Sweaty pits, camel toes and beef knuckles in Egypt
Trip Start Apr 14, 2010
33Trip End Apr 14, 2010
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When we circled over prior to landing, we noticed the smog in the horizon - but what can you expect for a city with over 20,000,000 people living in and around it. We expected it to be hot when we landed, but it was a sweltering 40 degree hot ! A lot different from the high twenties we were getting in Tanzania. One thing we certainly noticed, was the strong muslim influence there, as most of the women wore long pants/skirts or a black cape covering them from head to toe, only the eyes were exposed. In this crazy heat! We felt kind of sorry for them as we were roasting in shorts and a t-shirt. Kim, took on the ol’ adage, “When in Rome”.......covered her shoulders and arms with a pashmina which made her less of a novelty and minimized some of the starring.
We noticed immediately how friendly the people were as soon as we landed. A local man who was on our flight asked if he could help us in any way as he exited the airport. Even outside our hotel, everyone was so friendly and helpful. Saying “Welcome to Egypt “as we walked down the streets past them - and not just a couple of times either, all the time. Our hotel was in a quaint little welcoming neighbourhood that soon started to feel like home to us. One night, we met a store owner and his buddies , then their buddies and then their buddies buddy and they offered us to take a few rips on their sheesha pipe, drink some mint tea with them and visit on the sidewalk
We found our prize gem, a small little BBQ shop nearby our hotel that soon also got to know us as we couldn’t get enough of their BBQ chicken – WOW, was it tasty. We are not sure what kind of spices they use and their English wasn’t very good to ask them either, but it was delicious. It came with rice that had the same little Rice a Roni noodles in it, salad, whole wheat pita and hummus all for 50 Egyptian pounds($9CAD) Certainly meal of the week!! We spent three days in Cairo and toured the museum which was full of all kinds of artifacts and mummies, the Cairo tower- which gave us a grande view of the city and the Nile river channels , the street markets – where they sold sheesha pipes, pashminas, blankets, clothes, food and you name it.....and we also visited the Pyramids and the sphynx
One thing we soon learned was five times a day, we would hear the Muslim prayers sung over the loud speakers. They would last for a only a few minutes and it was a neat part of the culture to experience. Our first overnight train ride went very smoothly to Aswan. Our hotel was a beautiful place, situated on its own island in the middle of the Nile river. We spent only two days there as the big thing to see in this region is Abu Simbel. The average temperature was 45 degrees and one day it was closer to 50 degrees. It was actually a bit uncomfortable on this day when it was very windy and 46 degrees on a thermometer at the pool at 5pm. It was like sitting in a convection oven and we had sweat dripping down our legs while we tried to enjoy a snack out at the pool. Crazy!
Mike was up and gone by 3:45 am for a 3 hour bus ride to the Abu Simbel site for sunrise
From Luxor, we took an old run down bus to Hurghada (El Gouna - a resort town along the Red Sea.) It was a tough ride all crammed up in the bus without operational air conditioning, but it was paradise when we arrived to the ocean and the hotel pool was calling our names. El Gouna was a really cool place that was really new and full of little shops, restaurants, plazas and snorkelling/diving shops. Lots of Tuk-tuks cruising around taking people around and most people were doing all-inclusive stays. We spent 4 days there and especially enjoyed our snorkelling experience around the reefs. We even saw a sea turtle! We sampled more of the middle east foods like the lahmajoon (Lebanese pizza – thin crust with a thin red sauce and ground meat) We also tried the Manaish – also a Lebanese pizza but a vegetarian one with olive oil and oregano and lemon juice. Both were very yummy and flavourful.
We made it back to Cairo by bus late in the evening and checked in and out within 10 hrs as we headed to the International airport for Amman, Jordan.
Take care everyone.........
Meal of the week: Cairo BBQ chicken, as mentioned above – certainly the tastiest chicken we’ve ever had (sorry mom’s – but it is that good!) As our honourable mention, a great little find restaurant in stinkin-hot Aswan. A multi-course meal of lentil soup, hummus n’ pita, salad, pickles n’ olives, rice, potatoes with onion and carrots in a tomato sauce, chicken kebab, kofta (minced lamb meatballs) and a coconut custard desert all for $8CAD/person.