Please turn down the heat!
10.31.2007 - 11.07.2007 38 °C
We spent a week in Egypt traveling to Cairo, Aswan, Abu Simbel, and Luxor hitting the highlights of each city. Seeing the Great Pyramids and the Sphinx in Cairo was fantastic! We’d seen pictures, heard and read about them growing up, but never thought that seeing them in person would be that awesome. Still can’t believe we were there! Here are pictures of both, along with the Step Pyramid, the first successfully built pyramid.
One of our favorite activities was taking a felucca (traditional Egyptian single-sail riverboat) ride down the Nile while in Aswan. We took a 3-hour ride on a felucca named “RELAX”, with its sail hand-sewn by the 2 Nubian men who captained it. As billed, the ride was very relaxing after a day of sightseeing and it helped us cool down from the Egyptian heat.
From Aswan, we took a day trip down to Abu Simbel to see the temples of Ramses II and Nefertari. The statues, drawings, and hieroglyphics within the complex were in great condition. Here's a picture of us in Abu Simbel.
Luxor was, by far, the best location to view ancient Egyptian temples and tombs. As an ancient religious city, it holds many amazing sites, including the Karnak temple, Luxor temple, Valley of the Kings (tombs of the pharaohs), and many others. Here are a couple of pictures from Luxor.
Now, a few notable thoughts not directly related to ancient Egypt…
1. Egypt is HOT -- especially in Aswan. The mornings and evenings are comfortable, but from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM, it‘s blistering hot. We were told that the high on one day hit 42 C (that‘s around 105 F)… this in the “cool” season.
2. Cairo hotel security -- Granted we stayed at the Cairo JW Marriott (on points of course), but the security was incredibly strict. Guards at the entrance checked all vehicles, including the JW Marriott airport shuttle bus we were in. All bags coming into the hotel had to go through a screening machine and the guest entrance to the hotel included a metal detector and pat down.
3. Security part 2 -- Even outside of Cairo (and the JW), there were guard police everywhere, always armed with a gun and often armed with a rifle. They were in front of banks, museums, hotels, all the sites, etc. We even had to go through metal detectors and sometimes bag checks while entering tourist sites.
4. Traffic is chaos. Drivers always drive with one hand on the horn. Lights and white lines mean nothing. A 2-lane road can fit 3 cars, a motorcycle, and pedestrians. Though it was chaotic, somehow everyone knew when to hit the horn and accelerate and when to get out of the way. Being a pedestrian in Egypt is probably one of the most dangerous things you could ever do.
Now we're off to Asia - Bangkok and Cambodia.