Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Experiencing Egypt

May 20, 2008

We have been busily taking in the sights and sounds of Egypt and as we finished our transit through the Suez Canal we were hoping to catch our breath during a few overnights to Karpathos, Greece. It did not quite work out that way, but that story will come later. I will give you an idea of what we’ve done hope to fill in the finer details someday soon on the web page.

After the dolphins we made a stop in a lovely marina in Hurghada, as our port of entry. They have a tower to rival any airport so they know your coming. A beautiful hotel/resort resides with showers, restaurants and a pool there as well and though the right hand and the left hand aren’t quite working together yet, we have no doubt that someday it will be a very convenient and lovely place to stop. From there we took an inland trip to Luxor and viewed the Temple of Karnac and the Valley of the Kings. This requires an early morning militarized motor convoy escort with nearly 100 other tour busses, cars and trucks. You pay a little money, you wave your passports around, you’re on your way. We are still not sure what we needed protecting from but after hours and hours of driving, crazy driving, with a few rest stops in between, our destination was worth the wait.

Valley of the Kings was spectacular and I will sum it up with King Tut’s mummy is actually sitting there in his tomb!!! We were flabbergasted. We did have to pay a little extra to see him, though we didn’t even realize he was down there. We saw Hatshepsut’s temple, Karnac temples complete with hieroglyphics, that the boys are sure they can translate now, how alabaster creations and papyrus are made. Spent a lovely night in a hotel and did the tackiest tourist thing we knew how to do. Eat at McDonalds over looking the Luxor temples itself. You should try a McArabian some day, they are very tasty. The Nile River was interesting. Honestly, it could have been the Mississippi or any other river for all we knew. I don’t know what we were expecting. It certainly does provide some luscious fertile lands for growing all that Egyptian cotton, food for the herds and a major source of tourist income as it is filled to the brim with mini cruise ships that look mildly like giant paddle boats and traditional felucca sailing vessels. In between everything else is hot, dry and sandy. The occasional Bedouin and camel can be seen wandering but fairly empty out there sans military posts.

Next was the dash up the Gulf of Suez before reaching the canal. We were able to motor sail against the winds and made fairly good time without much discomfort. We hid out in Mersa Thelemet for a night until the military there caught on to us and asked us to leave at sunset, as the winds picked up to 25 knots. They stated, “You don’t want to take your babies out into that weather, it can be dangerous, but… you can stay here tonight for $100”. We took our chances and left, finding a perfectly comfortable anchorage just around the corner on the other side of their sand bar. A couple more nights navigating through dozens and dozens of oil tankers and more impressive oil derricks, flaming away and lighting the night sky. At times though, the smell and the flies are nearly unbearable. Next the Suez Canal.

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