Egypt

I have always wanted to go to Egypt and my mom and I had a trip booked in 2011. Unfortunately, the revolution began shortly before we were booked to leave. We canceled the trip and went somewhere else. So, I was looking for a place to go and thought about Egypt. I asked my mom to join me and we looked at the US embassy and they don’t have any travel warnings about Egypt.

So we booked the trip fairly quickly and off we went. I was told by a friend of mine that we could easily purchase visas in the airport…we were just waiting to pay an arm and a leg for them…pleasantly surprised to have them cost $25 US and be a very easy process. Makes much more sense than sending the passports off to a visa service. We arrived within a few hours of each other and were met by a friend of one of my friends who was going to be our guide in Cairo.
To begin to describe Cairo, think of the busiest city that you have ever been in and then throw in a lot of post revolution problems.  It is mind boggling. The traffic is insane and people drive wherever they want on the road, lanes don’t seem to be in play. Additionally, most people are using their horns freely so it is quite noisy.  There is also a problem with garbage pickup at present so there are piles in the streets. It makes for interesting travels.
The woman who was our guide took us everywhere in Cairo, not all of which I found fascinating but I can say that we really saw the city, not just the parts that tourists usually see.  We also went to the Giza Necropolis to see the pyramids and the Sphinx.
After leaving Cairo, we flew to Sharm El Sheikh which is on the Red Sea, the water is lovely and the coral reefs are incredible. We planned a few day trips from here and ended up with bad luck. Our flight to Luxor was canceled due to not enough people on it. Additionally, we wanted to go the the colored canyon and the blue hole but the tour groups were hesitant to take Americans into the Sinai. Apparently the British Embassy has had a travel warning for their nationals for 8 months. The US embassy seems to have missed the boat on this. So we had four days at a beach resort. It was lovely but a long way for my mom to travel to sit at the beach.
Anyway, I have a lot of photos so I think I will break them into separate blog posts for ease of viewing. I will start with Cairo and Giza.For reference, this is from wikipedia:

The Great Pyramid of Giza (also known as the Pyramid of Khufu or the Pyramid of Cheops) is the oldest and largest of the three pyramids in the Giza Necropolis bordering what is now El GizaEgypt. It is the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and the only one to remain largely intact.
Based on a mark in an interior chamber naming the work gang and a reference to fourth dynasty Egyptian Pharaoh Khufu,[1][2]Egyptologists believe that the pyramid was built as a tomb over a 10 to 20-year period concluding around 2560 BC. Initially at 146.5 metres (481 feet), the Great Pyramid was the tallest man-made structure in the world for over 3,800 years. Originally, the Great Pyramid was covered by casing stones that formed a smooth outer surface; what is seen today is the underlying core structure. Some of the casing stones that once covered the structure can still be seen around the base. There have been varying scientific and alternative theories about the Great Pyramid’s construction techniques. Most accepted construction hypotheses are based on the idea that it was built by moving huge stones from a quarry and dragging and lifting them into place.
The second and third pyramids at the Giza Necropolis
This gives you an idea of the air quality while we were there
A door in the side of of the Great Pyramid, the pyramid of Cheops
The whole pyramid used to be covered in smooth casing stones. These are the stones that formed the underlying core structure
These guys have set up shop selling water at the base of the Great Pyramid
I like the way they shave the hair on the camels in Egypt. They don’t do this in Saudi
More shaved hair
Going down into the burial chamber of a pyramid
Getting deeper
Mom laying on the ledge where the sarcophagus was
Our guide had us do corny poses
This are difficult to see but they are relief carvings in one of the tombs. You aren’t supposed to take photos down there but we had a flexible guide. I had to snap quickly before the next group came down.
More carvings, these were much deeper and had color
Our guide got into this one but I took it because the carved hieroglyphs are so incredible. To think that these are moving on 5,000 years old boggles my mind. They are incredibly well preserved. Despite my pleasure in being able to get so close to this treasures, and walk on the pyramid, I have to feel that it is a bit shameful as they wont last forever this way
Men looking to pick up fares. You could hire a buggy or a horse and saddle. Mom and I went for the horse and saddle, it was a bumpy ride
Seeing this rise up in front of you is breathtaking!
Sphinx. He is missing quite a bit of detail but still a wonder of construction
This is the second pyramid. The camels in Egypt are Sinai camels, different than in Saudi. They don’t seem to be as highly prized for their looks. Also, the saddles are terrifically uncomfortable in comparison. You have to sort of perch on top and jounce along while with the Saudi ones, you are snugged in between a backrest and the hump. Funny the things I am learning…
The people in the middle right of this photo give you an idea of scale. This guy is HUGE
You can see some of the smooth casing stones at the top of the pyramid in this photo
The architecture of many of the buildings in Cairo is stunning. I loved all of the different balconies
It is common to see horse and donkey carts in the streets alongside the cars. I like the contrast. And how these oranges stayed on here is a mystery, the road is quite bumpy
This is not one of the most colorful but it makes a good example of the difference in paint jobs for vehicles here and at home. Can you imagine a pickup with Mazda in rainbow selling in the states?
More balconies, I like that these people painted theirs such a lovely color
Pretty typical to see high rise buildings with laundry hanging out to dry. My mom noted an interesting fact, most of the men’s undergarments (shorts and shirts) were a pale blue, not white.
This fancy billboard on this building reminds me so much of New York city
Cruise boats along the Nile
The Nile and the city from the Cairo Tower
Not a great photo but all the boats interested me. I assume they are moored here
Cairo from the Tower again. The city is so big
Did I mention the traffic…
I love this photo. It is from the tower and these are pleasure boats that hire out in the evening with the city and very busy streets in the background.
This is essentially the same shot after dark. The boats are so colorfully lit, it is fun to see them on the river
No tripod so you can see my wiggle when the shutter stays open for a while but I like this anyway. Cairo and the Nile at night
More gaily painted balconies
The one at the bottom left is a pretty one
Not the prettiest section of town but it interested me
Cairo from the Mohamed Aly Palace