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6/9: Day Fourteen, Luxor to Cairo
We got up early (again) in order to catch a plane ride back to Cairo. In the airport, Murray listened to my song (the only other people on the trip to hear it were Ashley and Brent, and Ashley liked it so much that he listened to it and the rest of the CD it was on on the plane back... of course, I must mention at this point that he slept through the entire thing, lazy bum) and we talked about his musician past. Um, yeah, back to the trip. (I'm trying really hard not to get sidetracked, honest!)
Aww, Ash asleep on the plane. How cute.
So, yeah, we got off the plane and headed almost directly to the bazaar in Cairo, which is HUGE to the point that if you deviate about two turns from the main path, you are hopelessly lost and should not hope to see the rest of your tour again, ever. I picked out husbands for Caroline and I (who were, of course, the brothers Kapell), and off we went, on a sheesha buying mission. Caroline wanted to get one for Josh and Brian just wanted one, so we pretty much watched them... and I told Murray not to let him buy me one...
... and he failed. First place we went to, Brian talked to this old lady for a long time. She was detailing how high quality her items were, and Brian, although he liked the stuff he saw there, wanted to check out the place that Amadeus had recommended, right near this cafe where we were all meant to meet up. So, we walked to the second place, which had a much larger selection, and Brian tried to haggle (which, I must admit, was quite amusing, because he really sucked at it). We each ended up getting a pipe there, although Caroline suffered from being rushed, because she misunderstood how much 80 Egyptian pounds were (that's about $23 US), so she didn't buy this big sheesha she wanted, because she thought it was too expensive. Then we scurried to a little store to buy tobacco and coal, and then went back to the bus with our purchases, at which point Caroline started being upset with herself for getting the little one instead of a big one she had liked as much. I told her that if she found a bigger one the she liked better, I would buy the little one off her, which seemed to make her feel a bit better.
Houses in Cairo; this is what they look like all over Egypt. The families build multiple levels above them for the next generations, much like in Greece.
Paul and this guy from the tour company (Mr. Mohammed?) at the bazaar.
Anyway, we stopped at McDonald's for a quick bite to eat (I know, it's pitiful, but you need to be super careful where you eat in Egypt), and then headed to our hotel in order to rest and enjoy the rest of the day. We jumped in our suits and headed down towards the pool, where we experienced more of Egyptian modesty; the women not only keep themselves completely covered normally, but they wear bathing suits which completely cover their arms and legs, and some even wear swim caps to keep their hair hidden. I couldn't believe the amount of fabric these women were sporting.
At the pool, we also got to see Alison be a complete fool. Murray was outside the pool, talking to Tracey, Debbie, Caroline, Jess, and I, who were in the pool. Alison decided that this would be a fun time to kick-splash Tracey into submission. In doing so, Alison gets the kind of leg cramp which makes every part of her calf rock-hard and almost causes her to drown in order not to scream out loud. Okay, ow, that hurt. Everyone is looking at her stunned. Three minutes later, the leg feels better, so Alison decides to try again. Gets same cramp, other leg. Wants to drown in order to escape mass embarrassment. Um, yeah. Okay, then Alison does handstand in pool. Little kids decide to push her over. End up running into her in the process of her coming, up, smash her nose into little bitty bits o' firey pain. Argh.
Okay, so the point here is that Alison is dumb. Went back to the room, got dressed, and while we waiting for Caroline, Murray and I talked outside near the tennis courts, where I gracefully leaned back and got rust-colored criss-crosses on my back. (I know, you are amazed at how well I'm doing.) We all decided to walk to the little store near the hotel where Caroline wanted to look at sheeshas (but which was closed for siesta the first time we tried). This one place had one Caroline liked, but she asked them to bring some different parts in over night, and told them we'd be back tomorrow. We had some drinks (Alison: mango juice I had to CHEW! mmm) in the hotel bar, and then we got ready to go to TGI Friday's.
Yes, they have TGI Friday's in Cairo. The difference: people don't speak English there, and the food isn't as good.
Getting to Friday's was almost more of an adventure than being there. Paul got into an argument with the taxi guy at the hotel, and the taxi guy threatened to call the cops, which is a weird thing to hear in a country where the tourist police carry a shitload of weaponry but no one cares if people run red lights. In the end, everything was okay, and 7 of us piled into a cab, almost died on the way, and got there. Phew.
Dinner: slow. Not exciting. Alison was tired. Wanted to go home. Didn't feel good. Did go home, eventually, getting to enjoy (well, enjoy is a weird word for it) Andy trying to declare his love for another person on our trip. :)
The rest of this night is something best left to the real journal that I kept. :)
Our table, smiley, at Friday's!
Murray, Alison, and Brian hang out with drunk Aussies.
During the cab ride back, we took pictures to ignore our impending death. Here, in the middle of the cab, you have Andy, Caroline, and me :)
Back seat: Murray, Jody, and Kylie.
And, in the front, we have lovely Helena. Those little flowers hanging from the rear-view mirror were like mini gardenias, and the taxi driver insisted on giving me some when I remarked on how wonderful they smelled.