Hello from Egypt

I’m having to type on an iPod so I’ll be briefer than I’d like. I am having an amazing adventure: breathtaking carvings! Pyramids! Statues of Rameses the 2nd! More statues of Rameses the 2nd! The most decadent fruits you could ever imagine! The Sphinx! I saw it!

I’m acquiring a taste for chicken livers. Go figure, but I have eaten them 3 days in a row. We’ve also had pigeon that was pretty good and grilled quail that was delicious. Veal, lamb, chicken for sure, but no fish on account of concerns about being served seafood that might have come from the Nile.

We’ve been in Cairo for 4 days and it’s a huge vibrant international city. Traffic is insane: horns honking constantly to say get out of my way, go ahead I’m letting you in, and hellooo pretty lady! Lanes are merely a suggestion, and if there are lines for three lanes you’ll see 4 or 5 lanes of cars and buses jockeying for position with motorcycles going in between and people out in the middle of it all trying to get to the other side. The Walk signal on the few crosswalk signs shows a person RUNNING for his life! But I crossed lots of streets and did not die.

A man at the big market did, however, slip my sandals off and polish them, rubber wedge heels and all, then held them hostage for money. Some people are extremely aggressive in hopes of getting tourist dollars. And others are very nice, helpful, and interested. We’ve heard lots of happy cheers of Obama!

I have enjoyed pink, white, and red Egyptian wines. You have to tip to use the toilet and get a ration of toilet paper. We visited a Coptic church, a synagogue, and the mosque of Mohamed Ali. Not that one.

And my protect-me-from-the-equatorial-sun hat is so cute that people think I am French and greet me with “bonjour.” Mais oui!

Tomorrow we have a 2am wake up call but good news! Tonight is the time change so it will really feel like 3am. This means we’ll only be 6 hours ahead. We are leaving Cairo and flying to Aswan and going to the temple at Abu Simbel. Then we are cruising Lake Nasser for 3 or 4 days so I expect to be able to check email again when we get to Luxor (ancient Thebes).

Our tour guide/program director is fabulous. She once accidentally on purpose fell into Omar Sharif’s lap. You canNOT drink the water here or even brush teeth with it – locals too. I’ve picked up some Arabic: La means no. And all babaghanouj is not created equal.

At the Giza plateau, near the Great Pyramid, there was a camel wearing a Duke hat. Yes that one. Turns out the guy’s daughter is an undergrad there. He owns 10 camels btw and makes a killing offering rides to the 10000 people who come through there every day.

I hope this finds you all happy and well. I understand there’s been some rain, but everything is blue skies and sunshine here.

Salaam.

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