The flight from Casablanca takes about 5 ½ hours and 3 hours ahead in time. So we got little sleep.
We arrange the taxi to the hotel in Cairo and the amount written down so there is no problem with the price. It takes 30 min. to get to the the hotel and Francine and I sleep the entire way there. If this was a metered taxi we could have been taken for a small fortune.
Once in our room we both collapse on the beds and slept for about 4 hours. We did finally get up so we could take in the city. Cairo is dirty, noisy, polluted city and all 20 million people are on the roads driving like they own the road. The traffic lights are for decoration only. The crosswalks are a joke and you cross the street at you own risk. There are no emission standards here. Most of the taxi were built in the 60s or 70s so they are probably using leaded fuel if it still exists here.
We walk to the Cairo Tower and go up to the top. The city is huge and the smog
THE RIVER NILE - NOT WHAT I PICTURED!
clouds the view of the Giza Pyramids. We decide to have lunch there and enjoy a tasty club sandwich. The first home like food we have had on this trip.
We take the metro back to the hotel. The trains have designated carriages just for women and the other carriages are for men and women (mostly men) We did not remember this until after the carriage doors closed and we were outnumbered. When we got off the train we looked around and saw that there were signs to show where the women's carriages stopped. This is for the Islamic religion so we are able to stay at a respectable distance from men. Once at the hotel we work on the blog for a while and were back to sleep by 10 PM.
We slept in but didn't want to sleep in till noon but we did. Our watches were still on Moroccan time. We hustle to get out into the throngs of the city. We decide to take a taxi to the Citadel where we have another fantastic view of the city. There is a great mosque there built by Mohammed Ali (NO, not Cascius
Clay) in 1814 with a grand courtyard with a clock in the tower that was a gift in the 1800's from the French that never worked and still doesn't work. There are still remnants of the old Palace and some of the rooms are open to view. Mohammed Ali's wanted to build a modern Egypt so he had most of the other heads of the regions of Egypt killed (about 400) and he took their lands for the wealth. Mohammed Ali's descendents are the Egyptian royal family. In the 1950's King Faruk was overthrown as he would not recognise the general elections and there was a coup and King Faruk and his family had to flee from Egypt and they now live in Europe.
We take a taxi to the Kahn El Khalilli Bazaar. We just enter the market when a man approaches us and directs us to his restaurant for lunch. We split 2 Egyptian pancakes, we get mediums that are about the size of a dinner plate. There are a flaky sweet pastry dough one is filled with cheese and the other one was filled with coconut, raisins and bananas covered with a sprinkle of powdered sugar.
AT THE BASE - FRANCINE DID NOT HESITATE ONE BIT ON GOING UP - I THINK I AM GETTING HER ONE STEP CLOSER TO SKY DIVING.
Very very Good! Tasted even better for Francine as she had not had anything to eat since her praying to the porcelain gods two days earlier.
The owner of the restaurant or so he said, takes us to the best gold jewelry store so our fate is sealed for the rest of the afternoon. Francine buys a couple of things and I bought a silver kartouch while Francine bought a gold one. Then off to the silver store. Here the Mr. Slick says that he will bargain for us to get the best price. We buy some items and the prices seem fair to us and I see a silver necklace that I like better than the one at the gold shop. Mr. Slick says that we will go back and get a refund, and I asked what if the store owner gets upset. Mr. Slick says he will not get mad at me because “I will kill him”. Now the wheels are turning in our heads and we put 2 and 2 together such as every store owner knows him by name and he said that he collects money from all the owners and the fact that no
one bothers us when we are with him. And when I said to him, you must be a big man around here , he very seriously said, YES I AM. By now Mr. Slick is no more sounding like the 'Don' of the bazaar. We are going to be late for our group meeting so we cut short our time with the “Don” and beg off, he promisees to deliver our purchases as they are not yet ready. He shows up at the hotel a little earlier than expected but all is as we ordered.
We had our group meeting and met the rest of our tour buddies and leader. Everyone is lovely and the tour leader is very informative and organized. Off to a good start. He takes us out to give us an orientation of the area and of what to eat for dinner. We all head into a fast food restaurant called GAD. We ordered Shiwama, meat, tomato, onion and tahini. Very tasty. It is Thursday night and the end of the week in Egypt, everyone is out and about, so a very relaxed atmosphere and of course very busy. So its back to the hotel
to ready for another exciting day.
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