We arrived in Cairo at 7:40am on May 4th, after seeing the Pyramids and the Nile in flight we landed to meet our transfer guy Yasser who took us to Le Meridian Pyramids. After making our way through the trafffic of Cairo (which is crazy because no one uses the lines, mirrors or indicatiors the only tools you need to drive with in Cairo is a horn and good brakes so you dont run over the many pedestrians running across the road) we arrived at our hotel at about 9:40 to be told that we couldnt check in until 3pm argh! i hadnt slept on the 10hr overnight flight and was in good need of some relax time, but Yasser worked his majic and before i knew it i was sunbaking by the pool over looking the pyramids! Then it was back to the room for a quick nap before heading out for tea, but the next thing i know we are getting our wakeup call for our pyramids and museum day trip - crap we had slept for 14 hours!! The tour was a bit of a suprise because we hadnt booked it or paid for it Sun Island tours who we booked the hotel through must have organised it for us. Yasser left us with our egyptologist guide who too us out to the pyramids. Its so amazing just to see these huge structures standing in front of you. After hearing the history and construciton on the Great Pyramid (which is too much to go into now) we headed to the panorama to get some great shots of all 3 pyramids. Then it was a camel ride through the desert to the sphinx which was awesome! Once on site we learnt the story of how the sphinx lost its nose - the sphinx represents strenght and protection for the 3 kings buried at Giza, but a later chrisitan king thought that the sphinx was enticing people to the pyramids and he was scared that this would turn people back to the old religion, therefore he decided to destroy it to stop people heading to the site. As only the head was showing at this time because the body was covered in sand he decided to remove the nose first - however only days after trashing the nose a massive earthquake went through the town and he took this as a sign from the gods that he should leave the sphinx as is - so thats the story. From there we headed to a genuine papyrus factory where we saw how the paper was made and even bought a few pieces - an egyptian calender and a love story. Then it was lunch - mmmm felaffel sangas, they are awesome not like the flavourless dry felaffels at home, i have a new fav fast food joint and its called felfela. Next stop the egyptian museum - the most impressive exhibit inthe museum is that of Tutenkamen. Tut was know as the young king becuase he took over the throne at the age of 10 and only reigned for about 10 years until he died (knee problems or something), the speciality of the discovery of his tomb was that it was found with all his treasures - it was untouched the grave robbers had never found it. The ancient egyptians believed that in the afterlife they would need to have alltheir most precious belongings with them, therefore their tombs were full of the kings possessions - also Tut dindt want to work in the after life as he never worked during his life so he had made over 370 worker statues - one to work each day of the year for him (he made a few extra just incase one or two got broken). His treasures, especially his jewlery collection was very impressive and is still very similar to current jewlery. Looking at the items in his tomb makes you realise how advanced they were 4000 years ago - he had a fold out bed with hinges on it! After the museum it was off to a perfume factory where we ended up buying some scents - the base for angel, some boy one and the lotus flower scent which is not exported from egypt - while there our guide arranged for cartuche (name in hieroglyphics) pendants to be made for us. The it was back to the hotel to prepare for the sound and light show at the pyramids. Since it wasnt too far away we decided to walk - boy was that a wrong idea. Everyone in egypt wants baksheesh (tips) so they are all really eager to help you - so this guy with a handgun strapped to his belt decided he wanted to show us the way - how could we refuse? so he got us hald the way then wanted his tip and turned us down some side street - turns out it was the worng one cos next thing we are in some dark alley being approached by every man and his dog to help us find our way, then some guy wanted to take us out to the desert on his horses to watch the show from there, he wouldnt back off and was kinda backing us into a corner - anyhoo we got away and started working our way through the dingy back streets. Even though i was really well covered up all the men stare and make sly comments or were asking brent 'how many camels?' and then all the little boys are blowing me kisses and telling me they love me. Eventually we got there, half way through the show which is pretty corney itself but is a great photo op. After the drama we decided to catch a taxi back to the hotel. On the 6th we changed hotels to the Pharoahs hotel - we were expecting it to be a hole but we werent expecting to find food in our bed ewwe!! Instead of spending time in the mankey hotel we headed out to see Cairo tower - once we were like 20m out of the hotel we were approached by Mohammed (Mo), a local with an Australia top on. He told us that the tower was closed and took us for mango juice and a sheesha pipe which is basically a big bong that you smoke nicotine free flavoured tobacco through - we tried apple nice. Then as we were hungry he took us back to his store for lunch, this was all free of course to talk us into buying his goods - so i bought some earings. We decide to head back to the hotel and who should we find in the bar but drunk aussies (who had also been fleeced by Mo) so the night consisted of drinking and sheesha which left me feeling stoned (no idea how as there is no weed in it) and started Brents downfall (although that could have been the chicken.)
On the 7th our tour offically began and it was a re run day for us cos it wa the pyramids and the museum, the only difference was that we stopped at the second pyramid which i got to enter. It was pretty cool knowing that 130m of limestone blocks are above you. But as the Giza pyramids were built before tombs were decorates with hieroglyphics it was basically just a huge room with a scarcofigus (no mummy as he was stolen when the tomb was robbed - they do this because the king ususlaly has his most precious gems etc wrapped within his bandages). After a full day it was an overnight train to Aswan, it departed Cairo at about 10:30pm and we arrived in Aswan at 12:30pm the next day - 14 hours on a recliner chair with no sleep and a hideously disgusting toilet is not my idea of fun. Althought it was a good oppertunity to see the outer suburbs of cairo which looks a hell of a lot nicer that the inner cairo circle - anyway we will be catching the plane back to Cairo!!