We arrived in Cairo yesterday morning at 07:00 a.m. and met by my longtime friend Ahmed from GAT Tours. Nine years ago I had organized an intensive 12 day tour of Jordan and Cairo with Ahmed and just a few weeks prior to our departure the Arab Spring (Revolution) happened. He and his company were kind enough to reimburse us all in full when we cancelled. Fast forward to September 2018 and I contacted Ahmed again and he remembered us well.
This time I told him we’ve got a group of 8 interested in a similar itinerary. From September till a last month, with a lot of work and tweaking we managed to build an itinerary which seemed to suit everyone. So here I was at the Airport meeting Ahmed for the first time in person! It was a lovely reunion!
When our driver arrived at the Meridian Pyramid Hotel, there were underground cement pylons which blocked the entranceway to the Hotel. There is a police booth and an explosive sniffing dog who walks around the vehicle and then they take a swab of the steering wheel to ensure there is no trace of explosive powder.
Once cleared, the pylons are lowered underground. You then enter the hotel at a security control and place your purse/bags etc. on the belt to be X-rayed. Your hotel room card activates the elevator to get up to your room. The same type of security precautions were exercised at our hotel in Jordan. We appreciate this precautionary measure.
Today is our first tour day with Sayed, an Egyptologist and Mohammed, our driver. We were taken to the Pyramids of Giza followed by the Sphinx then a camel ride by the Pyramids then onto Memphis (not Tennessee) followed by a typical Egyptian lunch consisting of hummus, baba ghanoush and tahini (eggplant dip) and a cucumber yogurt.
The main meal was rolled baked ground lamb, and a kind of tandoori style chicken with seasoned rice. Fresh melon, grapes, bananas to finish the lunch. The fact that the temperature was hovering at 44 Celsius since 10 a.m. as we climbed pyramids and lowered ourselves to the mummification chambers and drank optimum bottles of water left us with little appetite to finish eating all these fine platters.
All 8 of us had to have drank a minimum of 6 bottles of water each and never needed to pee! It just evaporated!! As we left the restaurant there was a breeze passing by which felt like a blast of furnace heat! I’m sure we melted a few pounds after a 5 km walk in this heat!!
Tomorrow we head out to Alexandria, known as the Pearl of the Mediterranean. In my Geography class in 6th grade we studied about Alexandria and I had promised myself that one day I would see this extraordinary city! Looks like the day has come!! Thankfully the weather is supposed to drop to 34 degrees!
Greetings from all of us!