hey Everyone, sorry it has been so long since I have written a blog.
Last month we decided to hop on a flight and go to Cairo for the night. It worked out really well for us all, because we all had the days off work to do this little trip. Julie, Lauren and I have been friends for many years, and all grew up down the road from each other, Crystal is another Canadian girl that we met once we have all moved to Dubai.
We were all quite lucky to get onto the flight to Cairo from Dubai, because it was quite full, but they managed to squeeze us on. Once we got to Cario it was quite overwhelming because the airport is the first hint you have that this city is going to be pure insanity. There are people everywhere, people smoking everywhere inside the airport and people are lingering around you trying to help you with your bags, for a price of course.
When we finally collected our bags, and made it through customs we walked out of the airport and we were immediatly swarmed. I'm not sure if it was becasue of all
the political unrest in North Africa and the Middle East at the moment and there is absolutly no tourism, or the fact that two of the girls are blonde and about 6" tall or maybe we had "I am a tourist, please rob me written on our back", but that was how it felt the whole trip.
When we had finally made our way to the parking lot, and found a cab driver that knew were our hotel was located, we loaded the bags into the trunk, and got into the car. As we were loading the bads up we noticed we had quite the audience of people surrounding is. I'm not sure why we came as such interest to these people but we did. We had all been warned that the driving was pure insanity, so we were a bit nervous about the drive to the hotel. We got into the cab only to realize that there were no seatbelts in any of the seats. They had been removed. We checked in a few more cabs and none of them had seatblets either. We asked the men were the seatbelts were and they laughed at us. We all stood
there quite confused, and didn't really see the humor in this situation, but they sure did. We tried to argue for a while, and told them we wanted a car with seatbelts, but this just made them laugh harder. We soon came to realize that we were not about to get a car with seatbelts, and to just try our luck getting to the hotel in one piece. The drive was about 1 hour from the hotel. It was not too far, however the trafic, as we expected, was insanity. We came close to crashing about 10 times, and sailing through the windsheild a few times, but in the end we were fine once we got there.
Once we arrived at the hotel we checked in, went to the room, only to realize that they had given us someone elses room. We had a good laugh, and then called down to the front desk. We told them our situation, however they did not seem to think this was as much of a problem as we did. Eventually, the hotel staff decided to give us a new room. Once we got our new room, nothing really worked. The TV, the electricity,
cold water, and the patio door wouldnt close. You would think you would get a little bit more than that for a 4 star hotel and $180 US a night. We soon came to realize that in order to be happy in Egypt, you can't expect too much.
After we checked in for the second time, we dropped our bags walked over to the Nile, and went for an absolutly lovely dinner on this old wodden boat right on the Nile. The food, service and everything about it was great, and it was just what we needed after our somewhat stressful day.
The next morning we got up quite early and headed off to the pyramids. We hired the same taxi driver that picked us up from the airport, to take us to the pyramids. He was such a lovely guy, even though he spoke no english at all, so we communicated with him by using the small bit of Arabic that we knew. At the time of hiring our new friend Ahmed, he was working for a woman named Hooda. En route to the pyramids he made a stop at Hoodas art shop, which was unexpected, and we
were a bit angry about it becasue we were so pressed for time. Hooda was this short little egyptian woman with fire red teased hair, painted on eyebrows, bright coloured lips, more jewlery than I have ever seen on anyone and a personality of someone who's running an army. We were not about to mess with Hooda and this 4 foot long bamboo stick she carried around. We hung around in Hoodas art shop a little bit, while she explained the history of the pyramids and talked about some of her art. When we arrived no one wanted to buy any art, or even listen to Hooda, but by the end of her explanations we had all taken a likeing to Hooda, and we had all purchased a piece or two of her art which was absolutly beautiful.
Hooda took us to the pyramids and to the sphinx. She explained more of the history of it all, and took our pictures. She got rid of everyone trying to sell us things, and made sure we didn't get ripped off when we did buy things. She got rid of all the men chasing us on cammels and donkeys asking us
if we want to ride them around the pyramids, again for price. She even packed us a lovely falafel lunch and salad. We were so happy that we had mety Hooda and her driver, so was very a very intence woman, but she always made sure we were taken care of and safe. Hooda took the four of us in like we were her own which is so rare to meet people that will do that for you these days.
Because of the Political Unrest in North Africa and the Middle East, there is absolutly no tourims. It came as a bit of a blessing to us and not to the Egypitians becasue we paid $50 US for all four of us for the tour of the pyramids, and a driver who took us wherever we wanted to go including to and from the airport, when the normal rate is about $100 US per person if you are good at bardering. Becasue of all the unrest we also got hasseled much more becasue they are so desperate for tourism and money.
In the midst of all the chaos while we were trampeling around the pyramids we saw a woman
wearing a Vancouver canucks T-shist, and we said "Hey, a Canadian" and she ran over to ask us if we happened to know the score of last nights hockey game. This was during the first round of the NHL playoffs. Unfortunatly we had no idea who won. We had a good laugh, because you would think when admiring the pyramids the last thing you would hear about would be the canucks, however it was nice to see some fans in Egypt, and it was a nice reminder of home.
The pyramids took us all day to see. We had an early night, got up ealry and headed to the Egyptian Museum. The museum was amazing as expected, and has so much history to see. We only had a few hours to see the museum, although we could have easily spent all day.
Our driver picked us up from the museum and we headed off to the airport only to find out the flight was full and we were not about to get on, as we fly standby so we only get on when there is space avaliable.
The flight departed Cairo without us, and we sat there
for a few hours pondering what we were going to do. The flights for the next few days were also overbooked so we couldnt wait around for much longer as we all had to get back to Dubai for work.
We decided to jump on a flight to Amman, Jordan, rent a car and drive down to the Dead Sea because we had about 13 hours to kill before the flight from Amman to Dubai left. The drive is only 45 minutes, and I have done it before, so off we went to the Dead Sea. We made it to the Dead Sea, and planned to go for a little midnight swim until this man told us it was probably not a good idea because the army shoot people swimming in the Sea at night becasue they think you are trying to swim to Either Israel or Palestine to get out of the Country illegally, so it was best if we waited until morning. We did just that.
No one had any swimwear, and we couldn't just drive all the way to the Dead Sea and not swim, so we jumped in in all our clothes. The Dead Sea
is such an amazing place, and I'm sure people could hear us laughing at the coast of Israel. One- because they sea is so small, and two because we never expected to be there.
The trip made us all realize that even when you are stuck in an awful situations, good things come from it.
We had such a great time, and saw so much in two days. It was extremly frusterating to travel through Cairo, but it was all worth it, and I'm sure we would all do it again.
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