Dirtiest place on earth

Trip Start Jul 05, 2009
Trip End Oct 16, 2009

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Where I stayed
Dawn Princess

Flag of Egypt  ,
Saturday, September 12, 2009

We got on our bus #B14 to head for Cairo at 7am and waited until 8am until they were ready to leave because we all had to go in a convoy. It is over 3 hours to Cairo from Port Said and we all had security guards carrying Uzi guns on our buses. The convoy wound its way through the streets of Port Said and all the intersections had been blocked by cops so we could go straight through. A very dirty town with rubbish everywhere. As we got out of town it opened up to be almost totally desert, but there were actually a lot of irrigated areas as well.  They have very green areas dotted in amongst the sand but they are not oasis. They are watered from the Suez canal which is only about 50meters from the highway going into Cairo.  They grow mangoes by the millions and there are a lot of roadside stalls set up with different coloured mangoes set out. We would often see a few men sitting under a tree in the middle of nowhere. We also passed lots of donkeys pulling carts loaded with grass or other things (not sure what). When we got to the outskirts of Cairo we were warned about the traffic. It goes from 2 lanes into as many as can fit on the road. There aren't really any rules as long as you don't hit each other. Horns are used a lot. The first pyramid we visited was the Saqqara Pyramid which is a step pyramid. We were not able to go inside this but walked around and looked at very dusty, dirty ruins. It was very hot, but not humid so was quite bearable.  We were back on the buses and went to see the other 3 pyramids that were of any size. We were allowed to go into the second one, so Graeme and I did. We had to walk down a 45deg slope that was only about 1 metre high, so we had to crouch down and walk very carefully. We did this twice down and twice up to get into the chamber which was very close and we couldn't stay in there very long because it was hard to breath.  There was an open coffin in the chamber but nothing to see. We weren't allowed to have cameras in there so no photos were taken.  When we got out there were numerous hawkers who hassled us to buy things and we had to be really strong to get them away.  We got in the buses again to go down to see the sphinx which was probably not as big as expected and it has been damaged around the head. It is still most impressive.  A lot of the rocks have fallen off the pyramids and you get a really good idea of the size of them. What a magnificent achievement so long ago.  We were all herded on the buses again and were taken to a souvenir shop before we headed to Le Meridian Hotel for lunch. Had big buffet but was very crowded with over 600 people trying to eat at the same time.  We were back on the buses and in a sort of convoy to head back to the ship. Our bus driver seemed to be in a hurry and wanted to pass everything on the road. We got back safe and sound at 8pm, raced up to have a shower and something to eat and then crawled into bed. The reason that you might get 2 or 3 notices on one day is because I don't write these on the day they occurred but do 2 or 3 at the same time and just write different days on them. I was supposed to send this one yesterday, but  the computer went offline and I was lucky to save the draft. Hopefully it will come through properly.
Bye for now.
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