Trip Start May 04, 2011
Trip End Oct 08, 2012

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Where I stayed
Swiss Inn Nile Hotel Giza
Read my review - 3/5 stars

Flag of Egypt  ,
Saturday, June 4, 2011

The one place on my itinerary that concerned me in the slightest was Egypt. I was determined to see the pyramids on this round the world trip even against everyone's warnings. But not stupid I have been keeping a very close watch on the civil unrest and was pleased to see that things had calmed down substantially since the revolution in January. This meant that my dream would come true. However, I was still slightly cautious and wanted to make sure that I had someone waiting for me at the airport. Pre-trip planning, I spent months looking into the options of an organized tours vs. setting up a private guide, and in the end did even better. Thanks to my friend Thea DeSando who connected me with her best friend in Ohio Erin and her husband Akmed, I was fortunate to meet Nasser Abouzied. Nasser is a native from Cairo but has been living in Laguna Beach for 17 years. From the moment I reached Nasser on Skype he has been so accommodating and is responsible for whatever experience I have in Cairo.

It was a little nerve racking trying to reach him on Friday about the flight change because he wasn’t using email, so you can imagine how relieved I was once I got home on Thursday night in Mallorca at 3:30 in the morning to find three missed calls on my cell phone. All was back to regular programming; Nasser did in fact meet me at the airport on Saturday night with his sweet nephew Omer. First order of business was to buy alcohol at the duty free shop. Not that you can’t find alcohol in some bars but the price of one drink would be the equivalent of the $14 bottle of Finlandia.

Next we went to Mini Mall, Nasser’s brother’s hookah café. I was introduced to the entire "family," meaning the million men who all grew up together and are like brothers; including Akmed, Nasser’s real brother; Nasser, my guide for the next two days; Antonio Banderas as he likes to call himself and Samhe, the alternate chauffer.

It was that first night that I got eaten alive by the mosquitos. I counted, I have 15 bites on my right foot including the two I already had from Mallorca and that’s just my one foot. So when in Rome, do like the Romans, within minutes I was puffing on a hookah. We hung out at the café until 2:00am until I was finally at the Swiss Inn. Although it wasn’t the ideal location, it was a double room with a view of the Nile with A/C and English speaking TV. I slept solid that night.
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