Egypt and Jordan Expedition 2005
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Travelogue #1: Cairo and Giza

Hello! I am sitting in a small Internet cafe in a backstreet-Luxor bazaar. Egypt so far has been the adventure of adventures. I'm here in Egypt with my good friend Kelly (also in the ancient antiquities business), his wife Michelle, and our guide/friend Abdel. We have climbed several pyramids, visited villagers and walked miles of Sahara desert.

Our hotel in Cairo was great... for mainly Arabic tourists. My windows all looked out upon the Giza pyramids, so I could lie in my bed and see the Great Pyramid.

On the first day, we descended the burial shaft all the way into the heart of the Red Pyramid. There were no lights inside so we found our way with flashlights. It's the first true pyramid built anywhere and we studied the architecture and burial chamber closely. There is graffiti in there from Napoleon's men, written in the smoke of their candles. We walked around the Black Pyramid where Kelly found a Death Stalker scorpion... the most deadly scorpion on earth. He's a huge scorpion lover. I found some Egyptian scarabs and lots of pottery shards as well. The weather has been cool and it actually rained a bit on us that sunset. It was beautiful.

The second day, we visited the mosque of Mohammed Ali and the Egyptian War Museum, where Kelly and I were swarmed with children (particularly the groups of young Arab schoolgirls) wanting to take their picture with us. We walked through a huge Islamic cemetery where 50,000 people LIVE in the tombs. One family let us in and we were able to look around and talk to them for a while. Then, on our way to an Egyptian perfume shop, we were abruptly cut off by a donkey cart. It is utter chaos attempting to drive in any Egyptian city but we have an experienced Egyptian driver all the time. We then closed out the day at the Cairo museum in the King Tutankhamun rooms. We have to go back because there on the next Cairo leg because there is still so much to see.

Waking up the first morning. We got in late at night. When I awoke and pulled apart my curtains, this is what I saw.

Day 1: We were hassled by the Egyptian military but got out of Cairo okay. First stop (in the Sahara desert, the first stop can be hours away): The Red Pyramid

The Black Pyramid.
Doesn't look like a pyramid anymore, now that the limestone blocks were pillaged 2300 years ago.

The Bent Pyramid. An engineering marvel of the time. Before any true pyramid had been built. We had to have a machine gun-totoing guard on cameblback.

Note the AK-47 under his saddlebag. It was literally the four of us out in the middle of the desert with this guy.

Abu Ruwash. We were some of the first people in a long time to swee this temple site. We had to convince a local land-owning Egyptian farmer to let us onto his land to go back and see it.
It actually rained here this day.

Abu Ruwash. Huge ceremonial bathing vats.

Visiting the Islamic citadel in the heart of Old Cairo. We were almost celebrities with the kids!

...And the young ladies

Lush palm trees in the Nile Delta

Very beautiful canals. Except for the (quite) occasional bloated cow carcass.

The Cairo Museum. No cameras allowed inside. I thought I'd try to sneak one in. I learned not to mess with their system.
This is me in detention.
That night, at 9:30, we got on the train to Aswan, which takes 8 Egyptian hours (14 American hours) to arrive. Fortunately, we had our own cabin with 6 seats so we were able to stretch out and nap a bit throughout the night.
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