Happy Thanksgiving

Cairo Travel Blog

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Happy Thanksgiving! What an unusual Thanksgiving Day. We arrived in Port Said early this morning, and met our group at 7AM for the bus ride to Cairo. There were 3 busloads in our group, and we traveled in a convoy with armed guards in front and in back of the convoy. The drive to Cairo took a couple of hours. I hate to say it, but Cairo is probably the dirtiest city we've ever seen. There is rubble and trash everywhere! All the buildings are unfinished, but people are living in them anyway. We found out later that, when they finish the buildings, they must begin to pay taxes, so they just never finish them. As the sons marry and have families, they add another floor (they are apartment buildings) for that family, but just never finish the buildings. Of course, all this area is a huge desert, so it's very dry. We stopped to use the restrooms, and I came out without drying my hands, but, in a matter of minutes, they were completely dry. Our first stop was at Sakkara to see Zofer's pyramid. Next to that was Titi's tomb, which we went inside. It was a real steep climb down. Some people were turning around and coming back out before getting all the way in. We continued in, and it was well worth it. There were lots of hieroglyphics, burial chambers, etc. Nothing like I had imagined it would be.

Before leaving the ship this morning, the ship was broadcasting health advisories on TV. They advised the usual things: don't drink the water or even use it to brush your teeth, make sure whatever you eat is fully cooked and still hot when you eat it, no salads, etc. We had lunch on a boat that was floating on the Nile River. A beautiful place. The sign outside said “The 1st Best Restaurant in Cairo”. We were served a buffet, and most of it was salads. A lot of us decided to just take a chance and go ahead and eat whatever we wanted. The food was great – all Egyptian food. Wonderful humus, Egyptian bread, really different salads, the best grilled chicken. And, thankfully, none of us got sick.

Today was the beginning of a 5-day holiday for the people here (Muslims). This is the holiday (called Hadj) when they make their pilgrimage to Mecca, so the kids had no school, the people were off work, and they were all on the streets, many of then with their animals to be sacrificed. Lots of sheep, goats, and cows being sold along the streets. Lots of the animals being carried in the backs of trucks. It's a very busy place. I think it's the 2nd largest city in the world. Twenty million people live here.

After lunch, we went to the Egyptian Museum. What an incredible place! We were there for about 3 hours, and didn't even begin to see all that was in there. Original statues, things taken from tombs, a whole lot of things from King Tut's burial place in the Valley of Kings – his mummy cases (there were 3 of them inside one another), his burial mask, gold, jewels, burial beds, thrones. It was incredible. Unfortunately, the day was so long, that we started to tire out and couldn't really appreciate it as much as we ordinarily would have. From there, we went to our dinner cruise on the Nile River. Another really nice restaurant with great food. Again, we just ate what was there and enjoyed it. Again, none of us got sick. When dinner was just about finished, the entertainment began. First came the Whirling Dervish Dancer. That guy spun around constantly for at least 10 or 15 minutes without stopping. While he was whirling, his clothing would flare out, and he'd sort of spin it into patterns. It's too hard to describe, but it was very interesting. After him came the belly dancer. I always wished that I could wiggle my hips and butt like that! When the entertainment was finished, and the boat returned to the starting point, we were ready for bed, but we still had the light show over the pyramids to watch. Some of the people who posted on Cruise Critic said the light show was kind of hokey, but we liked it. Too bad that I left my Pashmina back at the ship, because, when the sun goes down in the desert, it gets really cold. I had a jacket, but I was still freezing. Finally, we got to go to our hotel and bed! We stayed in a really nice hotel, the Le Meridien Pyramids, not too far from the pyramids, and you can actually see them from the hotel pool. So, after our 15-hour day, we collapsed into bed!

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photo by: vulindlela