A Travellerspoint blog

March 2019

Egypt and Jordan

March 2019


View Egypt and Jordan 2019 on roamingnomes's travel map.

Packed and ready to go
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That’s a lot of snow!
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The writer Paul Theroux once remarked that most travel writing begins at the point of the traveller’s arrival at his or her destination. The trials and tribulations of the coming and the going are neglected in the narration. It is as if the traveler magically appears at point a with no mention of bumpy flights, missed connections, cramped seats, etc. So my story will start from our departure from home.

We are now packed and ready to go. We have been prepping for this journey for a while. What is the climate/ weather of our destination, what clothes to bring, the visa process, the sights, the history, etc. So this is the beginning of our story.

Our first challenge will be getting from Reno to the San Francisco Airport. We have had an incredibly snowy winter in the Sierras. I80 which is our main route to California has had numerous road closures and chain controls in place due to hazardous travel conditions. Luckily we have a four wheel drive vehicle so as long as the road is open we should be able to make it to California. We have been watching the weather and road conditions closely and plotting our escape from Reno. Our flight is on the 6th but the only day with decent weather will be the 4th. We will be driving to California on that date and staying with our daughter Sara and her family in Woodland, CA for a couple of days before our flight to Egypt.

Our other challenge will be the short one hour connection time in Istanbul. Yikes!!! Hopefully we (and our luggage) make that flight. If not, Turkish Airlines has a flight at 1am and another at 8 am the next day. I have also packed a small carryon with a change of clothes for both of us. We would be able to manage with that small amount of clothing but here’s hoping we don’t have to. We will be arriving in Cairo a day before the tour so we have a little cushion of time built in to the beginning of the trip.

Fingers crossed. Wish us luck.

Posted by roamingnomes 16:05 Comments (2)

Day Two of Our Adventure

“Travel is glamorous only in retrospect.” Paul Theroux

Due to very heavy rain (sometimes blinding), the drive from Woodland to the San Francisco airport took a bit longer than normal.

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Upon arrival at the San Francisco airport, we learned that our flight had been delayed by 2 1/2 hours. I tried to call the tour company to let them know but our phone battery was nearly dead. We made a quick dash around the terminal to find an electrical outlet to recharge the phone. It appears that electical outlets are rarer than hen’s teeth outside of the gate areas. I finally found an outlet and called the tour company to apprise them of our later arrival in Cairo. It turns out that the tour company already knew about the change which had occurred that morning. Our flight would now leave SFO at 8:55 pm arriving in Istanbul at 8:55 pm and depart Istanbul at 1:30 am the next morning with an arrival in Cairo at 2:50 am. This was actually better than the original flight plan which had a one hour connection time in Istanbul.

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We made it through airport security with little hassle. My new knee didn’t even merit a wanding. I also forgot to take out the 311 bag but it wasn’t noticed. We found our gate area and went for an early dinner as we had barely anything to eat that day. We ate at Mustard’s Grill and the fare was so so. This place did not live up to its reputation but the price sure did.

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Peter’s fish and chips

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Posted by roamingnomes 17:39 Comments (1)

Giza

sunny

We arrived at the Cairo airport at around 3 am. We had been handed immigration cards to fill out on the plane but we couldn’t decipher them as they were in Arabic. Our seatmate on the plane helped us to fill them out. We were met by a representative from Scenic after we deplaned. He took care of the visa process for us. We went through immigration and then were met by our driver for the transfer to the Mena House Hotel in Giza. It was all a very seamless process and only took a few minutes. Well done, Scenic.

The air was smoky and dusty on the drive to the hotel and the nighttime temps were chilly. I was glad we had sweaters. Our transfer guide gave us a running commentary of what we were seeing and some of the history as we drove along. The roads were not too busy as it was early in the morning. Donkey carts shared the road with automobiles and motor scooters. We arrived at the hotel around 4 am.

I washed out our shirts and underwear when we arrived and hung them on the clothesline provided in the shower. (Our clothes were dry by the time we woke up.) We were both exhausted and fell into bed. We slept until 10:30 am. We looked out our window this morning and there was the view of the pyramids. It was a pinch me moment.

Having missed breakfast, we took our showers, brushed our teeth and got ourselves organized. We then went to the atm in the hotel lobby to get some Egyptian pounds. We met our guide outside the hotel on our way to lunch. His name is Ahmed Aziz but he says to call him Aziz. There will be 28 of us on this tour. The group will be mostly Australian but there are about four Americans Aziz says. We will meet tonight 5:30 pm at the Moghul Restaurant at the hotel.

We had lunch on the restaurant patio. It was sunny with a slightly cool breeze. Just perfect. We had the buffet which was fine but would have preferred to order a la carte. We will do that tomorrow if we have lunch or dinner on our own.

They are setting up for a wedding reception tonight on the hotel grounds. We caught a glimpse of the bride earlier. It is sure to be noisy tonight. I had heard that this hotel is wedding central on the weekends so I brought earplugs for us. I hope they work.

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Posted by roamingnomes 04:03 Archived in Egypt Comments (2)

The Big Fat Egyptian Wedding

We will not be able to sleep tonight as this huge wedding is taking place on the hotel grounds. This is like a rock concert. Huge speakers, Jumbotron, large video camera booms hovering over the dance floor.large_36D62D21-B950-4508-972E-8BFBA38B0925.jpeglarge_AC90AE49-4BA5-48C7-A305-CAEAAA199DF1.jpegD0BE6AC6-091F-497A-8213-A32635CD98D3.jpeglarge_1D4663A2-BB0B-44AA-ACE7-C12C2B86A331.jpeglarge_DD0433A8-2D89-48B8-BC3E-4F433D0ACF7C.jpeglarge_B1FB10CC-50C4-4B49-BD04-FCA4F68B82AD.jpeg

Posted by roamingnomes 10:33 Archived in Egypt Comments (1)

Today in Giza

This is going to be a very quick post as it’s late (9:30 pm ) and we have to be up at 3 am to get to the airport for our flight to Luxor. We had a very busy day today. We spent most of the day touring the pyramids, posing for a photo on/with a camel, seeing the solar boat museum and the SPHINX!!! We had a very late lunch upon return to the hotel. We went back to the room afterwards as we were both exhausted due to a lack of sleep the night before. I got our luggage organized and then took a quick nap (and Peter did as well). We took a quick shower and then were back out again for the sound and light show at the pyramids and the Sphinx. We returned around 8 pm. Peter had a queasy tummy and wasn’t interested in eating. He made himself a mint tea to chase down some Tums. I ordered room service - chicken shawarma and fries and a glass of Merlot. There is another wedding going on tonight. It is as loud as last night. They wedding celebrations end around 11 pm or so thank goodness. Tomorrow we go to Karnak and a museum and then we have time on our own to relax. I apologize for the lack of photos with this post but Peter is too done in to help me download/upload them at the moment.

Room Service for one - I offered to share but Peter can’t look at food right now.

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Posted by roamingnomes 11:17 Archived in Egypt Comments (0)

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