Friday, December 01, 2006

Egypt - Friday

Let me begin by saying that my husband ROCKS! He is the most thoughtful, considerate, and intelligent man I could imagine traveling with to Egypt. The three things we wanted to do most were: visit the pyramids, see the Pharaonic Village, and sail on the Nile. We had read that the area around the pyramids is full of aggressive salesmen and tourist "junk". The Village is a ways out of Cairo. The Nile cruises are "iffy" depending on your guide. I kept mentioning all the horror stories I had read online and he would respond, "It'll be fine, I have a plan". I finally gave up! This is the day he planned for us!

Phil, a private tour guide originally from Canada, picked us up at our hotel at 7am. He was 10 minutes early which is a big plus in my book! He went in a pharmacy with me and helped me pick something to dry up Maria's nose. He speaks Arabic and it was so great having him to help.

Then we headed for the stables, yes I said stables! We were outfitted with chaps and they led out our horses. Then all these Egyptian men threw my baby on a full size horse. Heart failure for the Mama, but no time to worry as it was my turn. Maria calls out, "Just hop on Mama, you can do it!". And I did - without embarrassing myself or having any unwanted help on the "backside"!

Then we rode across the desert to the pyramids from the backside so we avoided the bulk of the tourist junk and the salesmen. It was absolutely amazing to watch as the pyramids grew and grew. We laughed quite a bit as none of us had ever truly ridden a horse.

We got off after an hour and walked around the pyramids for an hour. It was just fascinating to see them up close and we even got to SIT on one. Lots of camels around too, but Phil took care of the salesmen. About the time my rear end had feeling again, it was time to mount up and head back!

After we returned our horses to the stables and had something to drink we headed to lunch. Phil took us to a restaurant named Lucille's. It is owned by an American and she fresh grinds her hamburger. All the adults had cheeseburgers and Maria ate a second breakfast! This was the BEST burger I have ever eaten. It could be that I haven't had a real burger since this summer or the fact that I was STARVING but anyway it was delicious. Then we walked around in the area and Phil helped us buy an alabaster candle holder and a crystal with the death mask of King Tut engraved in it.

Then we were off to the Pharaonic Village. This is an island in the Nile that has been recreated into a working area of Ancient Egypt. We went on this barge and were able to see lots of exhibits of how the Ancient Egyptians lived and worked.

They even had a re-creation of how King Tut's tomb looked when they opened it. That was interesting since had just seem the "real" artifacts yesterday.

From the Village we headed down the Nile and boarded a sailboat. We sailed the Nile and watched the sunset while eating KFC. We sailed for about an hour then Phil dropped us off at our hotel.

What an amazing day. We had the best time! Phil was funny and helpful and it really took the load of "touring" off of Stephen's shoulders and I felt like he could enjoy the day more than usual.
Funnies of the day:
1 - Maria's eyes when Phil said we would be at the stables in about 5 minutes. She didn't know about the horses.
2 - Daddy's horse had some MAJOR gas this morning.
3 - Daddy's horse was antisocial and kept wanting to wander off or pass Phil's for the lead.
4 - My horse liked to stop. At one point I was standing completely still and NOTHING I did would start that horse. I finally had to call the guide back to get her going! Just picture me sitting on the horse in the middle of the desert making all kinds of "clucking" noises and attempting to prod her with my heels...really my calves were just flapping in the air as I could never seem to make contact. We laughed so hard about this one on the sailboat that we had tears!
5 - The fact that I fully believe I will have two round bruises in the morning on my "sitting" bones!