After flying for what seemed an eternity we finally arrive in Cairo, Egypt. We home left on Friday, Sept.15, from Washington Regan National Airport, waited for 4 hours in JFK, flew a 7 hour flight to Zurich, Switzerland, waited for another 3 hours, and flew on to Cairo. We arrived Saturday night, around 7 PM. We started off with jet lag. I thought that only happened when you returned! Our photos show how tired we were. A little shaky from all that flying and lack of sleep. (I don't sleep when I fly. Too noisy.)
1. Leaving from National Airport in Washington, DC, 2. Cairo, on the evening of our first night, 3. The Nile from our 16th floor suite.
The light outside Cairo airport was dimming and everyone was looking for the Pyramids while landing. We couldn't see anything because we were in a middle row of seats. As we disembark from the plane, the heat and humidity hit me in the face. We walk from the shuttle bus into a long maze of hallways that finally end at the emmigration lines. Our tour greeter meets us and asks for my camcorder. He needs to take it and have it registered with the police. Curious, but no problems. Grabbing our bags we see that we are a part of group who flew on the same flight we did. Bob and Lee from Washington, Harold and Inez from St. Mary's County, MD, and Bob and Freda from New Jersey. I was told that the entire Egypt tour would consist of about 24 people. I guess the rest are already at the hotel. When we follow our leader to the bus, we pass a horde of people waiting outside the main lobby. I guess they are waiting for friends, family, or other tour groups. It looks like a riot. Outside, all we see is sand and cars. We board our small bus to the Ramses Hilton Hotel.
Our driver is either a maniac or very skilled. He seems to avert disaster every few minutes. Nobody follows the lanes, cars drive on the line, and every car honks to get by. All the cars look like the headlights are either off or broken. There are at least 5 rows of cars in lanes meant for 3 cars abreast. Margie flinches from several near collisions.
Our leader (who I never see again after this night) gets our rooms arranged and hands out keys. She says that we start early on Sunday. Wake-up at 6:30 AM! Margie and I decide to eat in the hotel dining room that night although the leader says that there is a very nice ethnic restaurant down the street. We're just to butt tired to walk anywhere. We both have fruit salad and a local beer known as Stella. The beer is quite good for a nation that is mostly moslem. Moslems don't drink alcohol. I wonder who brews the stuff.
Everywhere I see guns; 9mm's, AK-47, Uzis. Men are either in plain clothes or white uniforms. Their shoulder patches say 'Antiquities and Tourism Police. They are in the hotel, outside the hotel, and on every street corner I can see. I'm not sure whether to feel secure or worried that an insurection is about to happen.
Margie and I walk outside for a breath of fresh (?) air. The smog is thick and hangs because of the humidity. The warm air is sticky. We walk out to the hotel drive and immediately we are asked if we want a taxi. Not just from the doorman but from the street taxis. Several calls from several people. Everyone wants to give us a ride to God knows where. We don't even know where we are yet. How are we supposed to know where we want to go yet? Margie and I try to walk around the Hotel. Several more men ask if we need a taxi. One asks if we want a horse carriage ride. We decide to go back in the hotel. We pass several more armed guards.
Inside we change some money into Egyptian Pounds. (LE) the rate is about $.35 per LE1.00. I am thinking that a Pound doesn't go very far. Boy was I wrong. Hotels are expensive but I find out later that an Egyptian Pound goes a long way. This country is still a bargain.
Day 1 - Arrival in Cairo
Day 2 - Tour of the Citadel, Egyptian Museum, Coptic Cairo, and the Bazaar
Day 3 - Visit to Giza Plateau to view the Pyramids, and Sphinx. To Memphis and Saqqara
Day 4 - Flight to Abu Simbel, Aswan city, Felucca ride around Kitchners Island
Day 5 - Tour of Aswan, Cruse down Nile to Kom Ombo and Edfu
Day 6 - Tour of Edfu, Esna Lock and on to Luxor
Day 7 - Tour Valley of the Kings, Temple of Queen Hatshepsut, Colossi of Memnon
Day 8 - Tour Luxor, Karnak Temple and Luxor Temple