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Published: June 27th 2008
Friends and Family,
We are now a week into the adventure of a lifetime. Hard to believe that one week ago we were in Prarie du Chien, Wisconsin attending a wedding and participating in all forms of debauchery (note to self: do not drink 70 beers and watch the sunrise on the Mississippi river the night before you take a 12 hr flight through Amman, Jordan to Cairo, Egypt).
Our trip started off with adventure from the very beginning as our taxi driver was harassed by the local police for some "baksheesh" (Arabic for tip or kick back). The ride from Cairo Airport to downtown at 10pm, which is actually rush hour, was a good representation for what the trip had in store for us. After we saw Mustafa drive for a short time Craig asked him if he watched NASCAR as he held on to the "oh shit" handle for dear life. Mustafa replied no, and we told him that "if you're not rubbin' you're not racin'."
Cairo is a city of over 23 million people. An Arabic city for sure as 90% of the population practices some form of Islam, needless to say we have not
met any other Americans in the country. The Imam or priest gives a call to prayer five times everyday, which is broadcast over loudspeakers throughout all of Egypt. Our first night there proved a challenge because every restaurant's menu was in Arabic. However, after an hour of hunting we found a menu that was translated for us and quickly ordered the stuffed pigeon (quite a nice dish if we may add).
The next day was spent seeing the sites in and around Cairo. We visited the step pyramid (the first pyramid in ancient Egypt), the ancient capital of Memphis (no John Calipari is not the coach of the local basketball team here), and the pyramids at Giza. Craig is claustrophobic, but overcame his fear and went inside Khafre pyramid to the sarcophagus through a 200 yard tunnel that was three feet high and required you to walk like the hunch back of Notre Dame (down with domers).
One of the highlights of the day was when Brandon was asked by a camel rider if he wanted to take a picture of him. The coax was on and after a few smooth moves we were both on top of
the camels (Brandon in full turban). This happened faster than a blink of the eye. First Craig was asked to hold onto his camel, which lead to his camel kneeling and him getting on for a "short ride." I declined my offer of riding the camel, but this must have not been understood as I was literally picked up on placed on a camel. Once we were finally able to dismount, our camel buddies asked for 200 Egyptian Pounds per person (approximately $40). We swiftly pulled out some dinero and gave a total of 15 Egyptian Pounds (approximately $3). This has been our best haggle to date.
The next day we flew to Aswan to see Abu Simbel and take a felucca ride along the Nile (for all you parrotheads out there, a felucca is an Egyptian sailboat). By the time we arrived in Aswan we were more seasoned negotiators and knew the local cuisine much better.
Two days later we took a train to Luxor where we are currently writing this blog. Today we saw Karnak and Luxor temple and will be visiting the Valley of the Kings and Hatshepsut temple tomorrow. Side note for all of
our banker buddies out there, the ctrl/arrow key shortcut to get to the end of a word does not work in Egypt as it switches your font to Arabic. Head this warning when modeling over here and we apologize for anything that is not grammatically correct in the pitch.
We will check back in with you guys when we get to Nigeria before we begin our accent up Kilimanjaro. Hope all is well with you guys.
Until next time,
‘ىفهم ىثءف فهةثو
Craig and Brandon
}قشهل شىي لآقشيخى
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