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Published: November 10th 2008
The entire group, with one exception, joined in a tour of Cairo and the Pyramids at Giza along with the Sphinx. The day dawned warm and partly cloudy and everyone was excited to see one of the great wonders of the World.
Unfortunately, our 10:00 AM arrival ended up being 10:45 as Princess decided to bring boxes, freight and several local folks onboard before clearing the vessel for passenger disembarkation. Little did we realize this delay would have major consequence as our tour ended.
Our guide was named Waleed and he was a nice young Egyptian man who spoke excellent English. Our tour director was Joe Michel, a Catholic resident, originally from Belgium and handles local tours for American Express. We arranged this as a private tour through a company named shoretrips.com. We have four other private shore excursions they arranged for us over the next several days.
The ride into Cairo took about 3 hours. We rode through farmland, saw boats transversing the Suez Canal and a lot of agricultural farmland. We even saw pigeon houses where they raise the birds for food. One of the guides explained that the eating of pigeon gave a man “more
horsepower” and was recommended for newlyweds.
Entering Cairo we participated in some of the worst traffic in civilization. The guides told us that speed limits were just suggested, lines on the highway were only there as decorations and red lights meant “speed up.” Cairo has a population of 22 million and I think they all try to be on the roads at exactly the same time!
We arrived at the pyramids which were amazing. Unfortunately the vendors selling camel rides, post cards, and other nick nacks were extremely aggressive. But, we were warned and no one had any major problem. We also went to a panoramic hill and took a group show with a pyramid in the background. We also spent some time at the Sphinx which is currently undergoing some major restoration. It’s also an awesome sight.
Next stop was a papyrus factory and a little shopping. A number of pieces of art, books, t-shirts and other items were purchased. We then went to Andrea’s restaurant and had a wonderful Egyptian meal with fresh baked pita bread hot from the oven with hummus and other goodies. We also had barbecued chicken from skewers which was delicious.
Then we started back to the ship around 4 PM, thinking we had lots of time to make the ship’s 7:30 departure time. However, terrible traffic delayed out return to Port Said until 7:45 PM. We were met by a pompous and condescending Princess hotel staff officer who chastised us for not being considerate of all of the other passengers. His customer relation skills could have been exhibited by Attila the Hun—not a bright shining star for Princess. It’s too bad that the wonderful day had to end on such a sour note.
Tomorrow, we land as Ashdod, Israel and it’s off to Jerusalem.
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