How the heck do I turn on the AC in this country??

Trip Start Mar 30, 2010
Trip End Dec 13, 2012

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Flag of Egypt  ,
Tuesday, August 17, 2010

 Well hello again.  I have just come up on the 5 month mark of traveling, and it has been an amazing 5 months so far.  So many interesting places, memorable events, incredible people....enough stories to last me a life time.  My travels have brought me to Egypt this time.  This is not my first time here, as I came here almost three years ago with my family.  That trip then was mainly because my dad was born in Cairo, Egypt and he wanted to show us (the kids) where and how he grew up, and also meet some family I have here that I had not yet met.  This time I was coming back to see my family that I had missed from our first time here, and to meet up with Sue.  Now I know it will be very hard to top my last blog entry of having a near death experience thanks to some renegade elephants, but Cairo has presented many interesting stories.   I would also like to thank all my family, loyal readers and even one time readers of my blog.  I just passed a milestone of having over 3000 people read my blog in 5 months.....this is a daily average of 20 + readers.    My blog site also has a function that shows from where in the world people are reading my blog, and as it stands...Brazil is No. 1,  time to step it up Canada! ;)  Joking aside, thank you for taking time out of your busy lives to check in with me. Its nice to see.       We spent nearly an entire month in Egypt, traveling  from the top of the country, Alexandria,  all the way down to nearly the Sudanesse border.  Egypt is a country filled with so much history, every where you look there is something historic.   We did many of the must see touristic places, such as the pyramids, the sphynx and countless temples too.  It was also great to see some old friends too, such as our guide, Sayeed from our previous trip.      What blows me away from all the structures in Egypt the most though, is there attention to detail.  I am a more of technical person, so the history and the stories behind all the gods, temples and so forth, as amazing at it is, is second to how they built some of these amazing structure.   Just to the sight of them is mind blowing,  but the fact that these places were built thousands of years ago, are still standing, and in impecable condition, is truly a testament to ancient Egyptians architechture.   You really have to see it for yourself to fully appreciate it.      And Cairo,  what can I say about crazy and chaotic Cairo.  The traffic is some of the most outrageous you have ever seen in your life.  I could take pictures, show you video, but until you have ridden in a car with a crazy cabbie, you haven't lived.  People drive within inches of each other.  Sometimes when you are driving and the window is open, you could literally reach out and touch the car next to you.  As a comparison,  in what we would declare a 2 lane road in North America, they would call a 4 lane road.   And not to forget the odd donkey and cart that hold up traffic.  But it all seems rather normal there.  People don't get road rage, its just a way of life.  Another amazing crazy fact too, its that despite all the madness, you never really see any accidents.  I guess there is a method to the madness.  One day, Vatche one of my cousins, took us to a mall in Cairo.  He told us that it is the biggest mall in the  middle east.  And he wasn't joking either.  This thing was massive.  One could easily get lost in here for hours.  If it wasn't for all the traveling I have done, and lining up my internal compass, I think we would have.   But one interesting thing they did when we entered the undergroung parking lot, is they check every car with mirrors underneath and open the trunk to check for bombs.  Just another day of going to the mall.    One of our favorite and most memorable parts of our trip, was the Nile cruise.  It is a beautiful way to see Egypt.  Since 90% of the countries population lives on 3% of the land mass, you can see most of what Egypt has to offer this way.  There is something special about seeing an entire country by boat.  You can sit up on the top deck and look at children swimming in the Nile, camels cooling off in the water, fisherman trying to catch dinner.      One thing that I can't forget to mention is how friggin how hot it was.  This is by far the hottest climate I have EVER been to.   Egypt in august is something else.  Some places were around the 44 degree C mark, even in the shade.  My dad had warned us of the intense heat, but nothing will prepare you for it.  It was just the only time that was available to go.  On the good side though, tourism is slow during august, so when you visit all the temples and touristic sites, you are not fighting hoards of people and can get some great pics of these places extremely quiet.   Some days it was so unbareably hot, that come 1130 am, you have to get out of the sun and into the air conditioning until later on in the afternoon.  Going  outside around dinner time was usually bareable at a nice and cool 35 degrees!?!    It was also nice to do some different things in Egypt from my frist trip there.  We went to visit the Red Sea, and stayed at a place called Sharm El Shek.    Now for some reason, this place is a havne for Russian tourists.  Even the signs around town and touristy area are in both Arabic and Russian.  We took our time there as also our opportunity to veg out in pool side chairs and by the sea.   We also did a day snorkeling excursion here.  The red sea offers some of the best diving in the world.  It was one of my favorite acitivites that I had done on this whole trip.  It was great fun, great guide who made the whole experience that much bettter.  We even stopped on a little sand bar island, and off in the distance, you can make out the silhoutte of Saudi Arabia.      There is hundreds of acitvities being offered here for anyone visiting.  And the people selling these tours, or anything for that matter, are not shy.  All across Egypt its the same.  Everyone wants to make a sale.  They would approach you asking you what country you are from, use this as their angle to start up a conversation.  Some of them are geniunely nice people, but some of them are down right rude and in your face.  If the heat wasn't getting to me and making me cranky, I would usually have some fun with them.  Tell them that their flip flops were untied pointing at their feet, making them look and usuing that as my opportunity to walk away.  Some of them got pissed off at me for doing it, cause I was usually walking away with a big grin on my face and the others laughed it off.  And when you reply that you are from Canada, well....the only thing they know is Canada Dry ginger ale.  I had no idea that our ginger ale made such an impact around the world.  Whiskey drinkers of the world......your welcome.     Personally, I loved the cuisine in Egypt.  I know for many people it is just not their style or to their personal liking.  One thing that was on the menu one night at our families home when they ordered in, was sheep testicles.  Now I know that some of you are just cringing at the thought of it, but I must say that it was pretty darn good.  I mean hey, if your ever going to eat is probably the place to do it.       All in all, Egypt is a fantastic place to visit, even if you don't have family there to spoil you rotten like I was priviledged enough to have.  It is one of those places that I believe everyone should visit atleast once in their life time.  I also think it is one of the safest places I have ever visited, for those of you who think its the middle east and bomb are going off, you couldn't be farther from the truth.  You can walk around pretty much anywhere, even in the middle of the night.  I have to thank first and foremost, my cousin Garo, his wife Iman, Garo's parents Minace and Lily,and the two boys Roupen and Armen.  I swear they fed us like it was our last meal on the planet.  It was great to see.  Just spending time with you guys was what I really came back to Egypt for.  Also Vatche and Taline, Good to see you both again.  I hope that some day we can meet up on Canadian soil, or anywhere for that matter.  Take care all, Bacheegs Poloreen! (i hope I got that right!?) 
I apologize to those that have been following me loyally and waiting for a new update.  I have a few others to catch up on too.  I am even getting emails from random people around the world, that have no connection to me asking me about restaurants and places I have been, so i felt like I should get back on top of things with the blog.   Craziness.  Talk again soon.
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