August 20th, 2010
Seems ages since the last post, that’s only because of intermittent internet, and I keep forgetting to start typing when I get bored. The days leading up to me leaving Alexandria included: more waiting around (Egyptian time business), visited a private beach (with brown water – so by virtue of colour, there was no swimming), went to a private ‘club’ (where swim caps on women were mandatory – yes, we didn’t have them so we had to pay extra), visited St. Mark’s Cathedral and saw relics. And in terms of food, the no fries policy lasted for one day, and then it became the ‘yes please fries’ policy.
The main reason for my fast food diet is because of the lack of my ability to go get local food myself. I don’t speak Arabic, I don’t know where the good places are and what to order. But these last couple days in Alexandria, I managed to try some more Egyptian goodies: Ramadan sweets (so good), Mohammed Ahmed Falafels, Egyptian ice cream sundae (milk with rice, raisins, nuts and Egyptian ice cream) and eating mango Egyptian style (very messy, but tasty).
We ended up going to the largest mall in Alexandria (City Centre + Carrefour) THREE TIMES, all thanks to Ramadan, which means, everything is opened during the morning to 2pm (when we are at training), then everything is closed for the rest of the day. Some places open again after 8pm… What were we to do? Especially on our own sometimes? Go wait until Zara opens in the mall at 8pm!
We left for Cairo on the 18th and madly rushed through the city in less than 2 days. We hit up the pyramids, the sphinx, an all you can eat lunch (without electricity), papyrus/perfume demos and finally the hotel. At night we went to the big bazaar in Cairo, occupying several streets with HERDS of people, like you had to wait to walk type crowd. Bargained and bought some good stuff, I’d like to think. The next day was the Egyptian museum, finally seeing Tutankhamen’s mask, plus the jewellery I wanted (encased in class in an exhibit). The next stop was supposed to be the citadel and Mohammed Ali’s mosque, which were both closed, thanks to my new ‘not so favourite holiday’ Ramadan. We headed off to the Nile on a 2-3 hour ride on some old school boats (which turned into some precious power nap time) and then a good ol’ dinner at McDs’!
Yesterday, we took a night train from Cairo to Aswan (a good 14 hour train ride). Thanks to my friend, Gravol, I managed to sleep practically the entire time. However, had a rude awakening as I stepped outside into the heat. You don’t know what plus 40 degrees is until you step right into the sun in Aswan. The sun is searing, the wind is like a hot blow dryer and everything you touch burns your fingertips. Despite the hotness, we headed off to see the high dam, the unfinished obelisk, checked into our 5 star Nile cruise for lunch and just had a chill afternoon on the rooftop mini-pool.
So, at this current moment, I am sitting on the bed of my air-conditioned hotel room, on a boat, with a window balcony that has the view of the Nile, watching black and white tv shows and painting my nails. We are spent from dancing (all 4 of us) on the 3rd floor of the boat on an empty dance floor to old tunes (Macarena, mambo italiano, celia cruz).
Tomorrow plans: sleep in (yes!), buffet brekky, city center visit, chill out by pool… I know, I live a very, very, difficult life! I just hope I don’t get sea sickness when the boat moves…