Chapter 6

Today is Thursday, May 27, 2010:  It started with a sandstorm and ended with a view!


We awoke to a brisk sand storm, sort like in Lubbock, Texas but no tumbleweeds.  Remember that Cairo is basically in the desert.  It was more like a thick haze that a driving storm, but certainly curtailed our desire to walk anywhere for tourist plans. 


Anyway, back to the story.  Our affordable lodging has  attracted another dozen or so travelers from the wedding party due to affordability and location that is convenient to local shopping and world renown places to eat.  We met some of them at breakfast and they were all below the age of 30.  We invited one young couple to go with us to the Cairo Museum.  They were from Munich and had known the bride and groom in London.  Outside of the hotel, we bargained for a taxi for six people and actually found the only new taxi in Egypt.  The driver was very astute because he had quit his job as an accountant so he could make some good money as a taxi driver.  Since I am a CPA, I really appreciated his decision.  We, along with thousands, arrived at  the museum which appeared to be as old as some of the relics.  Our taxi driver had advised us to spend our time looking at the King Tut artifacts and let the tourist's look at all the other stuff.  It was good advice and we were completely amazed at how many artifacts were on display.  The Pharaohs' believed in an afterlife and were buried with many of their belongings in order to be prepared.  King Tut's tomb had not ever been opened (a very rare event due to grave robbers) when it was discovered in 1922.  I think that it took about 20 years to categorize the contents in  the tomb and the actual removal to the museum.  His mummy was not in the museum.  However, we did get an opportunity to invest another $20 (usd's) to see twelve other mummies from various dynasties.  If you ever get bored, go "goggle" the mummification process.


We completed our visit, got a taxi back to Mansion Thomas for a hot dog pizza and other stuff.  We went back to the Egypt craft store and helped the local economy and walked back (through the haze) to our affordable lodging to get ready for the wedding rehearsal dinner.


Now, let's talk about a party!  The sand storm blew through and we were back to a normal view (still sandy by our standards).


The host had a full size air conditioned bus pick us (about 18 of us staying at the Hotel President) up in front of our affordable lodging at 6 pm for a trip to the Pyramids at Giza.  We were amazed that another moped, much less a bus could get down the street in front of our hotel.  With lots of honking and shouting to taxi drivers to move (double parked on the road) we escaped our neighborhood and started going through the maze of traffic.  At one point we were converging eight side by side vehicles into a three lane road.  This driver took us through parts of Cairo that are probably not on the map, down somewhat dusty roads and into a residential (old apartments) area where the locals were out in the median parkway (generous description) enjoying the evening.


We finally arrived at the Giza Pyramids and the home of the Sphinx (same place we went to last Monday).  However, this was a completely different approach and concept.  As normal tourist last Monday, we entered a gate at the base of the mountains and walked with the other peasants around the grounds.  There is a small area here for about 500 to a 1,000 people to have an evening dinner and look at the lights around the Sphinx.  This is what I thought that we were going to do for the rehearsal dinner.


However, this was not the case.  Our small group of about 180 were driven to the very top of the mountains for a panoramic view of the three pyramids and Cairo.  The complete venue was closed to everyone in Egypt, except for us.  There was no one else in the whole area!!!  This was impressive.  We drove round and around the sandy hills to finally arrive at the top for a full view of the three Pyramids.   Our buses drove us to a spot in the sand that was made just for this party (someone had to know someone in the state department to get this to happen).  The buses let us off at a carpeted area and we were greeted by musicians, food, beverages and many smiles.  Once relaxed, some of us had a photo taken while on a camel with the pyramids in the background.  After a bit of relaxation, we entered into an open tent for a five course feast including Foie gras terrine with eggplant caviar, beetroot & fig chutney; followed by Orange flavored Norwegian salmon gravlax, some Hibiscus  sorbet, Australian veal Medallions & lobster spinach ravioli (dazzled with blue cheese sauce) and topped of with crème brulee with warm chocolate fondant & pistachio ice cream accompanied by Fattinger Champagne, closing with oriental pastries, tea and coffee.  All the while we were appreciating the partially lighted pyramids of Giza and our wonderful surroundings (the Nomads have never seen a tent and facility like this one-just put together for us on the top of the hill).  The Port-A-Pot facility and attendants were far more superior than the facilities at our affordable lodging!

We listened to words of appreciation from the bride and groom, parents, friends, etc  and enjoyed chair top dancing, combo line dancing led by ladies from our own Rotary District 5810 (our small contribution to a wonderful celebration) beverages and cigars and closed down the Pyramid appreciation night in time to return to our affordable lodging before sunup so that we could get a good night's sleep before the wedding party Friday night (7pm to 6am).


More later, your Egyptian scribe, lbs