Chapter 5

Today, May 26, 2010 shall forever be known as the "step day".


Again, the magnificent four (Sandy, Bud, Donna and Scribe) awoke and had breakfast early because we were making the 200 kilometer trip to Alexandria.  We had bargained furiously yesterday for a "good price" for a Toyota Camry with air conditioning and an English speaking driver.  We delayed our driver a little bit and did not get away until 7:45 am.  This caused us to be in the middle of rush hour traffic, but I have never noticed any difference in the traffic or the driving, regardless of the hour. We squeezed our way out of town (but I did not see much change in the congestion) and started on the three hour (each way) Indianapolis 500 race between huge dual trailer 18 wheelers, motor cycles, cars and something that reassembled some older cars and three wheel carriages.  Again, as mentioned in a prior message, I did not dare to put my elbow  outside of our car.


After about an hour, we stopped at a sorta nice roadside cafĂ©, complete with green grass and some other monkeys.  To be polite to our driver (he insisted) we agreed to have Turkish coffee.  We all took a slice of it (I am not saying it was strong, but it sure was tough.  Again, to be agreeable, the majority of our tribe (that is what it is called out on the nomadic desert) did succumb to consider a breathing treatment for our lungs.  This is not to be confused with smoking something unknown to mankind out of a smoking water bottle.  However, I will say that we did get along real well the rest of the trip into Alexandria.   There was highway construction the whole trip and new residential developments all along the journey.


Upon arriving at "Alex" (local jargon), we went by Pompeii's Pillar,  but we did not stay since we had already seen the real Sphinx at Giza, beside the Pyramids (back close to Cairo in earlier releases).  We then drove to an old Acme Brick (I am almost positive that is what it said in Arabic) plant to see some early model Mosaics that were several thousand years old.  We then drove to a flat spot in the road and walked over to see what everyone was looking at.  We paid some amount of money and entered into a fenced in area where people were standing in line to go into some hole in the ground.  We proceeded down some 90 steps into  a catacomb to reach the first level of a 300 slot facility for past district governors that just keep on talking.  This was to level one of about three and we were saved (had a chance to go back up 90 steps) when Donna decided the quarters were a little cramped.  Since I am not only a good scribe, but a good tour guide, I volunteered to lead back up the 90 steps.  The other duo came out directly and we agreed that it was time to partake of some Alex style vittles.


Our taxi driver suggested a "special place" with a good view of the Mediterranean  and we stopped at the Saltara Stanlley.  This time, we got to walk up to the third deck (75 steps) of the restaurant to receive a 180 degree panoramic view of the Mediterranean.   We were doing quite well, just taking in the view when a husband, wife and two daughters (age 8 and 12) came to sit beside of us.  As you know, future past district governor Sandy Forster never met a stranger!  We were getting along real well with the family until Sandy got herself invited into playing Connect Four with the 12 year old girl.  As we watched in unbelief,  Sandy dramatically gave the young girl a lesson in U. S. Diplomacy and our goal to win at all costs.   


We quickly finished our meal and snuck down the 75 steps before the Egyptian State Department had a chance to learn about our non-diplomacy.  As we were going down the steps, we had another chance to consider a breathing treatment.  We did decline.


Next, we rode by the Royal Jewellery exhibit (we rode by because we had missed the hours it was open, we were too late).  We then went to the Alex Library, a beautiful library and exhibit facility that is probably in a class by itself if compared to any other in the world.


Then, as if our taxi was going to turn into a pumpkin if not back to Cairo by a certain time, our race car driver put fear into our hearts and drove (in some cases pointed us) back to Cairo at speeds close to what I have achieved on the Audobon!  We got back to our affordable accommodations and were quite relieved to be "home".


More later, your scribe, lbs