Monday, March 13, 2017

Egypt 1: Cairo

Here is the first of a series of posts on my trip to Egypt. (If you want to go - please check out Bucket List Travel/Egypt, a US-based company that runs amazing tours. You won't be disappointed! Right now the Egyptian pound is way down against the dollar, making things very affordable, and I never for a minute felt unsafe.) I loved it!

This post will have photos from Cairo and the airport, just sort of general things. I should mention that George from Bucket List handled everything at the airport, including getting our visas (you buy them there, not before you go) and shepherding us through Customs, and then took care of our registration at the hotel.


It was February 17, but then again, it's not an Egyptian holiday!


This being Egypt, the airport had a smoking room - and, though it's hard to see in the photo, the door was wide open.


The "seasonal terminal" is for travel to Mecca during the Hajj.


Is it bad that I kept thinking about Stargate SG-1 the whole time? Heliopolis!


This is a (very bad) photo of the hotel we stayed at in Cairo, Le Méridien Pyramids. It's actually in Giza, which is not part of Cairo but just across the Nile from it.

Security is serious any place tourists are likely to be - like here, the driveway for the hotel. The bomb-sniffing dog checked out the van every time.



And here is the view out our window!



On the road in Cairo. Egyptians tend to take lane markings as suggestions - many two-lane roads were travelled as three. But I have to say we never saw a single accident. Cairo's streets were dirty, but in a peculiar way: what struck me was how hard they worked to clean them up, but to little avail. They didn't seem to have any large-scale trash pickup, so you saw lots and lots of people sweeping up the trash and then leaving it in huge piles every block or so.

We saw very few large buses except for tourists. Most Cairenes and Gizans travel in little vans that had no stops (though we did see stops on the road to Abu Simbel in the far south) - people just stood on the side of the road and flagged them down. About a quarter of them were women-only, but some were mixed. Here are people waiting for the ride to work:


Here are some signs of globalization.




Here's one of the many lovely mosques.


Here is where we stopped for lunch on the second day of the tour, a nice chain restaurant right on the Nile. (The Nile!!!)






And I'll close this post with these shots of a wedding being held at the hotel - there was one almost every night, and one night there were two.






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