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Mediterranean trip -- Port Said/Cairo, Egypt pt.2

Posted May 06 2009 1:32pm

Dr. Romance's travels in Egypt, 11/29/07 Thursday (Port Said/Cairo) continued....

Another ride through the unbelievable Cairo traffic: no lanes, cars going every which way, few traffic lights, often cars have no headlights, donkey and horse carts in the middle of traffic, and pedestrians everywhere! They weave right through moving traffic, and we don't see an accident; although we see plenty of dented cars.  Intersections are completely gridlocked, often two cars are stopped, headlights facing each other. It looks like no one will get anywhere, but lots of horns blare, and somehow we get through.  This time, we go to our Sofitel Gezireh Hotel,  where we have only 45 minutes to 'freshen up.'  What a gorgeous hotel room, with a balcony overlooking the Nile.

European_trip_nov_2007_238

  We snap a couple of quick pictures of the view.  The bed is heavenly, silkysmooth sheets and a firm, soft-topped, mattress, and it beckons, but we can't indulge.  We do manage to take very quick showers, in the gorgeous bathroom, which helps a lot. 

2:15 PM, it feels like it should be night by now. We begin the traffic demolition derby toward Giza. Tomorrow is Friday, the Muslim holy day, and a day off, so this is like Friday nite traffic -- everyone is rushing around. Our expert driver is Mohammed, and we manage to get through the mess eventually. Out in the countryside, we drive along a waterway, which Lamia says is an irrigation canal. Traffic out here is also busy, but much more interesting. This is fertile farm country, and truckloads of huge 12 inch cauliflowers, ripe fruit and alfalfa pass by. One is stacked so high with crates of fresh tomatoes, we can't believe they're not crushed bouncing through traffic. Loaded horse carts, flocks of sheep,goats and water buffalo -- all very rural. we pass a small mosque which is adorned with colored, Christmas-style lights, and I tell Richard it must be his, because he loves strings of lights so much.

We are running so late that the guides find out by phone that we're going directly to the Sound and Light show, moving dinner to after. We all groan, but are glad to get off the bus at the pyramids. We wait, hearing the Japanese narration of the show before the English version. We flash our souvenir tickets at the gate, and enter the courtyard before the Sphynx, where chairs are set up. The pyramids are lit, then the lights go down, and the Sphynx begins to describe history from his time. It's a very interesting hour show, with laser light projections onto the pyramids, illustrating the talk. Cheops face is projected on the Sphynx, to show what it looked like. European_trip_nov_2007_241

An ancient wall next to the Sphynx is used like a projection screen, to show moving images of pharoahs, gods and goddesses. Tired as we all are, it keeps our interest.

Then we drive to the gorgeous Mensa House Oberoi hotel for our delayed dinner. It was once a summer palace built in 1869. From the beautiful 40 acres of gardens, the pyramids loom very close by. Inside, we walk down a narrow white marble hall, where pierced metal lanterns, suspended by chains from the very high ceiling, create beautiful light patters on the walls; to a delicious buffet dinner.

Another 30 minute ride back to Cairo, traffic much lighter now. We stagger to our room, fall into bed. Tomorrow, we'll see the pyramids in daylight.

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