Posts Tagged With: Nile

Reflection on my Trip to Egypt

I’ve been dreaming about going to Egypt since I was about 7 and read my first King Tut article. I’ve been obsessed with Egypt ever since. I own at least 40 books on the subject and am even going to school to become a certified Egyptologist just for the fun of it. Going into this trip I had no idea what to expect. My friend had backed out because of the revolution so I was technically going alone. I had “met” Alexis, Janelle, Megan, and Sonja through Facebook months prior to the trip. This was also my first time flying by myself and my first layover. So I was anxious and excited all at the same time.

Though my luggage was lost and I had to deal with the stress and lack of clothing and toiletries it was still the best trip of my life. It was everything I hoped it would be and more. Contiki, Spring Tours, Sherif (my tour guide), and my tour mates made the trip unforgettable. I honestly wish the trip was longer and covered Alexandria and Abydos.

Despite what was going in Egypt while I was there, I felt completely safe. We were kept informed about what was going on and Sherif kept us out of harms way. In southern Egypt it was completely calm and that’s where we spent the majority of our time. The locals we interacted with were all friendly. They all appreciated the little Arabic I knew and all of them were genuinely upset over my missing suitcase. So many of them wanted to stop and chat and not in a creepy way.

Egypt is beautiful! Words cannot even begin to describe how amazing the tombs, museums, statues, and temples are. You are immediately transported back in time at each site. If I had my way I could have spent hours at each site. There is just so much to see!!! I was like a kid in a candy store. I just couldn’t stop smiling knowing that I was seeing first hand what I have read about and watched on TV. My absolute favorite site was Abu Simbel. I am so glad I decided to take the 45 minute plane ride to see it. It was breathtaking! It is officially my favorite place on earth besides my beloved home city of NYC.

I knew I would be in awe of the history, but I had no idea that the Nile and Red Sea would also bring me joy. Sitting on the top deck cruising down the Nile was literally the most relaxing experience I’ve ever had. You just felt like life couldn’t get any better. The Red Sea is gorgeous and you feel like you are at a Caribbean resort and not in the middle of the Middle East.

I do not regret my trip whatsoever! Best decision I’ve probably made. Would I go back? I want to go back with my family and relive it through their eyes. I want to see places I didn’t go to like Alexandria, Sakkara, and Abydos. Would I go back in the near future? Sadly, no. The area is too volatile. I got lucky with when I went to Egypt and several other countries. There is only so many times you can go to a country during war and revolution and have a safe experience. I wouldn’t want to push my luck. If I had to go back now then I would stick to the south where things are soooo much calmer. It’s a different world down there.

Thanks for reading my Egyptian adventure. I still need to post my postcards from the trip and maybe even some of my souvenirs.

Pictures below aren’t in order. They are just some of my favorite ones from Egypt.

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Categories: Africa, Egypt, History, Travel, Trip with a Tour Group | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

A Kiss from Amun Ra

8/3/13

I decided to stop by the shop again because I really liked the ring I had helped Michael pick out. I wanted to buy a ring or something else. I also wanted to get Sonja and Lexi hieroglyphic shirts with their names on them to thank them for lending me their clothes. I was going to buy Janelle and Megan I love NY shirts back in the states. The cruise people had put out all the pictures they took of us at the party. We each had a pack with our name on it that we could buy. I bought mine but didn’t realize you could have purchased pictures from other people’s packs. I wanted one from Lexi’s. I really liked an ankh ring in the jewelry store and had looked at it every time I had went in. The crazy thing was that the ring was exactly my size. I finally decided to buy it.

I then went to breakfast and ate one croissant. After that I went back to my room to cool off for a tiny bit. Then I joined everyone on the top deck. Janelle, Meg, and Paul were sun bathing. Lexi and Mike were lounging. We all chatted for a while and discussed the difference between the interest rates in Australia and the states. We also chatted with the Trafalgar people who were headed to Greece next. I went back and forth between dipping my feet in the pool and lounging in a chair. Somehow we got on the subject of the Titanic and Kate’s famous pose at the front of the ship. Lexi pretended to be Kate at the front of our ship. Paul says, “You need a Jack.” I became her Jack or should I say…Jackie. We had a lot of fun. There was a great breeze (the same one that had followed us since I prayed to the gods). Sitting on the top deck looking at the Nile and rest of Egypt with the beautiful sun and breeze was absolutely amazing! It was one of those perfect moments in life where you think life doesn’t get much better than this. I was in my happy place.

The night before Sherif had told me that my luggage would probably arrive in Luxor. Then he also told us that Nicole’s bag was found in Cairo’s airport and apparently was never picked up. He also told Janelle. Janelle told Meg and I told Sonja and Lexi. Meg tells Paul and Mike. Eventually Nicole winds up hearing that we know and gets angry at me. I say nothing, but I’m upset. Though we all want to know why she never picked up her suitcase, but no one says anything.

We start approaching the locks and I get really excited. We also passed other cruise ships slowing down to enter the locks. I see the cruise ship that was destroyed by fire, which Weber had posted to Facebook. The vendors started to paddle up to our ship and start throwing blankets and towels up. It was kind of funny. However, I was trying to pay more attention to the locks. I didn’t feel like anything had happened, but I could see the change in the water levels. After we were through the locks the guys in the boats continued to follow us for a bit.

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I went down to lunch and ate some rice, bread, and french fries (hot chips). The fries were good. I left when Nicole came in. I went back to my room and put on CNN. I watched a couple minutes of the Mubarak trial. They they announced that the US Stock Market was on the verge of collapsing. That freaked me out so I went in search of Paul in the restaurant. However, I found Sonja and Nicole instead. She seemed calmer since Janelle and Megan had spoke to her. We chatted a bit. I then went back upstairs to find Paul. I chatted with him and then joined Lexi and Sonja in their room. They were watching the news because there was a bomb in Australia. I went back to my room and realized I had burnt the hell our of my legs while I was on the top deck. It really hurt! Paul gave me lotion to put on it. I had to get ready for Luxor since we were about to dock. I took a hat, changed into a tank top/singlet, and borrowed Sonja’s shawl. Luxor was going to be hot and sunny. I wanted to be cool and covered. Sherif saw my legs and was shocked how burnt I was. I made a comment that it was gift from Amun Ra and he told me it was a kiss instead.

This picture is from two days later. It was less red by then.

Categories: Africa, Egypt, Travel, Trip with a Tour Group | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Dancing on the Nile

8/2/11

I went down to dinner, but then realized most people had changed for the party, so I went back to my room to change. I put on Lexi’s skirt and Sonja lent me a tank top aka singlet. I put my Egyptian skirt around my waist and over Lexi’s skirt. I was so pissed that I didn’t have my costume from my suitcase. I felt so plain. Sonja lent me a shawl to cover my shoulders. I didn’t anything at dinner. We went up to the pool area to hang out for a bit, but it was getting dark. We went down to the lounge for the party.

Some of the Trafalgar people were there. They danced with us for a bit, but the music they were playing was way too hip hop for them and us. We then went to take pictures in the lobby. The guys looked great in their galabiyas. Mike was wearing his rope from the room with his headdress. It was funny. Paul looked like dracula in his galabiya because it was black and sort of had a cape.

We danced for a while, but I hated the songs. So I grabbed my ipod and made a playlist. Then the party got started. I became ipod DJ for a while and so did Meg. We danced to some old school 90’s songs. Of course we also danced to Walk Like an Egyptian. Since this is the only party night on the tour because Egypt is conservative, several of the people in the group decided to drink a lot. The group started to thin out after 12 am. I left the lounge around 1am. I went back to my room, changed, and prepared my stuff for the next day. We had docked in Edfu so I took several photos of it from my room’s window. Bed time.

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Watching the Sun Set at Kom Ombo

8/2/11
We took a shuttle from the plane to the airport and then a bus back to our boat. Once we were all aboard we set sail.

My luggage still didn’t arrive. 😦 I went to lunch because I felt ill and wanted real food. I had super yummy mashed potatoes and some bread. I went back to my room to get cold for a bit. I watched MTV cribs. I also watched the Nile from my bed.

About 3 hrs later it was time to meet Sherif to see Kom Ombo. Sonja, Paul, Michael, and I were the only ones going. Sherif took Sonja and I outside to a tiny ledge so we could watch us pull into Kom Ombo. One false step and we would be in the Nile. We disembarked and walked to the temple.

Sunset was coming and the temple looked beautiful. There were still remnants of color in spots and the hues were brilliant. Sherif showed us a scene that contained images of medical supplies and one where a woman was giving birth. The temple was dedicated to Sobek and Haroeris (Horus the elder). It’s rare for two gods to share a temple. People used to wait to get treated here and you could still see the games and drawings they carved into the floor while they waited. There was an image on the temple wall of a lion biting the hands of its enemies. There was a picture of Cleopatra since the temple dates from the Ptolemaic Dynasty. Sherif kept saying, “Come I show you the best picture.” This kept cracking us up.

Cleopatra

The sun started to set and the place became magical. We took pictures holding the sun. Mike started not to feel well and was looking pale. Sherif sent him back to the boat because he’s had people faint in this temple before, which is strange because it wasn’t hot. I didn’t want to leave because it was like stepping back in time. It was so quiet and peaceful. Sherif showed us the Nilometer and where they kept the alligator.

It was time to break Ramadan for the day so we walked back to the boat. We saw a museum they were building. I asked Sherif what his favorite Egyptian site was and he said Abydos. That’s where Osiris’ head is supposedly buried. Random strangers offered Sherif food and water. He accepted the water.

We went back on the ship and Sherif went straight to dinner with the crew. I went to the top deck and watched Kom Ombo slip away. Everyone on the deck said they didn’t go because they felt they saw it from the boat. All they could see was the top part sticking out from the trees. They really missed out. The four of us who went loved it.

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Sailing on the Nile

8/1/13
We get off the train and it is hot! We need to go down a long flight of stairs and then up a different flight of stairs. Thank goodness I didn’t have my suitcase at that moment. Surprisingly everyone managed to carry their suitcases up and down all those stairs. We got out of the train station and there was our bus. While on the bus, Sherif spoke to us about the day’s schedule and clothing.

We wound up on the MS Miriam and not the Madea or Carmen. We got upgraded!!! We were with Trafalgar and Insight Vacations. We boarded the ship and were told to wait in the lounge for our room assignments. I was room 314 on the third floor. To the right of me were the twins and to the left was Sonja and Lexi. Alli was across the hall. The room was big and beautiful!!!! I was so happy to be able to settle in. I washed the one and only outfit I actually owned (the one I wore on the plane). I had a mini fridge, so I put all my water bottles in there. I was excited to have cold water everyday. I skipped lunch and ate my snacks in the room. I watched the cruise info channel and started to explore the ship.

I ran into the twins who were going to get massages. I went to the basement level in search of the shops. There were two guys working in the jewelry shop helping Nicole. I walked in and picked out a gold cartouche with my name on it. I chose the 2nd smallest size. I looked around to see if I could find anything for my mom, but I couldn’t figure out what she would like. There was a 5% service fee for using my AMEX.

I then went to the other shop in search of clothes and gifts. I picked out a bunch of postcards for myself, a tut mummy, magnets, and key chains. Then I started to focus on clothes. I asked to see a Galabiya, but every one he showed me was either ripped or stained not to mention ugly. He finally pulled out a dark blue one with Nefertiti on it. It was clean and pretty! Now time for shoes or should I say sandals. There was a red pair that were my size that I decided to get. However, right when I went to purchase them I changed my mind. I tried them on again and started to walk around in them and realized they really hurt. I saw a black pair that were in my size and tried them on. They were thong style and were more comfy then the other pair. I charged everything and went back to the room. Lexi stopped by to discuss the price of her necklace. She got hers in silver and I started to wish I had as well. Then we stopped by the twins’ room and discussed it with them as well.

We left the ship and boarded our felucca. Janelle originally started to steer the boat, but then the real guy took over. It was so beautiful and calm! We passed a beautiful mosque. Sherif had the boat guy take a glass and dip it into the Nile so we could see how clear the water was. We passed the botanical gardens on Kitchener’s Island and I was so glad that we didn’t stop to see them. We started to approach the Mausoleum of Aga Khan. He was an imam and his wife would place a rose on his tomb everyday. It was considered very romantic. Then we stopped so we could walk on the sand dune. We boarded the felucca again and Sherif talked to us about the places he had been and his education. He got his BA in Roman and Greek Studies and his MA in Egyptology. He speaks several languages and has never been to Australia or the U.S. While on the felucca Sherif got a call about my bag. They predict it will arrive tomorrow. Somehow I doubt it. We passed the Temple of Khnum (the one in Aswan not the one is Esna). Next we passed the Old Cataract Hotel where Agatha Christie wrote Death on the Nile. We talked about archeology for a bit. We passed a man who was in the Nile all the way up to his head. However, he had a small head so it just looked like his hat was floating.

Kitchener’s Island

Mausoleum of Aga Khan

Old Cataract Hotel

Temple of Khnum

Old Cataract Hotel

We got off the felucca near where a bunch of boys were swimming and hanging out. I suddenly felt very uncomfortable in Megan’s short shorts. We went to a little street bodega. I bought water, chocolate, and postcards. Then we hopped into a van.

Categories: Africa, Egypt, History, Travel, Trip with a Tour Group | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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