Bicycles and dominoes

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Africa » Egypt » Western Desert » Siwa Oasis
November 4th 2010
Published: November 19th 2010
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After catching up on lost sleep from the bus ride from Cairo, we headed into the town to explore. And found out yet another great thing about Siwa - Bikes For Hire. I spent the rest of the day remembering how great it is to ride a bike. The bikes are falling apart. So heavy it feels as if they've been engineered from marble. And with brakes that don't work, and pedals that don't turn. But it's fantastic. Cheating on Sienna has never felt so good.

Me and Mike tour the sights around town, enjoying the childish thrills of an open road and two wheels, with a few ancient monuments thrown in to help us catch our breath. The Temple of the Oracle is a mud-brick temple built on a small hill on the edge of town. It used to house, surprisingly, an all-powerful Oracle, and legend says it was visited by Alexander The Great in 331BC. And for less than 3GBP we have the whole place to ourselves. And as we clamber over 2000 year old walls and wander down ancient corridors, the only thing missing is the Indiana Jones theme tune.The sand-brick temple, set against the azure blue sky, surrounded by the lush palm trees, with salt lakes and sand dunes shimmering in the distance, is the definition of picturesque. In fact, the whole of Siwa is the definition of picturesque, especially when juxtaposed against the madness of Cairo.

A pretty immense day is finished off in Tiger Shali (a coffee shop, not a strip club). The owner is an interesting and charismatic guy, who doesn't let the language barrier get in the way of communication, and precedes to teach us the tactics of dominoes. It's a great way to end the day, and I get into bed (eventually, after being terrified by a pack of rabid dogs, and then locked out of the hotel) for a well earned and very contented sleep.

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