This segment was written by L.B.


Good afternoon to all:


I chose to utilize the amazing report by Sandy Forster as the first part of our saga.


However, for a little background:  we (about 12 of us from Rotary District 5810) are attending the wedding of Charles Grimm to Nora Awad May 28, 2010.  Charles is the son of Barbara and J. D. Grimm and they are part of the magnificent dozen, but we will not see them much until the wedding.


Sandy Forster and Bud Carmichael were the first of our travelers and they arrived May 20 about 10 pm.  Donna and L. B. Showalter arrived about 4 pm May 21 (one hour sleep since 6 am May 20).  We are staying at the Hotel President, a three star hotel with lots of ambience for stories.  Next to arrive were the two "twin sisters", Barbara Perryman and Marilyn McSpadden, who are staying at the Marriott, a 30 star hotel with running water and air conditioning and boring business people dressed up with coats and ties.  We were going to make up Rotary there tonight, but our info was wrong and they met this morning.  Therefore, dgnn Sandy quickly huddled with pdg lb to call a impromptu rotary meeting (remember the rules-that where two or more of you meet together, it is a makeup!).


Saturday am we left our safe, secure home to go to the older part of Cairo to visit the Hanging Church -also known as the Coptic Church (early Christian church), a synagogue, a small shopping mall (there is always shopping involved in our trips) and a huge Mosque (the Islam people have official prayer five times a day).  We were not allowed to enter the front of the Mosque but were shown to a side door.  We all had to take off our shoes to attend the Mosque.  Our wives were required to don full coverage (head and cloths-sorta like a huge raincoat) and we were all allowed to enter the main part of the mosque where only men were in attendance and praying to the east.  As we were leaving, we wanted to look into a side area and the guy's were forbidden to approach or even look in the area.  It was for women only.


We returned to our area for lunch at Thomas's (it is listed in guide books as a good place to eat-it was, I had Mexico Pizza (hey, I wanted something I understood).  For supper, we went to a side walk cafĂ© beside the Nile and watched the sun go down.  We decided to have decaf coffee (they did not have any but we told them to tell us that is was caffeine free).  We forced ourselves to share a piece of cherry cheesecake, one piece of chocolate-walnut cheesecake and one piece of "everything chocolate" in a chocolate cake.  We got back to hotel about 10 and talked till about 1 pm and none of us could get to sleep until about 4 because of the caffeine and chocolate overload.   This really created a problem because we had to be at breakfast next morning at 6:30 am for our trip to the Pyramids.


Sunday, the first four of us, left our affordable hotel at 7:30 am to be off to the Spynx and Pyramids at Giza.  However, we stopped for a photo op where Donna and L.B. broke the legs and back of a poor camel during our picture taking.   Our affordable hotel had helped us negotiate (yea, taxis have negotiable prices) a taxis for $50 )(usd).  Our cabbie dropped us off at entrance and promised to be there four hours later. 


As a side bar, the roads here are marked  (white stripes) but they mean absolutely nothing.  If it is a two lane road, then there are at least three cars trying to go forward, along with a few pedestrians and motor  cycles.  Almost every car was built two hundred years ago and is the last survivor in a destruction derby.  I did not dare put my elbow on window edge for fear of loss of limb.  Put Cairo down as a town you would never drive a car and certainly not if you owned it!


Anyway, we arrived about 9:30 am at the Pyramids and the Spynx.  The sites were really amazing.  No one knows for sure how the structures were built over 5,000 years ago.  On one of the Pyramids, it is estimated that some of the cut stones weigh at least 200 tons (about the same as 220 compact cars) and structure is over 465 feet tall.  We also saw a  boat that was buried with one of the Pharaohs for use in the afterlife.  I suggest that you go "goggle" the Spynx and Pyramids at Giza.  It was really a good trip and worthwhile for all.


We returned to gate and were happy to see our taxi, waiting just like he promised.  We were taken back to our hotel for a chance to freshen up and go visit B artbara and Marilyn at the class 30 Marriott for dinner.


More later..., your Egyptian scribe, lbs