Saturday, October 09, 2004

WOW Cairo

Wow Cairo

I wasn’t sure how to start this BLOG – here are a few other titles I could have gone with!!

· Brains and Livers
· Terrorist Attack in Egypt
· We can see the pyramids from our bar
· Nile, the river of life

We arrive late last night and, after a beer, had a great nights sleep.

We met a few Auzzies this morning a leaned a few important things.

· Bargain – taxis – always set the price before the trip
· There was a terrorist bombing in Egypt

So – being the ever adventurous we headed of for a walk, hoping eventually to be downtown. We zigged and zagged following our “bell boy” to an open internet café – open being the key – Friday is Sunday L. At the café we saw a news report about the bombing in east Egypt. Actually the bombing is very close to Israel – a long way away from here. We’ll make sure our future plans don’t take us too close to that part of Egypt.

After walking for about an hour we took a taxi downtown – 10 EL – or about 2 US$. Things are cheaper here – even the “tourist price” is cheaper. The local beer is about $2US – 500 ML – yum yum.

We were busy walking around – seems that places are closed until 1:15 for prayers on Friday – we finally stopped in for a Turkish Coffee (sweet) at a café – the men were busy smoking “water pipes” – we need to learn about this – hey we need to try this.

Now – on to the Brains and Livers. We were getting hungry and there was a place called “Tourist Restaurant”. We checked it out – but the only things on the menu were brain and liver – I guess the Tourists there weren’t from Canada – yuck yuck yuck!!!

The Nile is really pretty – I think it breaks into about 5 branches through Cairo – lots of boats along it – but most tourist boats. We’re planning on taking a ride in Cairo – it might even be part of our tour too.

So – finally we get back to our hotel up to the roof top patio for a beer. V points look – there is a Pyramid - wow – even at this distance you can tell there HUGE!!!!

Oh did I tell you I get “on and off wireless internet on the rooftop patio. So far I haven’t been able to get a signal for more than a couple of minutes – but I did get on – so it isn’t secured. Maybe when the sun goes down I’ll be able to connect!!!

Cheers,

David Smith


We are in Cairo! Somewhere completely far from home. The climate here feels very much like Cuba. There are palm trees, very narrow streets. So far we have seen a SMART are but no mini’s. There are Lada’s everywhere!

We woke up around 8:30 am and had breakfast at the hotel (SALMA hotel). We were the only ones in the restaurant initially. Then 3 Australians appeared. They were leaving Cairo this afternoon after being here for 2 weeks. They did a one week tour with Imaginative Traveler (our tour group). Their only complaint was that they wanted you to get up extremely early on most days to see tourist places. They said that once they got to Aswan they were too exhausted and ill to do the one day trip to Abu Simbel and they were very disappointed that they were not able to do this.

As I’m writing this journal entry, David and I are on the roof top of our hotel where there is a patio bar (that does not open for another 2 hours). Off to my left, between many apartment buildings with satellite dishes we can actually see the Pyramids! I can’t believe they are right in front of us. David took a few photos and they are included in this blog.

So it was the Australian tourists who told us about the terrible bombing in the resort area near Dahab (boarder of Isreal). David and I were anxious to find an internet café to tell everyone that we were ok. Last night we called my brother and David’s mom and left messages that we arrived in Cairo safely. We still wanted to get our message out. The porter at our hotel was able to find 5 internet cafes…all closed since Friday’s is like our Sunday’s in Canada. It is a day of prayer and most businesses are closed or open late. Finally he found one that was open. It was a little store shop that had computers with Windows XP. We read Goggle news about the bombing and tried to get information at the British and Canadian Embassy’s but their web pages were not updated yet. We are now considering staying on the West Side of the Red Sea if we decide to go to a resort at the end of the our tour. We will avoid the area of the terrorist attacks.

From the internet café, we wondered around the neighborhood and bought 2 bottles of water. The Australians strongly suggested that we drink lots of water everyday. We then took a taxi to the Cairo Museum. We were able to get there by taxi for 10 Egyptian pounds. WE wondered around the neighborhood around the museum but did not go into the museum. We will be going in the museum when we join our tour on Monday.

The people we meet on the street are extremely friendly. Someone approached us and explained to us that everyone was a prayer and that we would not be able to find an open restaurant until after 1:15 pm. He then took us to his perfume shop and showed us the fragrances he was selling. We ended up buying a very small bottle called Arabian Knights from him. I asked David to take a photo of us in his store. I thought the photo was worth the price we paid. We quickly discovered that people will approach you on the street and offer their business car and then ask you to follow them. David and I just say no – very firmly and then they turn away. Twice we had groups of poor children following us. The one aspect of Cairo that I find shocking is the large number of cats we have seen everywhere. While eating lunch at a small local restaurant I saw at least 15 small cats in 20 minutes walking in and out of the restaurant and on roofs across the street. I didn’t feel too bad for leaving a little lunch behind – I knew it was going to the garbage where the cats will get the left-overs.

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