Saturday, March 19, 2011

Week Sixteen Daily Journal

Friday, January 14
Dahab, Egypt

At the Funny Mummy
We treated ourselves to the buffet this morning and spent the day lounging around by the pool and the ocean.  Eventually we made our way into town and checked into Red Sea Relax - a nice and very reasonably priced hotel in Dahab.  We had dinner at King Chicken (really cheap but good lamb, chicken and lots of sides), returned all the sim card stuff and then went to Funny Mummy for a sheesha and lemon juice (not sure exactly what it is, but it tastes like melted ices, yum).

Saturday, January 15
Dahab, Egypt

This is no Argentine bus.

We spent the day at the beach and around town and had lunch at a tasty Thai restaurant.  Then we moved ourselves to the nearby Yalla Bar for tea and sheesha.  We had dinner with two people from the hotel, Ricky and Dean, at a New Zealander owned burger joint called Chillax - ha! - and then met back up with the Chileans to catch our night bus to Cairo.  The 9 hour ride was horrible (for me at least, Dave thought it was ok) - freezing cold and so cramped.  And also it smelled really, really bad.

Sunday, January 16
Cairo, Egypt

Outside the Egyptian museum.
This is the farthest we were allowed to take our cameras.
We arrived in Cairo around 5 am.  Our taxi couldn't find our hotel, Juliana Hotel in Garden City, so we wandered around in the early dawn light until we spotted it- a small sign in the 3rd floor of an office building that was under construction.  Luckily they let us check in right away and we passed out for a few hours.  Our room was kind of weird- 4 beds and a sort of interior bathroom with walls that didn't go all the way up.  It was just for us though (thank god - that would have been awkward with the 3/4 walled bathroom) and we quickly managed to spread our stuff out everywhere.  When we woke up we headed out for the Egyptian Museum, stopping for a quick juice and falafel (which turned out to actually be a french fry sandwich).  We hired a guide (unnecessary) and toured the giant and overwhelming museum. Highlights were Tut's treasures and the animal and human mummies.  We spent a long time in the museum and then went to a nearby restaurant recommended in Lonely Planet where we shared lentil soup and lamb. We spent the evening relaxing in our hotel, which was run by some really nice people.  We hope everything is okay with them given the hotel's proximity to Tahrir Square.

Monday, January 17
Cairo, Egypt

Learning (from child laborers)
how to make a silk rug.
Happy Birthday Davey!  We celebrated with a trip to the pyramids with a guide and driver.  We went inside the pyramids at Dahshur, walked around at Saqqara (the oldest ones) and, after a quick falafel and shwarma stop, saw the Giza Pyramids and the Sphinx.  We even did a quick camel ride for the iconic photo.  (See post, Giza Pyramids).  We were dropped off a the Giza train station so that we could buy our tickets to Luxor and took the (surprisingly clean and nice and super cheap) metro home.  On the way we checked out the nice hotels (or rather, nice hotel bathrooms) near our hotel, the Intercontinental and Four Seasons.  Dave's birthday dinner was at Taboula, where we shared some Lebanese mezze and really delicious grilled chicken. I had asked the maitre'd to make sure there was a candle in Dave's dessert, and they unexpectedly brought out a random dessert with a candle in between apps and entree.  I guess that was a request that was lost in translation. 

Tuesday, January 18
Cairo, Egypt

Self-portrait in the mirror at Al Fishawi
We spent the day in Khan al-Khalili and old Islamic Cairo, walking around the market and exploring a few mosques.  Dave bought some mint and cinnamon from an exceptionally smooth salesman.  We had fiteer at the Egyptian Pancake House- sort of like pizza on a crepe dough.  Yum.  We also had tea and sheesha at the famous Al Fishawi where we chatted with an Egyptian pharmacist for a while.  (See Post, Khan al-Khalili).  Later, for dinner, we went to Sequoia, a trendy restaurant in the Zamelek neighborhood.  The low white couches and Nile setting were gorgeous and we had some tasty food (although probably should have skipped the sushi... I just couldn't resist).

Wednesday, January 19
Cairo, Egypt

At the Giza train station.
Today we tried all the traditional Cairo food we'd been wanting to try.  We started with fresh juice and then a sweet fiteer- a hot, flaky crepe with coconut, raisins and honey.  Yum.  Then we walked to the Egypt Air office to buy our tickets from Aswan to Cairo - after waiting in line forever we were happy to find out that they were half the price they were if we had bought them online (which we weren't able to do successfully for some reason).  Next to Abu Tarek, the "palace of koshary", a traditional dish of rice, pasta and lentils, topped with chickpeas, fried onions and spicy tomato sauce.  Really delicious but we couldn't make a dent.  We walked across the bridge to Zamalek, checked out the Marriot and made our way back to Sequoia where we hung out and enjoyed their free wifi.  That night we took the overnight train (which was very delayed) to Luxor.  We were "lucky" enough to share our train car with a group of heavily smoking Chinese men.  Dave (bottom bunk of our 2 person compartment) thought the sheets were really clean; Jesse slept in all her clothes and made sure no part of her skin touched a sheet.

Thursday, January 20
Luxor, Egypt

This Japanese fellow hopped over the rope,
climbed up on the ancient, priceless statues
and posed for photos while his friends snapped away
The train arrived late and we pushed through the crowds of taxi drivers and headed for the river.  The train station was on the east bank and we were staying in the west bank, at the Beit Sabee guesthouse.  It was a 1 pound ferry ride across the river and then we took a taxi to the hotel, arranging for the driver to pick us up again in an hour.  We didn't love the guesthouse at first glance but it quickly grew on us and by the end we were really sad to go.  That afternoon we toured the sights on the east bank - Karnak Temple and Luxor Temple.  Both were impressive but Karnak especially so.  We had had lunch at Sofra (really good mezze) and dinner near the guesthouse at Happy Hapu - the food was ok, Dave felt his chicken was unreasonably small - he's not yet used to non-genetically-engineered chicken, I guess.  The owner was very nice though and after dinner we sat around the fire with him drinking tea.


  1. Oooh nice ads! Glad to see you're monetizing the site. Maybe you'll earn enough to travel for 2 years (I shudder at the thought)...

  2. Yep, we're really raking it in.


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