Day 8 & 9: The Pyramids of Giza

Day 8 & 9: The Pyramids of Giza

The road from Sharm el-Shaikh to Cairo was long and arduous. Try to fly if you can. At least from Sharm to Cairo. It was just way too long, and the buses and the service aren’t like Turkey. Actually, there is no service on Egyptian buses. When we finally arrived in Cairo, we checked back into the Victoria Hotel where we had originally stayed. It was really late at night and the 8 hour bus ride had killed us, even though we slept most of the way. It was our mission to wake up as early as possible. Our track record in Cairo had thus far been horrible, and waking up like it was a Saturday in Houston was normal. Luckily, we awoke early, jumped in cab and headed towards Giza. Our cabbie, who ended being a terrific guy told us exactly where to go and how much to...

Day 6 & 7: The Beaches of Sharm

Day 6 & 7: The Beaches of Sharm

We were both giddy. We’ve been dying to hit the beach after spending several days in the desert, and hearing so many stories about the beauty there had gotten to our head. Waking up on time was easy, and we made it to the boat real quick. It’s not a normal boat. It’s a speed boat. A gigantic speed boat. I’ve never been on a boat like this, and I was really expecting some kind of a ferry. They had a movie playing on a central screen, and they served Nescafe and snacks. Aside from that if you get seasick easily, make sure you take some pills before getting on. As soon as we docked, we realized we hadn’t booked a hotel at all, but we knew we wanted something on the beach. We grabbed a taxi, and he was nice enough to drive us around for...

Day 5: Luxor From a Balloon

Day 5: Luxor From a Balloon

Yesterday, when we had requested an appointment with the sales rep from the hot air balloon company, we expected an Egyptian to come and talk to us about the options. Instead, we recieved their chief haggler, who almost haggled us to death. We wanted to almost accept his price, because we wanted the haggling to stop. Every thing he said seemed to almost be a lie. In fact, this whole trip, the only honest people have really been our waiters. The front desk, the cab drivers, the boat captains, the salesman, the vendors all seem to be infatuated with lying. Note to all: Yes, I am annoyed and deeply disturbed the manners and etiquette of the people here. In the end, we gave in to a price. We paid $170 for the two of us, and it seemed as if it was worth it. It was. It...

Day 4: The Ruins!

Day 4: The Ruins!

The sleeping train was awesome. We got on, and were packed into a small room with bunk beds which came out of the wall. We played a few games, read through our travel guides, and had great conversation. Even the food was pretty decent! I’ve never been on a train, much less a sleeping train so the trip was pretty good. As soon as we got to Luxor, we hailed a cab and set off for a hotel. Our cabbie knew some hotls of his own (which he probably made a commission off of), and we looked at his first, and ended up going with the ones in our Lonely Planet. As soon as we got ready and came downstairs, we saw an ad for a hot air baloon by the countery and made an appointment to speak with someone the next day. A hot air balloon sounds real nice and it had to be...

Day 3: Salahuddin’s Castle

Day 3: Salahuddin’s Castle

Yes, we woke up late again. Great. This time it’s a little past 11. The breakfast here isn’t the best. Just had eggs and my favorite part is the Nescafe. There is something about Nescafe all over the east. It’s everywhere in Turkey, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia. We went to the train station first to buy our tickets for the sleeping train to Luxor (south of Cairo) that evening. I bought some sunglasses from a vendor, and then we grabbed a taxi and headed over to Salahuddin’s castle. Needed to grab a bite to eat first, so we explored one of the villages next to the castle. Walked around a bit, snapped a bunch of pictures, decided the hygenic conditions of every restaurant were beyond poor and decided to starve instead. It wasn’t worth it....

Day 2: Everyone Wants To Rip Us Off

Day 2: Everyone Wants To Rip Us Off

We woke up late. Really late. It was 11ish when we finally crawled out of bed, and got ready to leave. It’s a Friday so we went for Juma (Friday services) at Al-Azhar Mosque, which is one of the most prestigious and oldest mosques in the world particularly because it’s connected to Al-Azhar  University. The masjid didn’t look really nice from the outside, but it was pretty OK from the inside. For being one of the most renknowned mosque’s in the world… it looks pretty insignificant. Any mosque in Turkey would overshadow the architecture of this one by a landslide. The khutbah (sermon) was of course delivered in Arabic and we had no clue what was being said, but afterwards we might two students from a university  in Alexandria who...

Day 1: What Happened To Salman?

Day 1: What Happened To Salman?

Leaving the hotel in London to get to Gatwick Airport became a hassle pretty quick. I thought I was going to fly out of Heathrow, but instead at the very last moment while checking out, I realized I was leaving out Gatwick. They’re in complete opposite directions. With only 30 minutes to spare to get to the airport I couldn’t take any chances and sought a black cab to take me there as fast as possible. Note to all: Telling a cab driver in London (or probably anywhere) that you would APPRECIATE if he got you there as soon as possible, and that you would APPRECIATE it very much usually does the trick. Of course, make sure you appreciate with the local currency. We got there in 28 minutes. It’s a 45 minute drive. When I got to the airport, I waited...