Oct 27, 2012
This morning we docked early in Port Said, Egypt. We got off the boat at 6:30 am, but didn’t make it to the bus until 7:00 am. Egypt is very dirty, even worse than Jerusalem. They also have very aggressive street vendors. But things are a lot cheaper here than the other places.
We had a 3 hour drive from Port Said to Cairo. The buildings/homes throughout this area of Egypt are almost all unfinished. This is the way they avoid taxes. They leave the top floor half built so they can add another floor as their family grows. They have concrete posts and rebar sticking out the top.
Ahmed was our guide, and we had a security guard that carried an Uzi. About half way to Cairo the air conditioning to the bus stopped working. It became very hot and stinky. Some of the older people on the bus were ready to pass out. We finally made it to Cairo and stopped at the National Museum of Cairo. This museum holds over 250,000 exhibits, but we only had a little time there. We saw the treasures of King Tut, and went into a special room full of mummies. After our visit to the museum, we drove over the Nile River and stopped at a jewelry shop. Eva bought some cartouche medallions for the girls and herself. They were about $40 each.
After shopping we ate lunch at a hotel. After eating, we got a new bus with A/C that worked. Our next stop was The Great Pyramids of Giza. We first stopped at an overlook and rode a camel into the Sahara Desert. We took some pictures of the pyramids. It was fun to ride the camels. It cost us $20 each for the ride and tip.
We then went to the pyramids and paid $5 to go into the tomb of the pyramid. We walked down a steer ramp that had a low ceiling, and then the chamber went up into the pyramid. The main tomb room was quite big. There was a vault in the room and we got a picture (for $1) and then were allowed to leave the room for $1. It seemed there were people everywhere wanting money. I’m not sure everyone in the pyramid was there officially collecting money.
After the pyramids we loaded up the bus and drove over to the Sphinx. It was late in the day so the sun was setting right behind the sphinx, therefore we did not get any good pictures.
Everywhere we went there were vendors, both young and old, wanting to sell something. We bought a few things for the kids. They were very aggressive and made it difficult to walk down the paths. They would hand you something, and then not take it back unless you paid them. I had I guy put a bunch of papyruses on my arm and I had to dump them to get away from him.
After visiting the sphinx we stopped and picked up the jewelry that had been engraved. Next was a 3-1/2 hour drive back to the port.. We arrived at the port just before 8 pm. When we walked onto the ship, the Egyptians had about 100 kids there to cheer us on as we boarded. They were very glad to have the cruise ships back in Egypt. Our ship was the first cruise ship to stop for several years, due to violence and political issues in Egypt. It was a very busy day and a lot of driving and spending money.