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Published: November 26th 2010
Since I had an 8 hour layover in London I decided I would take the train into the city to meet my friend Paula for lunch in Mayfair. It was nice to see her and have a walk around London for a couple hours. It was actually quite easy to jump on the train since the tube station is located in terminal 5 which was where I arrived and was leaving from, 45 minutes later and I was at the Green Park station. There is a faster way to get there on the direct train but that would have required a bit more hunting around the airport to find this other train station.
Back to the airport and I had a bit of a panic because I could not find the piece of paper with the address to the joining hotel in Cairo. I had to find a phone, luckily there was one that took credit cards although the cost was about $50 for 10 minutes.
The flight to Cairo took about 5 hours and landed about 12am. I had read about how to get the visa before I left so I knew I had to find the
bank counter before going though customs. I think it would have been very confusing if I did't know this piece of info prior. After getting through immigration I went to the shuttle company near the exit and booked a shuttle van, similar to super shuttle for $80. Same as what a taxi would have cost with much less hassel and I had the whole airconditioned mini van to myself. The only problem was the hotel was very hard to find since it was on the back streets so I didn't get to the hotel till about 2am. I was sharing the room with another girl and had to wake her up since the guy couldn't open the door to let me in. The hotel was kind of dumpy but we were leaving in the morning so not a biggie. The next morning I was meeting the rest of the group at 7:30 am.
Since I only had about 6 hours sleep in the last two days I was pretty worn out but excited about the trip so I was able to muddle through. So, the group consisted of 12 people and Khaled our local guide. Two of
us were American, two couples and a single girl from Australia, one couple from South Africa, one couple and a single girl from Canada. A pretty good mix with 4 couples and 4 singles some older and some younger. After breakfast which consisted mainly of bread, which was the constant carb overload theme of the trip, we got on our mini bus to go to Giza and see the Pyramids with an Egyptologist.
They are pretty amazing and pictures really don't do them justice. Even with all the technology today they could not be recreated. Archeologists are trying to find one of the burial chambers still to this day. They say that if they do find it that the treasures should be much greater than King Tutenkamun's since this pyramid was built for a much more powerful king. We had a chance to go into great gallery at the Khufu Pyramid but I chose not to because I am a little bit claustrophobic and I had heard that it really wasn't worth it. It's just a room with nothing in it. I did pay to go into the boat museum which was interesting. It houses the biggest ark in the
world and was found burried deep under the sand in 1985 next to the pyramids. It was found in about 1224 pieces which they had to put back together again. This is the point where my camera went dead and I was not able to take anymore pictures of this and the Sphinx. I had to rely on the other gals to take some good pictures and I do not have them yet. On the way to the museum we were hasseled by all sorts of touts and my roommate got pulled onto a camel and the guy tried to take her away. We had to keep a watchful eye on her. Oh,
by the way this was her first trip overseas. I guess she didn't want to ease herself into it by going to Europe.
On the way back to the hotel we stopped off at a falafel stand and had some lunch. I had a falafel and chicken shwarma. In Egypt they make their falafel with fava beans instead of chickpeas. Very tasty. We then had a tour of the Egyptian Museum and King Tutenkamun's room. The museum is a little bit jumbled and the cases are from
when the museum was opened in the early 1900's. I'm suprised since you would think you needed temprature controlled cases or something to keep the items in good shape. Back at the hotel we were able to take showers before we had to get on an overnight train to Luxor. The train wasn't bad and had two bunks that came out of the wall. They even served us dinner on board. In about 9 hours we would be in Luxor.
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