A Travellerspoint blog

March 2018

It's been real Egypt

IMG_20180325_180559026.jpg Yesterday I left Egypt to fly to Hong Kong. Learning that you can't take anything for granted in Egypt, I left about 4 hours before the flight left. I learned that the Cairo airport, although it has McDonald's, Burger King, Starbucks, and duty free shops, there is no men's bathroom with toilet paper in it, and I checked 3 stalls in 3 different bathrooms.
I hated Egypt after a couple of days. The hawkers never give up. And it is annoying. Typical conversation:
Hawker:Taxi?
Me: No thanks
Hawker: Take you all around
Me: no thanks
Hawker: take you to Giza pyramids, and citadel
Me: no thank you
Hawker: real cheapy
Me: NO THANK YOU
Hawker: guess how much?
Me: NO!!
It wouldn't end there. It would keep going on, time and time again.

Posted by DavidPearlman 21:27 Comments (0)

Final day in Egypt-Walking like an ..........

Yesterday morning, I got off the train in Cairo, where I started in Egypt. I actually got off the train in Giza, before the main station in Cairoļ¼Œbecause I found the Metro was right next to the train, and I could take the Metro back to the main square, which was in walking distance of the hostel, so that is what I did, and it all went according to plan. In Cairo, the air was nice and cool, which was most welcoming as it was sweltering down South.
After taking a shower, resting for a bit, and dropping my luggage off, I decided to check out the Coptic quarter, which was an easy ride away on the Metro. Here are a few Churches and a Synagogue. One Church has an underground shelter, where the holy family lived for a year while most Christians were forced out. The quarter was indeed pretty with beautiful with Medieval architecture.
I then went to the hostel to rest, then a nearby bookstore with books in English, and then I met my new friend Tania, who I met on the cruise, for a drink at a local cafe. (It just served coffee, tea and juices). I had some mango juice. We then went to the owners shop, where he sold me some Egyptian cologne. IMG_20180325_180557921.jpg After that, we had dinner of pigeon, filled with rice. I generally don't eat meat, but in other lands I like to try local delicacies. It was like it looks, very bony and hard to eat, and the meat was sweet. That said, I don't think I will eat it again. IMG_20180325_183924251.jpg Later I walked back to the hostel. I found I wasn't being haseled as much. Maybe I learned to look local, or at least walk like an ..........

Posted by DavidPearlman 22:24 Comments (0)

Buses and trains all over the country

Yesterday I left the hotel at 4:00 am. (After trying to take a shower-the water in the room didn't work well-I had to change rooms to take a shower), but I did leave at 4 am to vi IMG_20180324_121002840.jpg sit Abu Simbel-A 3 hour drive to near the Sudan border. That's right -3 hours! What's at the end of these 3 hours?? Two magnificent temples seemingly carved into the side of a mountain, overlooking a huge lake. We had an hour and a half there, after 3 hours of driving (and 3 back!). Worth it- that's a lot of driving looking at desert scenery, in a minibus with approximately 20 others. IMG_20180324_121002840.jpg After returning back to the hotel around 1:30, I walked around the souk market, which was hawkers selling their spices, souvenirs, and other stuff. These hawkers only each asked me if I wanted to purchase something about 3 times which is pretty passive.

At 6:00, I boarded the long train back to Cairo, which would be an approximately 12 hour ride. To get from Cairo to Aswan, I flew from Cairo to Luxor and took the cruise from Luxor to Aswan, and was now taking the train all the way back. The train was ok. It was old but the seats were comfortable, and reclined so I could sleep. The train passed by the usual piles of garbage, stray dogs, homes, minarets, etc. When it got dark I slept on and off, and bought a cheap sandwich from a vendor. Every so often the train would stop at a station and people would get in to sell stuff IMG_201803..2903070_HDR.jpg IMG_20180325_245556119.jpg IMG_20180325_060642745.jpg

Posted by DavidPearlman 23:52 Comments (0)

Off the boat Aswan

I got off the boat yesterday morning, and went right to my hotel- no it wasn't that easy. The only person waiting when I departed the ship was a horse and carriage. I would prefer a taxi but the only alternative was to walk, and I had no idea where to go, and it was already hot, and the flies were getting to me. The driver said he knew exactly where the hotel was, and when we got to a street near a market he told me to head up and take a right-after a week here, I knew that he probably had no idea where the hotel was-so I made him walk with me to the hotel, (he asked directions along the way) , and we found the hotel. It was rather disgusting, and the elevator played weird music in it-but ok for $8 per night I guess. I had to change rooms because the bathroom had water on it. Later on I walked around the market, and tried to do a system restore bon my notebook computer. I got impatient, and shut it off in the middle, which of course is the stupidest thing I could have done. It doesn't work and I have to do everything with my phone

Posted by DavidPearlman 18:59 Comments (0)

Cruise Time

Yesterday, I left Luxor for a two day cruise on a riverboat.

I didn't have much hopes for this little cruise-but it has turned out to be quite a nice diversion.

The room was nice but not luxurious. there is good food on board which is included. I had a nice room with a porthole window. The only thing is that there is no daily program-so everyone else seems to know what is going on but i have no idea.
- I really am not familiar with the stops-so we pulled up to a dock yesterday, and I assumed we we're getting off-so I rushed down to my room and put on my pants and shirt (I just had my bathing suit on from the pool). I rushed up to the top deck, and saw that the deck was two stories higher then the pier-we we're just going through locks in the river.

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- I didn't realize there was a free drink party until it was almost over. I grabbed one of the last free drinks-a whisky sour with almost as much alcohol as a cupfull of mouthwash.

Other then that it was fine. We passed by great scenery of towns, lots of mosques, minuetes, etc.n WE passed cows. At one point, two guys tied their rowboat to tour big boat, to sell their towels and other stuff. They would throw it up to the deck (hoping it lands on deck), and the purchaser would throw down the money (hoping it lands in the boat). At one point, some lady decided she didn't want one of their towels in a bag, she tried throwing it into her boat and it landed in the water-the guys got angry calling her a bad lady.
After the party, I Went to dinner. I found out there is assigned seating. I sat next to two Chinese woman who didn't speak English, and across from a mean looking white man with a white goattee and khaki shirts and pants. It was just the four of us initially. To break the ice, I made a comment to the guy "We are the luckiest guys in the world-with two beautiful ladies". That at least united the three of them-they all seemed confused by my comment.

Eventually-two German guys sat two seats down who spoke English, and an older woman from Massachusetts who was travelling alone. I normally like meeting people from around the world-but I enjoyed talking to that woman-as it is nice to see someone who speaks English.

We spoke for a while-then I went on deck and watched the silent night go by. With lights and minarets in the distance.

The second day of the cruise, I got up early to eat breakfast, which was good-there was cereal, eggs, and all sorts of fruits. today the river cruise would stop in two ports of calls along the Nile river. The first was the temple of Edfu. We had 2 hours to visit the temple, before the boat left, and it wasn't within walking distance of the boat. We had to pay a horse carriage to take me there. I was nervous about going alone-as if the horse driver decided to screw me over, he could leave me in Edfu-without my passport (the guest services deck on board had it), in a rural part of the country, where most people didn't speak English. So I sat outside and waited to see if anyone else wants to go to Edfu. Two couples and a baby left the ship-but one of them said there wouldn't be any room for a fifth person. But after that, my new friend from Massachusetts walked off-and she was fine with taking a horse carriage together.

We rode the carriage threw the town, past markets, poor houses, and a new school, and arrived at the temple after about 15 minutes. The temple was giant and imposing, with the normal columns, hieroglyphics. and pictures of boats, etc. We didn't have a guide-but a police officer showed us around. One whose English was ummm...limited. He would point at stuff and say words like "splitter...splitter!" Not knowing what he meant. Here in Egypt, a police officer doesn't show you around out of the goodness of his heart, he is in essence moonlighting, so we gave him a tip.

Anyway, the carriage took us back to the ship, and got back on.
After a hearty lunch of rice, vegetable saute, and nice deserts, We reached the second port of call, Kom Ombo-here we had an hour and a half-but since the temple was a 5 minute walk from the ship-this wasn't a big deal. I walked around the temple. A guide would have been helpful. But after all this time, it all starts to run together. I then went to the museum of the crocodile, which is dedicated to a God named Sobek, an God with a Crocodile head, There we'e displayed of mummified crocodiles. I liked this museums, not only because of the crocodiles, but because the museum was cool and dark (outside the temperature was 100+ and it was smokey and hazy).

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Got back on the ship-Sayan, the room steward, made the typical towel swan on the bed, but this was surrounded by roses.

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so it was dinner time. There was a typical buffet dinner-but this time the lights we're off for a romantic ambiance. I went back to the room, and feel asleep. While it was nice-I wasn't feeling well. The constant and unrelenting heat was getting to me.

Posted by DavidPearlman 01:28 Archived in Egypt Comments (0)

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