h1

First Full Day in Egypt

January 1, 2008

Tom – No football games today!  We had the extensive buffet breakfast that came with our room and were then picked up by Karim, the young man who was in charge of coordinating our trip, and a driver at 8am.  We drove to the Egyptian Museum where we met Aziz, our personal tour guide.  Aziz was a very friendly and knowledgeable older gentleman who knew folks everywhere we went.  He would regularly get interrupted with calls on his cell phone.  We were truly pampered.  Aziz took us in front of the large crowd waiting to get in and we were the first ones to enter the museum when it opened at 9am.

The museum was fascinating with exhibits chronologically from the Old-Kingdom to the Roman Empire.  It’s mind boggling to think that some of these artifacts are from 4600 years ago!  One of the highlights of our tour was the priceless Tutankhamun collection which was unearthed intact in 1922.

Aziz called the driver before we left at 11:30 and he was waiting for us outside the front gate.  We were whisked to the Citadel, which was built by Saladin in the eleventh century to protect the city from the Crusaders.  It is dominated by the Mosque of Mohammed Ali (no relation to the boxer).  Aziz directed us to take off our shoes and enter.  We sat on the carpet near the front as he explained the five pillars of the Muslim faith and a muezzin sang out noon prayers.

dscn0976.jpg

Our driver again met us as we exited the Citadel, next stop the Khan El Khalili Bazaar.  We decided on one hour for us to explore alone.  Though warned by our guide that she would be taken no matter what she bought, Helen was determined to come away with a “deal.”  She examined and priced large scarves at several stalls and then commenced to bargain for four at yet another.  The owner started at about $12 for one scarf.  The two of them went back and forth for 15 minutes and then Helen offered $20 for four.  He said no but when she started to walk away agreed to that price.  Helen was elated!  As we exited down yet another alley of the bazaar, she had to check one more shop that had scarves.  Well, the same scarves were $5 each but the owner would not come down in price.  So, the question is, did Helen get a deal?  The answer, it didn’t matter because she had so much fun and the local observers gave her the thumbs up when the haggling was complete.

dscn0978.jpg

dscn0983.jpg

We met Aziz at a tea/smoking store at the entrance to the bazaar.  We had a cup of sweet mint tea as we watched sunglass hawkers pushing their wares.  How about a genuine Rolex watch for $55?  A pair of Prada sunglasses for $20?  Well, as we left for the car Helen bought those sunglasses for $5.  They look good and it doesn’t bother her that they have made in China printed on the inside.  Aziz laughed as he said that he would have paid $10.

There was a bit of a hassle when we were told we were going back to the hotel without lunch.  I insisted that our lunch was covered by my agreed (paid for) travel plan.  After several phone conversations with “headquarters,” we were taken to a nice Egyptian restaurant near the Giza pyramids for an excellent Kebob lunch.  We were back at the hotel about 5pm to get ready for another day of adventure.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: