because we missed out chance to visit
here in the cooler morning.
- souvenirs on the dock,
the temple on
Philae Island, closer
view, temple carvings,
main courtyard, another view, side building, row of columns, other side, stone roof, bas relief, another one, temple front, another view, boat sunk relief, column entrance, bas reliefs, corner view,
bottom-lit bas relief,
another one, chamber, closer view, carved column, ornate columns, bas reliefs, columned structure, carved entry, view from island, side of temple, stone gate, Hathor carvings, large carvings,
We took the boat back and then the
bus to the hotel. I took another shower and then met the others in the
We walked down the street to another boat landing. We boarded the boat
and went upstream on the Nile. I took photos of the Nilometer (Wikipedia
passed it on Elephantine island (Wikipedia entry).
This used to be the First Cataracts of the Nile before the
dam was built. There are still lots of rocks and swirling waters, but
it is no longer dangerous. We went to a granitic island and were led up
a rocky hill to a Nubian family's home. Granite from this area has been
quarried for millennia.
- on our boat,
feluccas, another view, yet more, another, docked boats, another view, fast flowing water,
Coptic church, Nilometer entry,
ancient wall, Old Cataract Hotel, boulder with carvings,
feluccas, another view, felucca at sunset, another view, rapids, Elephantine Island, video of
rapids, moon, closer view, walk to family home, another view, family house,
We met the family and were taken to
the roof terrace. It was still quite hot, but there was a nice (but
hot) breeze. We were served homemade potato chips, a potato casserole,
a cooked vegetable dish, lentil soup, Nubian bread, cucumber and bell
pepper salad, fried chicken wings, and hot tea with mint. We talked to
members of the family and were shown around the home. We said our
goodbyes and caught the boat back to the hotel.
terrace, other side
of island, another
view at sunset, granite quarry, moon,
view, food bowls,
more, another, yet another,
I went to my room
and filled out my journal. I took my pills, brushed my teeth, and took
a quick shower. I went to bed shortly after.
16 September 2016, Friday
I got up at six, brushed my teeth, and took a quick shower. I packed
everything because this is another travel day.
had breakfast with the others at seven. I had cut-fruit cup (bananas
and honey dew), boiled egg, pita bread, falafel, cream cheese, jam, and
instant coffee. At eight, we got on the bus and went to the airport.
There we caught a plane to Abu
Simbel (Wikipedia entry).
Abu Simbel was an important
archaeological site. It was erected as a temple for Ramses II and his
chief wife, Nefertari. Its original locality was at what is now, the
Lake Nasser. UNESCO and many other world agencies disassembled the
temples and reconstructed them against a false mountain above the lake
level. I remember when this happened in 1968, National Geographic and
magazine covered this reconstruction. The temple is very impressive
with four giant statues of Ramses II in the front. Inside there were
very many famous painted bas reliefs that everyone has seen in photos
and television. However, photographs were not allowed. The queen's
temple was nearby as well.
- at the airport,
our flight, sign
for temple, artificial hill
on backside of temples, side
of hill, heiroglyphs,
- Ramses II
temple, closer view, frontal view, right side view, closer view, left side view, another view, smaller statues, another view, close view of head, carved niche, base of statue, sunk reliefs at base, more carvings, close-up of a carving
(crossbeds), more crossbeds,
yet more, no
photo sign, inside the temple
(from outside), another
view, left side,
of Nefertari temple,
closer view, statues on left side, another view, yet another, right side,
- African Hoopoe
closer view, video of
The temperature is about 41
degrees C, so it is very hot. I had a Turkish coffee and then we caught
the plane back to Aswan.
A bus took us to the cruise ship, M/S
Dolphin. Our luggage had already arrived.
- our ship,
my cabin, another view, yet another, another, still another, bathroom, another view, shower, view from my window,
First, we went to
the dining area and had our late lunch. I had a thin, clear vegetable
soup, and then a chicken dish with sauce, fish with sauce and sesame
seeds, rice, carrots, aubergine salad (my favorite of the selection),
buns, a date,
honey dew slices, and a cold dessert gelatin of some sort.
to my cabin on the third deck. It has a large lake-view window. I
unpacked a bit and then went to the bar to fill out my journal. I had a
Stella beer. It was advertised as Stella Artois in the menu, but when
they gave it to me, it was Stella Egyptian Lager Beer, and the text was
in Arabic. It was not Stella Artois. It was an average beer.
use the bathroom, there is one rule, no toilet paper in the toilet, at
all. It must go into the rubbish bin. Reminds me of Guaymas, Mexico.
The rooms are air conditioned, but on the sunny side, it struggles. The
refrigerator is very moldy inside and possibly doesn't work (I didn't
it open long enough to find out). There is a safe in the cabin, but
somehow mine locked up before I got to use it. There is WiFi, but you
have to pay for it. It is expensive, but you don't use all the minutes
At 4:30 we met in the lobby, and walked to a felucca
next our cruise ship. We boarded it and sailed upstream a mile or so to
the Old Cataract
Hotel (their website,
Cataract refers to the First
Cataract of the
Nile (Wikipedia entry),
not eye disease. This is a very fancy hotel. Agatha Christie
wrote one of her books here. Rooms used to be $1800 per night a few
years ago, but because the tourism industry is so desperate, rooms are
as cheap as $150 per night (I advise a room in the old building, not
the new budget wing). We sat on the terrace and watched the sun go
down. I had a
gin and tonic and a couple of the others followed suit.
- our felucca,
on board, pushing off, our ship, rudder (no outboard), sail, another view, yet another, and another, looking forward, another felucca, captain, another boat, another view, structures on
Elephantine Island, Common
Moorhen, Little Egret
gray bird, Nilometer
wall, more of
the wall, heiroglyphs
on wall, docking,
- Old Cataract
hallway, hall to bar, hotel close-up, patio lounge, moon, another view, fountain garden in
front of hotel,
At about 6:45 we caught a couple of cabs back to our cruise ship. I
took a quick shower and changed shirts.
7:30 we met in the dining room. We are all at one table and that is our
table for the rest of the cruise. There were many other passengers
belonging to different tour groups. I had cream of asparagus (?) soup,
fried fish (good), beef(?) and gravy, mashed potatoes, mixed vegetables
(carrots and peas), aubergine salad, ripe tomato and cucumber salad,
bread, and Obelisk red wine for drink. I didn't have dessert. We had a
lot of interesting conversations.
I went back to my room and did my evening ablutions. I filled out my
journal, and backed up my camera. I went to bed by 9:30.
17 September 2016,
got up at 6:30, brushed my teeth, and took a quick shower. I went down
to breakfast before seven and I waited till they opened. I had a
two-egg omelet with onions and chilies, plus bread, croissant, slice of
liverwurst, cheese, cucumber, corn flakes, and instant(?) coffee. I
haven't seen anyone in my group.
- morning view
from my room, landing
on my deck, Mucha
one, close-up, sun deck, another view, passageway, view of main deck, ship plan, schedule,
room at breakfast, another
from my room,
I finished my breakfast and
went to my cabin. By eight I still had not seen my group. I filled out
my journal and did some typing.
At nine we got on the bus for
a shopping excursion. We first went to an Egyptian clothing shop which
sold shirts, pants, dresses, robes, Egyptian cotton sheets, etc. I sat
in a chair close to several fans and had a nice little nap. We then
went to an essence shop where they gave a demonstration about essences,
essential oils, etc. It was interesting. They demonstrated sandalwood
oil by giving me a back massage.
After that we went back to
the boat. My room had been cleaned. I filled out my journal for a few
minutes and then went to the bar and ordered a Stella beer at noon, and
watched the feluccas sail by. From what I understand there is no longer
a Nile cruise that traverses the length of the Nile in Egypt. This is
for security reasons. Apparently there is a segment with a high
population of Islamist supporters and there was some anti-tourist
violence in the late 1990's. There has been no violence for many years.
decoration (different every day),
We went to lunch at one. I had cream of onion soup, fried fish,
scalloped potatoes, zucchini casserole, beef stew, bread, ripe tomato,
aubergine salad, green olives, jelly (jello), Tropical-what-is-it
(bananas and apricot nectar), and nothing to drink.
I went to my room at 1:30 and had my after-lunch contemplation time.
cruise boat cast off around 1:30. I went up to the Sun Deck and sat
canopy about 3:00. There was a nice strong breeze, but it was very hot
air, much like a hair dryer. I watched as we passed the riverbank
scenery, we were heading north, down river. The riverbank was lined
either by reeds or date palms. Several hundred meters inland began the
desert without any vegetation whatsoever.
By 4:00 a tea was
set up. I had tea and some little cake. By then the others had come up
to sit together. All but Kerry, there seems to be a stomach ailment
going around our group.
At about 5:00, our boat tied up at Kom
Ombo to see the Kom
Ombo Temple (Wikipedia entry).
We left the boat and Hoda led us around telling us about
the significance of the temple. The first temple was largely focused on
shared by devotees of two gods, Horus
the Elder and Tasenetnofret.
The second area was dedicated to the crocodile god, Sobek,
and, at a nearby museum, we saw crocodile mummies. There were more
tourists at this temple complex because many river cruise ships had
tied up here.
Kom Ombo, view of temple
from boat, guidebook,
of Kom Ombo temple
complex, top of
temple gate, carved
lion, captives, large sunk reliefs, Horus, heiroglyphs, medicines, passageway, stone close-up
view, Jenny in
bas relief, Sobek and Hathor, painted ceiling, ornate columns, Hathor, Hathor and Horus, Thoth and Horus, Hathor and Horus, ornate columns, bas relief, ornate wall, ancient cedar dovetail lock, front of
for Crocodile (Sobek)
view, sign, wrapped mummies, crocodile statue,
We re-boarded our ship about dark. I took a
shower and filled out my journal while listening to a little Allman
Brothers on my computer.
At 7:30 I joined the others in the
dining room. I had roasted chicken, fish, red rice, dolma, bread,
sauce, and a series of Egyptian pastry desserts like baklava. I had
Obelisk red wine for drink. And, as usual, we talked for a long time.
I went back to my room at 8:30. I did my evening ablutions and went to
bed about 9:00. We get up early tomorrow.
18 September 2016, Sunday
got up at six, I also had a wake-up call at six. I dressed and brushed
my teeth. I got ready for our shore excursion. We are docked at Edfu (Wikipedia entry).
6:30 we left the boat and got on three horse-and-buggies. I was with
David and Jenny, but I sat with the driver. We rode about ten minutes
till we got to Edfu
Temple (Wikipedia entry).
This temple was completed during the
Ptolemaic dynasty but may have begun earlier. Hoda took us around
different parts of the temple explaining the story behind it and the
significance of the images. There was still paint preserved in the
upper parts of interior walls. The temple celebrated the conquest
the warrior god, by
the falcon god, Horus.
waiting, Dave and Jenny,
of ride, through
of temple, another
of Edfu Temple,
view, paint on
temple gate, ornate
columns, Hoda at
temple entrance, ornate
inner and outer walls, scratched-out
faces, corner, another corner, sunk reliefs, Thoth, close corners, unusual pose, chamber, carvings, column room, another view, another chamber, another view, Horus statue, Dave and Jenny, closer view, front of temple, cross-bedded
cross-beds, side temple,
We rode out
buggy back to the boat by 8:30, and immediately had breakfast. I had
scrambled eggs, potato casserole, foule (I used plenty of hot sauce on
all three), bread, and instant coffee.
After breakfast, I went
to my room and took a shower. My room hadn't been cleaned yet, so I
went to the Sun Deck, sat under the canopy, and filled out my journal.
There was a pleasant breeze, and it was very relaxing.
At about noon, we passed through a set of locks. Boatmen tried to sell
us souvenirs as we went through.
view, exiting, salesmen, more salesmen, close fit, lock gates,
1:30 I went down to lunch. I had fried fish, potato casserole, cooked
carrots, ripe olives, sour cream, bread, gelatin-type desserts, and
nothing to drink.
I went back to my room at 2:30 to type out
my journal. It is hot on the Sun Deck. After awhile I did go up to the
Sun Deck and there was a nice breeze. We tied up at Luxor (Wikipedia entry)
at 4:30. It is on the east bank of the Nile.
At five we exited the boat and walked around Luxor a bit. There is a Luxor temple complex
here and we walked around it, but didn't go in. I was only gone 30
minutes and then returned to the boat.
7:30 we went to dinner. I had chicken rosemary, potatoes, carrots and
peas, potato and pea salad, roasted aubergine and pepper salad, bread,
and Obelisk red wine for drink. I had "Goodbye" cake for dessert.
8:30 we went to the bar/lounge. A beautiful belly dancer did two dance
routines and then a whirling dervish did two dance routines. It was all
very entertaining and the musicians were good as well.
nine, I paid my room charges. I went to my cabin and packed. I brushed
my teeth, took my pills, and then filled out my journal. I went to bed
at 10:15. Tomorrow is an early day.
19 September 2016, Monday
got up a little before my wake-up call at 5:30. I brushed my teeth, and
took a shower. I went down to breakfast at 5:45 and had an omelet with
everything, bread, cereal with powdered milk, and instant coffee.
breakfast, I carried my things to our bus and we set off to the
west bank to see the Valley of the Queens and the Valley of the Kings.
In the Valley of
the Queens (Wikipedia entry),
we went to the Hotshepsut
temple (Wikipedia entry).
It is called the Al-Deir Al-Bahari Temple. We got
there early to avoid the heat, but it was plenty hot even in the early
morning. We saw many beautiful bas
reliefs, some with the original
paint, three thousand years old. Photos were allowed here, so I took
of Hotshepsut temple
and cliff strata,
ride to temple, closer view of strata,
another, sign about long-gone
trees (frankincense and myrrh), sphinx,
carvings on block, another
reliefs with Thoth, painted
Amun, painted Anubis,
for temple, row
of statues (Hotshepsut with false beard), another view, closer view, Black-winged Kite (Elanus caeruleus), columns, statues in niches, painted entrance,
Horus and bearded
in painted niche, precipitous cliff,
Then we took the bus a short distance to the Valley of the Kings
There are many tombs (64) here and for a general ticket, one
can pick three tombs. Most of us went to the tombs of Ramses IV
Tuthmosis tomb had more artistic line drawings of the various
Books of the Dead. It was very hot. I also purchased a ticket to see
tomb (Wikipedia entry),
which was much smaller than I thought. Photos were
not allowed at the Valley of the Kings. These tombs have many colored
paintings, some on plaster and some directly onto the bas reliefs.
got back onto the bus and went to one of many alabaster carving shops
where they demonstrate how they chipped away at the stone and how they
used bow drills to drill voids into the stone vases. However, this is
how they did it two hundred years ago. This is a show for tourists and
this is not how they do it now despite what they tell you. While we
were in the shops, we were served drinks, I had unsweetened hot tea.
Hoda had ordered us falafel sandwiches and we had those for lunch.
for cutting stone, close up,
close up, another view, inside the shop, another view,
- Colossi of
Memnon (Amenhotep III), another
hopped back onto the bus and went to our new hotel in Luxor, the Eatabe
Luxor Hotel (their website), very
close to the Nile. I think that this is the nicest
hotel we've stayed at on this tour. It has free WiFi in the lobby, and
there are a series of shops, restaurants, cafes, bar, swimming pool,
etc. I was in my room by 1:30 and I took a shower. I went down to the
bar and had a Sakara beer while I filled out my journal. The roasted
peanuts were good too.
view, yet another,
bar, snack bar, desk and hallway, restaurant, another view, swimming pool, patio, my room, another view, yet another, another, still another, hot
water pot, bathroom, another view, shower, view from balcony,
I went back to my room to get my new
laptop in order to send out emails. However, I could not get it
started. I plugged it in to the outlet to recharge it for a couple of
hours and it still would not start. I will give it another couple of
hours to recharge before I give up on it altogether. It will be
unfortunate, because I have typed out a lot of my journal on it. All of
that will be lost. I assume that there were power surges on the river
At six we met in the lobby and walked to the Jamboree
Restaurant. It was on the second floor overlooking local activity in
the market area. Most of us had a tagen,
I had a chicken tagen (like a
chicken stew with vegetables), rice with orzo, and a Sprite.
the way back, I stopped at an ATM and was finally able to get some
cash. I had tried at two other ATMs today and they would not allow the
I got back to my room by 8:30. I tried to start
my computer again to no avail. I filled out my journal, brushed my
teeth, and took my pills. I went to bed by nine.
20 September 2016,
woke up at six, brushed my teeth, and got ready for the day. I tested
my computer and it still did not work, so I packed it away. I will take
it home and dissect it to see what is wrong. I went down to breakfast
at 6:30 and had omelet with everything, toast, honey, kofta, and lots
We met in the lobby at 7:30 and loaded onto our
bus. We drove a short distance to Karnak
Temple (Wikipedia entry),
the largest temple
complex in Egypt. It was a temple dedicated to Amon Ra and was
during the reigns of many pharaohs. Photography was allowed so I took
lots of photographs.
sign for Karnak Temple,
temple complex, zoned-feldspar porphyry,
Karnak, small obelisk,
ram-headed sphinxes, another
of temple, courtyard,
and columns, white sphinx,
outer wall, statue and sunken
statues and passageway,
column, Colossus of Ramses II
(and one of his daughters), row
of columns, statues
and gate, entrance
to Great Hypostyle Hall, opposite
hall and obelisk, another
view, paint on
in hall, another
reliefs of Amun, slotted
god, doorway, warrior scenes on
outside wall, more
Thutmose II smiting
and columns, obelisk,
two statues, closer view, chamber, passageway and
at Sacred Lake, closer view, closer view of sign, three obelisks,
view, columns in
the hall, ram
We got back onto the bus and went to ACE
(Animal Care in Egypt, their webite),
a foundation to take care of animals in Luxor.
They provide veterinarian care and also have an educational component.
headed back to the hotel. On the way back we picked up some fruit and
falafel sandwiches. Back in my room I had a very good yellow mango (I
ate skin and all), three small bananas, and a falafel sandwich. I drank
my bottled water (I had put tea bags in it earlier). After lunch, I
took a nice refreshing shower. I had time to kill, so I got my computer
out, and, low and behold, it started! I took it to the bar lounge,
ordered a Sakara beer and sent out a rash of emails while it still
W met at six and took a van to a restaurant that
specialized in pizzas and a pizza-like dinners. We all had something
called a savory pie, like a pizza with a pastry cover. I had one with
anchovies, ripe olives, and chili peppers.
We returned to the
hotel. I paid my room charges and packed. Tomorrow we get up vey early.
I went to bed at 8:15 after doing my evening ablutions and filling out
21 September 2016,
got up at 3:50, my wake-up knock on the door was at 4:00. I took a
shower and brushed my teeth. I finished packing and went down to the
lobby by 4:15. They had bag breakfast, but I decided not to take mine.
I did have a cup of coffee.
We loaded onto the bus at 4:30 and
drove to the Luxor airport. The others ate their breakfast in the gate
area. We boarded our flight to Cairo at six.
We landed in
Cairo at seven. It's about 30 degrees C this early, it will get much
hotter. We loaded onto another bus. We went to the bazaar area. We
first walked to the Al-Azhar
Mosque (Wikipedia entry)
that was over a thousand years old. We went
through some narrow streets of the bazaar to a coffee and tea shop. I
had Egyptian tea with mint. After our refreshments, we walked through
many of the narrow alleys and streets including the Khan al Khalili
bazaar (Wikipedia entry).
Linda bought a tiny belly
dancing outfit for her young granddaughter. We saw jewelry, fabric,
herbs, and other shops.
of Al-Azhar Mosque,
souvenirs, minaret, another view, outer structure of mosque
complex, have to
cover up, passageway
to courtyard, courtyard,
inside the mosque,
in El Fishawy
alley, another view, cafe, tea, group photo,
yet another, stone gate at Khan
view, mashrabiyya screens
for women's quarters, madrassas
on Bein al-Qasreen, another
view of tower, another
view of street, Sabil-Kuttab fountain
of Abdel Katkhuda, closer
view, minaret of
Mosque of al_Hakim, street
We got back onto the bus and went to
our hotel, the Barcelo
Pyramid Cairo, the same hotel we stayed at
before. I went to my room and noticed that the door had been propped
open. I thought that was odd. I went in and it was a spacious suite. I
went into the bathroom and it was trashed, water everywhere and muddy
boot prints. I had passed a painter down the hall. He was using my room
for his private lounge and bathroom. And he obviously had a key. I went
back to the desk and got another room, smaller, but clean.
I took a cold-water shower, there was no warm water, but I got used to
noon a group of us met in the Italian café in the hotel. Three of us
shared a four cheese pizza and a vegetarian pizza. It was good and
filling. After that, I felt like taking a nap. I'll need it later.
After a bit, I used the computer in the business office to check-in for
my flights tomorrow. I cannot send emails from that computer however.
six, we met in the lobby. We loaded onto the van and drove for about an
hour to Felfela Restaurant. I was still full from lunch, so I just
ordered grilled vegetables and a Sakara beer. Kerry was our spokesman
and she gave a very nice series of comments about how well Hoda had
taken care of us. We gave her our tips in an envelope. I had given her
an additional tip previously as well.
We then returned by van,
arriving at the hotel about 9:30. I brushed my teeth, took my pills,
and filled out my journal. I also packed. Tomorrow is a very early day
22 September 2016,
got up at 3:00, brushed my teeth, and took a shower. I was down in the
lobby with my pack by 3:15. My breakfast bag was supposed to be ready
for me, but it wasn't there.
The driver picked me up around
3:30. At the airport I went through security, got my boarding passes,
went through passport control, and then another line of security before
I got to my gate area by about 4:50. I filled out my journal and typed
I boarded the Air France flight to Paris. A lady
wearing the full hijab
with gloves and a little slit to see from, sat
her 2-year old boy next to me and she and her other baby sat on the
other side of the boy. The boy immediately started screaming and
kicking and this lasted the entire flight of four or five hours. He
stood in his seat, kicked me, grabbed my clothes, punched my arms,
threw food on me and the floor and it never ceased. The mother did
nothing to calm or comfort him. The fellow who sat in front of me
reclined his seat all the way back, even during lunch. I asked him to
raise it during lunch, but it was a point of honor to him, and he kept
We finally landed in Paris, and I went through
another round of security. I got to my gate area and ordered a
Starbucks coffee. I had WiFi and sent a quick email out about where I
was. I walked in the gate area as much as I could because I have
another long flight.
I boarded my next plane, an Air France to
Atlanta. We were served two meals, a breakfast, and later, a pizza
dinner. I watched a few movies not worth mentioning and slept a few
minutes here and there. We landed in Atlanta in the afternoon and I
went through passport control and then through a very slow security
area. I walked to my next terminal and gate area. This airport has free
WiFi throughout so I took advantage of it and sent out some e-mails. I
also filled out my journal.
My flight to Lexington took off at
about 9:30 pm and I arrived in Lexington about 11:00. Anne was waiting
me and drove me home telling about news and the family. I arrived at
home and Mary was doing homework. Even my dog missed me. This was one
long day. I had spent about 26 hours traveling. It was good to be home.
And I was glad that the time I had spent to learn some Egyptian Arabic
was well worth it.