African Adventure #2

Luxor Travel Blog

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Salaam Everyone,
Well, I survived my first week in Egypt. Battle wounds thus far include stomach aches and multiple bathroom visits from acclimating to the food, climate, and lack of sleep and 2 cuts on the bottom of my foot from stepping on thorns while exiting our felucca to use the "restroom" (aka a bush with some TP). They went through my flip flop and into my foot....Thank God there is a nurse in my travel group because she did 2 minor tweezer removals of the thorns from my foot as I drank some local Egyptian beer so as to not think about the pain. I love having battle wound stories from my trips. As I recall last summer it was all the bruises and scrapes from canyoneering, river rafting, and ziplining in Costa Rica. What great memories!!!
My two week Egyptian adventure began in Cairo. The greater Cairo/Giza area has a population of 20 million, so you can definitely get lost in the maze of streets there. Visits included The Egyptian Museum, which along with housing King Tut's amazingly beautiful gold mask, also contains more Egyptian artifacts than anyone could ever imagine seeing in one location. I also went to Giza to see the 3 pyramids located there along with the Sphinx. (Yes Chris, I tried to get some HDR of these) I entered one of the tombs, which is not quite as astonishing as their sheer magnitude of size from outside. Learning about the pyramids and the mummification process from our guide was quite interesting, and seeing the sphinx was pretty damn amazing too. It's going to be hard to top that day.
After leaving Cairo, we took a 12 hour overnight train to Aswan, which is south of Cairo on the Nile River. Here we took a 3 hour bus trip to see two temples at Abu Simbel, which were built for Ramses II and Hathor and not discovered until the early 1800s. It's so hard to describe in words how absolutely spectacular all of these sites are, which is why I can't wait for all of you to see my photographs once I return. The new 10 megapixel Canon XTi camera is definitely getting lots of use here. After leaving Aswan, the 13 of us (8 Australians, 1 New Zealander, 2 Germans, and myself) sailed on the Nile for two days, living, eating, and drinking together on a small felucca. The relaxation was nice after running around for 4-5 days straight. I got a lot of reading, napping, and tanning in while on the felucca. Sleeping under the stars on the Nile and singing/dancing/drinking with the local guides was unforgettable, as well as going to the bathroom in a dirt hole. Every year I am more and more impressed with my Intrepid Travel excursions.
Today I arrived in Luxor and visited the Temples at Karnak, the largest group of temples in Egypt and also two of the few remaining standing obelisks. Tomorrow I am getting up early to go for a sunrise Hot Air Balloon Ride over Luxor. OMG I will probably scream like a little girl and have sweaty palms because of the heights, but you only live once, right?! You have to conquer the fears because it's the only way they disappear. Then we will be off to the Valley of the Kings, King Tut's tomb, and other local hot spots for a West Nile Tour of Luxor. Other upcoming visits include: Alexandria (catacombs), the Siwa Oasis and the White Desert. Then I will be off to teach in Kenya next Sunday. I will try and write once a week and please pass these emails along to anyone else who you think might appreciate them. Also, please don't be offended if I don't respond to all of your emails. My current schedule only allows for limited internet visits. Until next week.....
Kelly :-)
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photo by: LadyMaja