Day Six: Balloon Day! We had an early boat ride over to the other river bank. Our balloon company thoughtfully provided us with breakfast—one Twinkie each. If this breakfast on the
Day Seven: In Which We Leave
Day Nine: After some wandering and getting lost, we finally found our way to the Catacombs, which is where the Romans buried their families during the period they took over
Day Ten: After the approximately 17 hours it took us to get warmed up, and having to switch rooms to one where the water came out of the faucets instead of heating it and running it into the toilet, we waited for breakfast awhile. And waited some more. And it didn’t matter because after about three hours in Siwa, you suddenly decide that time is the most irrelevant thing in the world and the food can take its dear sweet time. (Incidentally, for me that’s saying a lot, since I’m compulsively early and Lord help the person who gets between me and a meal.) Siwa itself is pretty small and dusty, and dominated by a collapsed fort that withstood hundred of years of invasions only to be destroyed by a few days of unaccustomed rains. We took a wander through the palm groves to the Oracle, which Alexander the Great consulted—I wasn’t expecting much, but it was pretty and interesting, with sweeping views and a deserted complex. Also, we had the advantage of a non-annoying volunteer guide, who strolled around with us and taught me a few words in Arabic. (Most unrequested guides: “That’s a goat. That’s a camel. See the camel? You want a camel ride? That’s a hieroglyph. Very interesting. That’s a camel.”) After giving some baksheesh we were for once actually happy to part with, we wandered past another temple that had been destroyed by dynamite in Victorian times by a mayor who decided he needed some rocks, and then on to Cleopatra’s Bath, a big cold spring that we didn’t go in because hey, it was cold. That night we took a taxi way out to a fancy campsite with deliciously hot
Day Eleven: After a lazy morning (I don’t know if anyone or anything in that town gets going before 9), we had an adventurous little jaunt in the afternoon with a few other tourists in a hotel 4x4. Our driver took us on a ride through the dunes at the edge of the
Day Twelve: We decided to break our usual waste-no-time-or-money habit by taking a day bus back to
Day Thirteen: We spent some time before the next night bus wandering around the city and peeking in at the ethnic cemeteries (that’s a weird description, but Alexandria has a cemeteries district where each lot has a different ethnicity and art style—Greek, Lebanese, etc.) It was kind of quiet, and we saw police in riot gear on one corner. Hmm, that’s weird, maybe we’d better head back to the hotel before yet another night bus ride.
Day Fourteen: On arrival in Dahab via Sharm and innumerable Sinai Peninsula police checkpoints, we learned from our helpful hotel people what the unhelpful hotel people in Alexandria failed to tell us—there had been a religiously-motivated church bombing in Alexandria during midnight services which had left 20 dead and 80 wounded. Oh. Well that explains the riot police. We wander around Dahab for awhile—it’s incredibly touristy and a bit overpriced. So much for backpacker’s paradise. It does, however, have a decent used bookstore, which I happily raided. And then we had a nice dinner.
Day Fifteen: We headed up to St. Catherine’s Monastery at the foot of
Day Sixteen: We take a day bus back to
Day Seventeen: Also not really a happening day. We walk around downtown, eat, plan our desert trip, and take a break from traveling.
Day Eighteen: We took an early morning bus to Bahariyya Oasis in the
Day Nineteen: We get a slow and lazy desert start (well, OK, Mom and I are up early and hiking but it takes the other two awhile to get going). We wander through the desert some more and go on a short mountain climb before ending up in the Oasis, where we get a free night in a camping hut because we’ve been staying at the lodge’s sister hostel in Cairo. Also, they have no other customers. But that’s OK, because it means we get all the hot water to ourselves, all five minutes of it!
Day Twenty: We take a bus back to
Day Twenty-One: Museum Day! We set out for one of the famous smaller museums by metro and find it—closed to construction. Bummer! So we head over to another small sculpture museum, which was—closed for repairs. Hey… Then we seek out a third, which has apparently disappeared from the face of the earth because we walk in circles around the area it’s supposed to be in and don’t see it. Really? Well, not meant to be. So we load up on snacks and go watch The Tourist at the movie theatre, because there are no movie theatres in
Day Twenty-Two: Mom heads to the airport early and I spend the entire day eating—spending the remainder of our money on a variety of food I won’t see in awhile. Sigh. And then it’s back to Madland for me, where there’s no kusherie, but where you don’t need to bury yourself in camel hair to stay warm.
And there you go.