Giza/Cairo, Egypt: Day 2

On our second day in Egypt, we had an early morning start. The kids were starving and desperately wanting fresh fruit and juice, none of which the hotel offered during breakfast. The previous night, the kids drank milk, but I wasn’t sure if it was a good idea, since the milk felt a little too warm. The buffet was not what we were used to, but it was enough to get us through the morning.

The Great Pyramids in Giza, Egypt

IMG_2625We met our tour guide, M, who immediately took us to see the famous Egyptian pyramids, made of perfectly sound construction from thousands of years ago. The sight was truly a one-of-a-kind experience. We walked up a several feet to take a family photo and to touch the original stone. Prof said that it was constructed so well that you can’t even fit a coin between the stones.

Did you know that there are a total of 55 pyramids? We walked around the largest one, but we also decided to visit the inside of one of the smaller pyramids. The larger one would have been too treacherous to carry a toddler up several hundred feet.

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(Photos above: Our guide had some fun in the sun with our little Linus. Piano Man wanted in on some of that fun too.)

It was no easy feat to go down a 45-degree angle ramp with metal treads to keep your bearings. Half way down the ramp, my legs and my left arm started to give way. I scooted the last half down to the tomb. Once at the bottom, we took a 360-view of the very hot tiny 5×5 room that used to hold a sarcophagus.

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(Photos above: Photos are before we made our way back up of the pyramid. 3rd photo was taking from our tour guide on our way down. See me smiling? That was before I felt the pain of carrying an almost 2-year old down without a baby carrier. Lesson learned: bring baby carrier.)

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(Photos above: Photos of and around the Great Pyramid. You can click to enlarge any photo of us to get a closer look.)

All sort of street vendors inhabited the perimeter of the pyramids. Before we entered the pyramids, our guide told us to say no thank you to every single vendor. We were pretty good about ignoring or saying no thank you, but there was one young girl who said something, but I was not paying attention and immediately said no thank you. Our guide said she wanted to see Linus. The young girl kissed Linus on the cheek, and she was so smitten to meet a little Asian baby.

After the hike down and up the pyramid tomb, Linus needed a nap.  The guide ended up taking Prof and Piano Man to take a couple of panoramic shots of the pyramids, and then we left for lunch.

Pizza Hut in Cairo, Egypt

We ate at Pizza Hut. I know what I said about Pizza Hut in Cyprus, but the cheese pan crusted pizza was excellent. We also ordered a Caesar salad, hot wings, and spaghetti – all of which tasted wonderful after a long morning of walking in the desert.

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(Photos above: Linus digging into the pizza slice. A caesar salad that was supposed to have dressing on the side. I think we were so hungry that we forgot to ask for the missing salad dressing.)

From the Sphinx to an Evangelical Church

We took a quick tourist photo of the famous Sphinx, and then left for a visit to a 3,000-member evangelical church.

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(Photos above: Panoramic views of the Sphinx and Great Pyramids.)

We heard “How Great is Our God” by Chris Tomlin in Arabic, which brought a warm and comforting familiarity in an unfamiliar place. With the electric sounds of a guitar, keyboard, bass, and drums, it reminded me of the time I visited Christian musician, Matt Redman’s church outside of London in 2000.  (Side note: As a college student in those days, I made it a point to visit his church because I craved to attend a church service in English when I was on a study abroad program in France in the spring of 2000. It brought peace in my soul back then as it did when we listened to the praise team practice that day.)

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(Photos above: Sign before entering the largest Evangelical church in Cairo. Lyrics posted on screen during praise practice at church.)

Pharoah’s Papyrus Shop

IMG_2665I am not much of a shopper with an eye for fashion, as you can quickly tell from my appearance. However, I am a huge fan of paper products (as you can tell from my post on the art of paper crafts), and what better place than Egypt to pick up a few authentic papyruses.

We witnessed a tutorial on how papyrus is made, and it was pretty neat to watch. It reminded a bit like watching a special print design made only in Florence, Italy.

IMG_2666They have four popular papyrus design choices: the tree of life, an Egyptian calendar, story about a person lying or telling the truth, and one other design that I cannot recall. The designs ranged from a modest portrait to a brightly colored glittered look. Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take additional photos inside.)

Prof had some skepticism about the authenticity of whether these papyruses were hand painted or printed, but he thought it was still cool to watch the demo on how they make the papyrus from scratch.

Dinner/Boat Cruise on the Nile

IMG_2668After another long nap at the hotel, we drove to the Nile Crystal, a boat cruise that served a buffet dinner with a live cover band and dance performers.

Overall, the buffet was decent. The live cover band was pretty cheesy, and the belly dancer a bit inauthentic. However, everyone on the boat probably will agree that the best performance of the night was the Tanoura spin dancer. This guy did not stop spinning himself, circular objects, or skirt the entire time during his performance. He walked about the dining hall with a spinning skirt above everyone’s heads. It must take some serious muscle strength to get through a performance like that for us in the lower level and then again for the other guests in the upper level.

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(Photos above: fresh mango juice, delectable Egyptian desserts, an assortment of food choices at the buffet.)

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(Photos above: Tanoura spin dancer spinning around the entire cabin of the dining hall.)

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(Photos above: Piano Man really enjoying the show. Other dinner guests watching the performance.)

The highlight of the cruise was watching the dark midnight blue waters of the Nile River in the night skyline.  I don’t think there would have been another time in which we could have gone to see the Nile River, up close and personal.

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(Photo above: Beautiful night skyline in Cairo.)

Our boys passed out from all the fun, and it turned out to be so worth it.

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