As we left the pyramid and went around the backside we ran into what we would soon come to realize is the ubiquitous line of Camel drivers, “guides”, souvenir sellers, beggars and various other people who want to take your money who hang out at every Egyptian tourist site. You learn that you just have to make your way through them saying “No Thanks”every ten seconds and refusing to make eye contact or engage in conversation. Unfortunately at out first encounter, innocent that I was I ended up asking a camel driver if I could take his picture. Somehow I was the one who ended up on the back of the camel which was a terrifying experience. Camels are dirty, freaking tall, and they make noises like they are possessed. Don’t ask how much money Jim had to pay to get me down. But anyway it made for a great picture and hilarious video which will eventually be linked here.
We spent a coupe more hours exploring the Mastaba tombs of Mehu, Meruka, Idut, Kagini, and Ti. Of course we weren’t allowed to take pictures of any of them, but we began to learn about egyptian art and funerary practices from the remaining wall carvings. As we were wandering between the tombs a sandstorm started blowing up and so we were running from tomb to tomb to avoid the weather. I was very glad I had worn a headscarf like the Egyptian women because it protected me from the sand very well. Finally they put us back on the bus and drove us over to the nearby Pyramid of Teti which looks like a big pile of rubble on the outside but which we were able to go down into and saw our first sarcophagus. Then we had to hike our way back to the bus through the sandstorm. As we were coming over the hill I managed to catch this picture of my cute husband in a very Indiana Jones moment.
took us an hour to get through customs and get our luggage and meet up
with our guide Islam Falgoul, who is a very handsome, well spoken
Our hotel is in Giza, on the outskirts of Cairo and so we got to spend
45 minutes driving across Cairo at night I’m a fascinating trip. The
first thing we noticed was the horns. Customized horns are very common
in Cairo. I heard horns playing Charge, The Conga, Dixie and many
others. Of course since traffic laws are something optional these
horns get a lot of use and so it is a wonderful cacaophony of song
fragments following us down the highway.
The second thing we noticed about Cairo is that it is incredibly
varied. The area near the airport in the modern and wealthy part of
town and it looks like any modern city in America. It is well lit,
lots of steel and glass and perfect highways with beatiful paintings
of Egyptiam motifs along the edges. Then we passed through the Old
Moslem quarter which looks very much like a barely modernized medieval
city. The buildings, though ancient, are in good repair. The lighting
is more atmosphereic but still present and the roads are still
perfect. Then as we came to Giza we moved into the poor area of town.
It was like we turned a corner and were suddenly in a third world
(think post-apocolyptic) county. There was almost no lighting. Every
building looked at least half fallen down. The streets were fairly
smooth but all their curbs were broken and something that was either a
canal or open sewer runs down the center between the opposing traffic
The brightest thing about Cairo by night is the towers of the mosques.
They light up the minarets with multicolored neon at night so they are
the tallest and brightest things in the whole city. It is bizarrely
reminescent of Vegas.
And finally we can see the Nile. As we cross the bridge over the Nile
we notice that many Egyptians have parked in the outermost lanes of
the bridge and brought their lawn furniture and picnic dinners. It is
and odd and touching glimpse into Egyptian social life.
Our hotel is lovely. Giza becomes nicer the closer you get to the
Pyramids. We are in a Bungalow and so it is like having our own
private little house with an adorable patio with outside eating area
complete with an overhanging tree. Interestingly enough the weather is
almost exactly like Austin. It was definately cool enough tonight for
a sweater and light jacket. The flowers planted all around the hotel
are also almost exactly the same as Austin. There are zinnias, African
daisies, vincas, and that lovely deep purple verbena which is native
Anyway, have to try and sleep now because we start at 8:00 tomorrow
for Saccara and the Pyramids there and then come back to Giza in the
afternoon for the culmination of Pyramid building.
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We are sitting in the Le Pain Quotidien outside the Victoria and
Albert Museum this morning having the most delicious hot chocolate and
waiting for it to open.
The flight to London was very nice. I have decided that I adore
British Air. The food and wine on the flight were fantatic, even the
coffee was good. The stewards were very pleasant and attentive and I
was very happy.
We got in at about 8:00 and it took us a couple of hours to find our
bus to Cranford where our hotel was located. We had hoped to go and
see Hampton Court yesterday, but I should have remebered how
incapabable we are the first day after the flight. We tried to get a
bus ticket but all the local ticket stops were out so we ended up
walking a few miles into Hounslow the nearest town with a Metro stop.
Sadly the shopkeepers didn't bother to tell us that we could buy a
ticket on the bus.
Needless to say after having a long walk in the sunny but chilly day,
jet-lagged as we were, de d'ère pretty warn out when we finally made
it to the station. We pretty much went back to the hotel around 4:00,
had some dinner and then read a bit and went to sleep.
Today is much better though. We woke up early and are full of energy.
We went to the tube station in Hounslow and there was a lovely open
air market that we had fun exploring. Looking forward to the museums
and the Globe.
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Well,l we had a couple of hours in Dallas before the big flight to
London. We went to a place in the airport that was supposed to be an
Irish Pub. The good news was that they had Strongbow cider, the bad
news is that the food was very mediocre in spite of the amazing
pictures. However the manager was very attentive and when they brought
my plate back almost untouched, he came out and apologized and took it
off our bill.
I had a lot of fun watching the group of gentlemen at the next table
who I think were Englishmen because they had that look and they were
having way too much fun playing with our money. They managed to pay
almost their entire bill in change. Turns out they are on our plane so
I may be correct.
Off to the boarding. See you tommorrow from jolly old England.
Sent from Jen's iPhone