Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Goodbye, Egypt

It's taken me over a month, but I have come to the final post about Egypt.

From Luxor, we took the sleeper train back to Cairo, our Egyptian "home base." I have included this video clip of Luxor that I quite like - our leisurely horse-drawn buggy ride through the city at night. I particularly like the background noise: the clip-clop noise of the horse's hooves and the Call to Prayer filling the city for the last time this day. For visual appreciation, we have the colorful strings of lights for Ramadan and the ancient columns of the Temple of Luxor in the midst of a modern Egyptian city.

We had scheduled in four days in Cairo before returning to Riyadh, so we decided to do two cheap nights in our trusty hostel followed by two "splurge" nights in a hotel with a view of the pyramids. Here is Misha in the hostel, taking advantage of the built-in pets.

And Sebastian looking good in just a bandaid!

We spent one entire day in the City Stars Mall. After so much running around in the hot sun, it was nice to be indoors with everything in one place. We even went to a movie - something we could never do in Saudi Arabia. We thoroughly enjoyed Toy Story 3, and in 3-D no less!

City Stars is a massive mall, the second largest in the Middle East after Dubai Mall (which is double the size). After shopping in Riyadh, I thought for sure Saudi Arabia had the biggest malls in the world, but I guess monstrous malls exist everywhere! The Middle East definitely knows how to do malls.

We hit the rides and the toddler play place, which was perfect for Sebby.

And we enjoyed a simple lunch at Subway. This sub is a plastic display model!

We also took advantage of a face-painting station. The face artist whipped out this Batman in about five minutes.

Here is our pyramid-view hotel, complete with a bathtub, carpet, AC, room service, and a rooftop cafe. (At $70 a night, we thought it wasn't a bad deal.)
Sebby enjoys his juice on the roof.

Josh enjoys the scenery.

The kids on the roof, "sharing" a juice box.

We all appreciated the bath tub. "OK Mom, I'm ready to get out!"

And we enjoyed the covered outdoor pool.

Due to a couple mix-ups, we missed our flight back to Riyadh. Twice. In our defense, the first time was because of the Ramadan time change. Everything moved back an hour for Ramadan, so even though our ticket said 12:00, the flight left at 11:00. How were we supposed to know that? We missed the next flight due to a visa mix-up. We didn't realize that our entry visa for KSA was the faded, unofficial-looking print-out tucked away in one of our suitcases until after we were glumly on our way to another hotel for the night with the headache of figuring out what to do next. But once we realized that we in fact DID have an entry visa and located it, the airline office helped us change our tickets cheaply and we got to enjoy two more days in Cairo. This time, we found a cheap, comfortable hotel right across from the famous restaurant Felfela, which is recommended in all the tourist books. And with good reason. The food was so fabulous we ate there about six times in two days. Humus, beans, lentil soup, eggs with tomatoes and meat, falafel, lamb, cappuccino, ice cream - we sampled it all!

Digging in to our feast at Felfela.

The view from our hotel balcony gives an accurate picture of the night life of Cairo. The city never sleeps.


Bill said...

The story of the mix-up with the visa, and how it turned out--it's like making lemonade out of lemons! :) -mom

Bill said...

Funny picture of Misha with that plastic sub sandwich--it looks real! -mom

Lynn said...

Looks like a great time! Glad you are having fun!

kate said...

How fun to be in Cairo. I am glad you guys were able to enjoy a few nights in a nice hotel and the food, my goodness it sounds yummy!