Since I last left off we have moved on to the next part of our trip and entered Africa.
For our last day in Greece, the ferry workers were back on the job so we headed off to one of the islands (Aegina) for the day. Once we got on the island we rented bikes and rode around the coast until we came to a nice beach that had chairs and umbrellas on it. Since the resort was closed for the season we helped ourselves to the chairs and layed around on the beach for most of the day. We had to catch a 3 o'clock ferry back though, so we only got to be at the beach for a couple hours. That night we met up with Kathleen's friend Savvas again and went to dinner and played some pool. (I won all but 1 game!)
Our flight to Egypt went well. We were met at the gate by someone that works for our tour and he helped us though the customs part, getting Egyption visas and bringing us to the hotel. We are staying at the Indiana Hotel (hence the title of this blog) which probably has not been updated since the 1950's or 60's at best. We thought that since we booked the hotel through STA Travel we would get at least a decent place... guess not! We have yet to locate anywhere to eat nearby and have been eating 1 meal a day other than the bottle of water and Werthers candys we have. I guess you can say that the African diet has officially begun!
It was intimidating walking around our first day. The adults looked at us funny and then we got swarmed by a bunch of school kids as they were getting out of school. The surrounded us screaming "hello, hello" and kept trying to grab our hands. We made our way through, but I couldnt help but laugh, which probly wasnt the best reaction since I think it encouraged them. Oh well.
After walking around we just came back to the hotel and hung out. We thought about going to the pool, but then we saw it and thought better of it for health & safety reasons. There is one tv station in English and so far it hasn't been too disappointing.
Most of the people at the hotel havent been very helpful to say the least, which was really discouraging at first, but one guy has kinda adopted us and has been really cool about how clueless we are about what to do here. He told us different places we could go until our tour starts on Sunday. Our first night he helped us order pizza since the guy on the phone kept calling me Nadia (Egyption equivalent of Kelly perhaps??) He took pictures of us with him before he left for the day. I dunno... I guess we are famous here (or American).
Yesterday we hired a car for the day to go to Alexandria. The guy (our friend), got us a price quote the night before) but of course since we wasnt working yesterday when we wanted to go, we got ripped off and had to pay 150 Egpytion pounds more (about $30). Either way, it was the best way we could have done it. Alexandria is about 2 and a half hours from here and then he took us to all the sights we wanted to see. We went to the Citadel, walked through little tourist stands, went to 2 catacombs (really cool) and then went to a palace and its surrounding gardens. We also made him stop at a Chili's we saw along the way for our 1 meal of the day - so good! We really want to try some traditional Egyption food but dont want to just go to any place that we find. We want someone that knows what is good and what is safe to eat before we eat something on our own and get sick - so for now I guess we will stick with what we know. I'm sure we will have the opportunity on our tour.
I was reading over the details of the tour the other night and have talked to a few people that just returned from it today, and I am really excited about it! Apparently the whole Nile cruise thing is pretty rugged, but amazing from what I have heard. It says in the trip itinerary (and I quote) "when it comes to bathrooms along the shores of the Nile, there are few at best, so leave your modesty at home". Yeah - this girl is so gonna end up overboard with the crocs! Overall it should be a good time though. There are gonna be a couple long nights on overnight trains and stuff, but other than that it should be pretty sweet. We are thinking about not returning to Cairo with the group and going to the Red Sea directly from Luxor. We have heard nothing but great things about the Red Sea and its snorkeling and diving!!! So that is the plan, tentatively, but we know we don't want to return to Cairo if we don't have to (except to catch our flight). We have a meeting with our tour guide tonight to go over things so we want to talk to him about how we can go about doing this but it shouldn't be a problem.
I love how cheap everything is here though! Its such a relief after being in Europe so long! I bought water today for 50 cents american instead of like $4. Sweet!!! Today we plan on going Down Town (spelled "Dawn Town" on all the signs... haha) and to the street bazzaar. I need to find some sun glasses since mine broke the other day. Wish us luck! Hopefully we wont get too ripped off! I mean seriously, I know we are going to get ripped off, but don't be so baltant about it.
We leave for the tour tomorrow, so sorry if we are MIA for a little while. Im sure in the next entry we will have tons of exciting things to tell you about!