TopDeck Pryamids and Beaches Tour Day 1 - Cairo - Sunday, Oct. 26
Our first day as a group touring together was packed full and fun. Our first stop was to the Egyption Museam in Cairo. It was huge and there were so many things to see that it was a good thing we had a guide that took us around to the most important artifacts and explained the ancient stories that went along with everything. Besides the main part of the museam there are also other rooms, like King Tut's treasures and the mummy rooms. So cool! In the King Tut room you see all the sarcofoges (sp?) boxes that once contained his mummy and the famous golden mask that everyone has always seen in pictures, among tons of other golden things and jewelry. The mummy room (which costs extra - as much of the things on this trip have) was awesome. There were 25 mummys between the 2 rooms. It is amazing how well preserved some of them are. They even have hair and finger nails. It was pretty freaky too! There was an animal mummy room too, which was pretty interesting and had tons of different animals wrapped up. The crocodiles where huge!!!
Next stop was the pyramids of Giza. I had always imagined the pyramids to be way out in the middle of the desert but they are literally on the edge of Cairo right in peoples back yards. We spent some time walking around the pyramids and paid extra to go in pyramid 2. They advised people before in that had asthma or were closterphobic to not go in but do I listen?? No! Im at the pyramids and Im gonna go in (luckily I had my inhaler!) There really wasnt much to see inside though. Just a long small tunnel that you had to crouch through that eventually opened up into a big tomb that had nothing in it but the outermost box that a mummy used to be in. Outside the pyramids are all these bedwin guys on camels that try to get you to take pictures of them for money. We kept saying no, no, no but this guy chased us down with his camel so I finally took a picture with him, gave him and american dollar and ran away before he could get back on the camel and hunt us down again.
After the pyramids we went to the Sphinx. It is WAY smalled than I imagined, but still very cool. We didnt spend much time there since all there is to do is walk around, take some pictures and get hasseled by people trying to sell you junk. On the way back to the hotel we stopped at a papyrus shop where they showed us how the papyrus paper was made and we were able to buy something if we wanted. I got a bookmark with my name written in hyrogliphics for about $1 American.
That night we boarded an overnight train to bring us to Aswan. The train is scheduled to take 12 hours, which we soon learned meant 17. The train could have been a lot worse but it definately left a lot to be desired. No one drank or ate anything the whole time in fear of having to use the bathrooms (I will let you use your imaginations here - I will spare you the details).
This now brings us to Day 2 - Aswan - Monday, Oct. 27
We finally arrived at our hotel around 4:30 the next afternoon (only about 5 hours late). We had about half hour to make ourselves presentable and then we boarded a boat that brought us over to a Nubian village where we were having dinner that night. Once we arrived on shore we took camels to the village. By this point it was so dark and the stars were amazing. I was smiling the whole time I was on the camel. The Nile to my left, riding a camel through the deap sandy desert with shooting stars flying all over! It was awesome. Once we got to the village the Nubain people made us a traditional dinner, which consisted of pita bread, soup, chicken and some vegetable dish. We all ate around this little table on benches. After dinner they brought us into the main room of the house where there were crocodiles of all different ages. The biggest one was kept in a pit and the others in smaller tanks but we got to hold the middle sized one and one of the villagers kept sneaking up on us with the babies and scaring everyone. We stayed there til pretty late and they played music and we all danced and had a great time.
Day 3 - Aswan - Tuesday, Oct. 28
For our last day in Aswan we had to wake up early since once again our day was jam packed. We started the day by going to the two temples at Abu Simbel. This is where Ramses II built temples for himself and his favorite wife (Queen Nefertiti) - see I pay attention sometimes! The temples were amazing with carvings covering the walls and statues everywhere.
The temples had actually been moved when the High Dam was built to save them from being destroyed by the lake that was formed as a result of the dam. It is the largest man made lake in the world (I cant remember the name though... but hey, I got the important facts!)
Later that afternoon we boarded the falucca (kind of like a sailboat) that we would be on for the next 2 days and nights. The first night sailed for awhile up the Nile towards Luxor and then anchored near the shore (our bathroom) for the night. The crew made us all of our meals which mostly consisted of pita bread, soup and a couple misc. dishes. The first night was fun, everyone hung out between the 2 boats, drank some beers and had a lot of fun. A couple people went overboard trying to walk down the plank to the shore (no Kathleen or I was not one of them). We listened to music through Ipod speakers and "Africa - by Toto" became adopted as the theme of the trip. This was played pretty much repeatedly over the next couple days.
Day 4 - somewhere on the Nile - Wednesday, Oct. 29.
Originally we were supposed to sail the whole day to reach Luxor but unfortunately the wind was very strong in the wrong direction so it would have been impossible for us to make it. Instead we anchored by shore and hung out on the beach the whole day, playing games, napping, and drinking (the crew actually went on a beer run with one of the boats to the other side of the river at one point) It was a fun day and and everyone ended up very sun burnt. Ouch! That night we had a bonfire on the beach and the crew brought out African drums and we all sang and danced until it was time for bed.
The next morning we sailed across the river where we were picked up by a bus to bring us the rest of the way to Luxor. We were all disappointed that we didnt get to do much sailing but it was a lot of fun on the boat anyways. I think "Africa" was permanently stuck in everyones head by this point.
More on Luxor in the next entry!