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January 9, 2010 / TildeWill

Egypt: Executive Sumary

Day 0

Got in around dinner time, checked in to the Juliana Hotel (a hostel) and got some fod at a nearby Lebanese place. Walked along the Nile a bit, then crashed out around 11:30pm missing all the NYE celebrations outside.

Day 1

Somewhat recovered from sleep deprivation, we got up super early to go to the camel market. For clarity, this is where one would go to buy a camel or six. This was the best adventure to start off the trip. For starters, we got in a cab to Imbaba, just outside the city. Then from Imbaba, we took a microbus for E£5 (roughly a buck). The bus had eight Egyptian guys in it, none of whom spoke a lick of English. At several points I was unsure we were heading in the direction we wanted, until we passed a truck with three camel heads sticking out of the back.

Camels go for about $1,000, and these guys have been herded from all corners of the desert. I was there to trade Lara away, Lara was there because she thought it would be interesting. My initial estimate had me trading Lara for fifty camels, then Facebook told her she was worth 500 camels, and her dad insisted I get 600. Later I came to find out she was worth more than 1million camels*. They did not have 1 million camels at the market. They “hobble” the camels by tying up one leg, this is done to kep them from running away, but it doesn’t really accomplish the job. You’ve got ten camels out of the pen you want to sell, you line them up, and start showing of number one, then two gets bored and breaks formation, three more go ten feet in the other direction, and next thing you know you’ve got a hobbling mess. So the men and boys grab their sticks/clubs and beat the camels back in to a line. You have to be super alert because you could get run over (by car or camel) spit on, or kicked if you’re not careful. We saw one guy take a camel foot square in the chest, knocked on his ass, then get up and carry on with his business.

Then we got back in a microbus, and manged to get back to Cairo without a hitch, increasing our travel-savvy confidence level greatly. We had the cab drop us off at the Cairo Museum which houses all kinds of ancient Egyptian artifacts, including a fistful of mummies and the remainder of the Tutankhamen exhibit that we didn’t see here in San Francisco.

Day 2

Horses! Pyramids! Tea & Shisha! Sphinx! Koshari! We rented the horses and a guide from F.B. Stables and I’d highly recommend them to any English speaking person. Kat invited us to the roof top to take in the view of the pyramids and to smoke shisha aka. hookah or water pipe (tobacco only please). She also pointed us at a Koshari place up the road. Koshari is a pasta, bean, salsa, onion mix that’s really filling, and pretty tasty.

Day 3

Cairo Tower

More sleeping.

Camel Ride at night

Day 4

Shisha @ Fishawy’s in Khan al Khalili + Shopping

Day 5

Dashur, Memphis Museum, Step Pyramid, Red Pyramid (Sakara), Bent Pyramid (kinda).

Day 6

Slept in, breakfast/lunch at Aribica. Shisha and tea/cheese wave @ Tornado’s, Dinner on Maxim by Marriott with belly dancing.

Day 7

Lara got some mummy tummy – I’m guessing it was all the chopped ice in her “Strawberry Granite” at Tornado’s the night before. After a lunch at Pizza Hut (it’s the same as here in the US, except no pork peperoni), I went back to Khan el Khalili and got some more shopping in. I also picked up some medicine for Lara and replaced her SD card. In the afternoon she was feeling better so we went back to the cheap shisha place, then finished up with a pigeon dinner at a nearby restaurant.

Day 8

Get on the plane. Wait for plane to take off. Wait for other people who had a late connecting flight. Miss my connection to JFK in New York. Get hotel voucher to stay in Frankfurt, Germany. Have a very expensive beer in the red light district. Have a normal glass of rose wine, not in the red light district.

Day 9

Fly straight from Frankfurt to San Francisco. Sorry New York, better luck next time.

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