Egypt

Around the World Trip - Eqypt Part I: Welcome!

Around the World Trip - Eqypt Part I: Welcome!

Greetings from Luxor, Eqypt, home of the Valley of the Kings!  This is the first post of our Around the World Trip: 6 Countries, 17 hotels, 22 flights, 32 days. A crazy trip to celebrate my retirement!!  So travel along with me to Eqypt, Jordan, India, Maldives, Cambodia and Vietnam.

We arrived safely in Cairo late Sunday evening and very early Monday morning flew south to Luxor to begin our four-day cruise up the Nile River to Aswan. An already short night was made even shorter as Steve (and by association, me) set his alarm for 2:30 am to watch the Super Bowl. He had to stop watching the game minutes before it ended as we had to catch a cab to the airport, which was painful.  It was a couple of days before he finally got to hear the outcome but at least the Patriots won!

Around the World Trip - Egypt Part II: Galloping through the Bazaar

Around the World Trip - Egypt Part II: Galloping through the Bazaar

We were almost tempted to cancel an evening buggy ride through the city of Luxor as it had been a long day, but so glad we didn't  as we got outside the tourist areas to see where the locals live.   We clip clopped through the city, hooves beating a rhythmic rat a tat tat on the cobblestones and got a tour of the "high rent" district, the very low rent district which included a drug dealer's shop, and finally, through the bazaar.   We got waves and hoots from the vendors, many of whom excitedly posed for the camera. Our tour guide Ruby (see the photo above) then took us to his favorite falafel shop for two types of freshly fried falafel.  Delicious!

Around the World Trip - Egypt Part IV: Valley of the Kings

Around the World Trip - Egypt Part IV: Valley of the Kings

Our visit in Luxor concluded with a visit to the incredible Valley of the Kings.  To date, they've unearthed 64 tombs of the pharaohs (including the very famous boy pharaoh, Tutankhamen (aka Steve Martin's "King Tut") who ruled from age 9 to 18.  He's considered a minor pharaoh in Eqypt, famous only because his is the only tomb to date found undisturbed. Unfortunately, no photos were allowed in the Valley of the Kings although many visitors choose to disregard this rule with selfies running amok.   We found that in Egypt, rules are really just guidelines.

Around the World Trip - Egypt Part V: Aswan and the Temple of Edfu

Around the World Trip - Egypt Part V: Aswan and the Temple of Edfu

We awoke the next morning finding that we'd sailed south from Luxor to Aswan and our first outing of the day was a horse cart ride to the Temple of Horus at Edfu. I got a chuckle as Horus is the falcon headed god of the sky, which reminded me of Folsom Lake College. The Temple had a very ingenious layout which took advantage of the position of the sun at various times of the day, strategically positioned skylights as it were.

Around the World Trip - Egypt VI: Nubian Village

Around the World Trip - Egypt VI: Nubian Village

Our last outing in Aswan was a river boat cruise down the Nile to a Nubian village.  The Nubians are a very dark skinned people who were once wealthy landowners in the Nile Valley. More than 100,000 were forced to relocate in the mid 1950's due to the building of a dam by the Egyptian government. Unfortunately, they never regained their way of life. They now open their homes to tourists for a small fee and are known as exemplary hosts. Each brightly painted home contains a wall painting of their old lands, serving as a reminder of what they once had.

Around the World Trip - Egypt Part VII: Visiting the Giza Pyramid

We completed our tour of Egypt with a one-day sprint around the city with our guide, Risk. You can't even imagine the chaos as over 21 million people move around the city on foot, in cars, motorcycles, horse carts, and camels.  It was a visual and oral cacophony: blaring car horns, drivers yelling at one another and weaving through the crowds, colorful horse drawn carts, all fighting for a foot or two of progress on a impacted street. Quick run through the Cairo Museum and the treasures of King Tut, darted into a synagogue, then off to the pyramids.  It was a zoo!  Although tourism is down by about 80%, it was the last day of school holidays so the Egyptians were out in force. We decided to climb up inside the Giza Pyramid, entering in the large opening you see in the photo below.  Climbing up 1,000 feet hand over fist inside a dark and steep shaft, we finally reached burial room of the Egyptian Pharaoh Khufu. Again, we were told no photos were allowed, but folks were taking selfies nonstop. It's Egypt, therefore, the "no photo" rule is just a guideline.