Race against time

Trip Start Dec 15, 2009
Trip End Aug 27, 2010

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Flag of Egypt  ,
Friday, June 25, 2010

Unfortunately we couldn't get a direct flight out of Cape Town and so were forced to leave S.A. via Jo’burg. A six hour layover in Jo’burg wasn’t optimal, but the timing was such that we were able to watch Italy crash out of the world cup with an exciting loss to Slovakia. Upon arrival at the check-in desk at exactly the scheduled opening time for check-in we were met by a queue a mile long??? No idea just why everybody was so early for the flight, but by the time we’d made it through time was running short to do our intended duty-free shopping … seems crazy when we’d arrived in OR Tambo airport six hours prior to departure!

On arrival in Cairo it became clear that the majority of passengers on our flight were Europeans transferring through Cairo on their way home from the World Cup. Joining a few others we made our way through immigration, collected the bags, cleared customs and set out to look for our driver. Unfortunately he hadn’t turned up, but we managed to find another driver (Hassan) at a reasonable price through the airport information desk and were soon on our whirlwind trip across Cairo to see the pyramids of Giza.

A quick photo op on the bridge crossing the Nile, before we had our first sighting of the pyramids. We were a little early (unusual for the Moody’s, I know) and so stopped for a quick coffee at a little coffee shop where our driver was soon indulging in a little "Hubble Bubble" – Alex was quite fascinated in just what the driver was doing and we were relieved to know that there was nothing “stronger” in the pipe than tobacco and some flavouring in the water.

Despite our intentions of simply driving to the pyramids, taking a quick photo and returning to the airport, we were talked into taking a camel ride to see the Sphinx and pyramids. With hindsight, it was a great decision. Our trek through the desert aboard “Moses” (Sarah & Lauren) and “Mickey Mouse” (Derek & Alex) was great fun and I’m sure a better experience than the “pull up in the parking lot, and run the gauntlet of vendors” option. Our guide was friendly, knowledgeable and very good at taking photos and geeing the camels up when necessary!

The pyramids themselves are quite stunning – everybody has their own preconceived image in their mind, but to see them up close and personal was quite breathtaking. The sheer size of these tombs is astounding and the hostile environment in which they sit is incredible. Alex was a little disappointed in the size of the Sphinx (“Where is the real one at?”), but all in all it was a very worthwhile decision to take a few hours to explore this true Wonder of the World.

En route back to the airport, we asked Hassan to take us somewhere good, but quick for lunch. He stopped at a little joint on the corner of two intersections, which seemed to be very busy with no sign of any other tourists (a good thing if you want decent, authentic food). It was quite amusing as we were discussing with Hassan what to order and were handed a menu by one of the staff – entirely in Arabic! Our lunch consisted of falafel in pitas and the Egyptian equivalent of chip butties! Twenty minutes and $3 later we were absolutely stuffed, and waddled out of the restaurant back to the car. By 2pm we were back at Cairo international waiting for our flight to Amman. It was a crazy little detour, but well worth every minute and every penny. The little we’ve seen of Egypt has impressed us and we’ve added it to the growing list of countries that we will quite possibly return to at a later date….
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Shirley on

We got up early this morning, made a proper English breakfast, along with London Pride beer, to watch the England - Germany game. Booooo Germany!!!
Anyway. I can't believe how much Alex and Lauren have grown. Can't wait to hear what Jordan is like.

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