Egypt – Wonderland

It all started with the plane landing.. When the EgyptAir’s pilot was supposed to “kiss” the ground, he F***’ed it instead. The worst landing i’ve ever seen.. we all were like going up and down and looking at each other like what’s goin on!! Anyway, we followed the signs to reach customs and passports check. the woman at the customs said “ya rabbe ba2a bente tetla3 7elwa keda zayek” (English: i wish my daughter will look beautiful like you) I was confused and a little freaked out. then I asked her if she was pregnant and she said she was almost due. very nice woman but never I had compliments from official personnel at the airport or anywhere, as far as I remember! the nicest thing usually being said is “welcome to our country, have a nice stay. NEXT!”

On our way to the hotel, we saw a wide range of houses and buildings that really should be taken care of. they were dirty from outside, with so many trash all around. I mean their government should take extra care of this area, especially because it’s very close to the airport, and somehow gives an idea of what one should expect.

Reached the hotel. which was supposed to be a 5 star one. it was but to some other countries, it’s the standard of a 4 star. The housekeeping people were nice but the cleaning was not. the room’s phone was stolen from stone age. but the view was amazing; a small balcony with a view to the Nile and the city. very nice in the morning. and at night with all the lights and boats sailing.

First day, Too many people in this city! and a Dinner in a boat.
after we checked in our rooms and settled down, got a taxi and went to souvenirs markets like “Al-hussein” and “Khan el khaleele” around that area, can’t believe how many people in this city! learned that they are 23 mil during the day and 20 mil at night! and they drive REALLY crazy! there was a restaurant, very much like Hashem – down town Amman, but has BBQ, grilled duck, etc we ate there with cats all around. was very unpleasant and annoying but the food was good and their bread was so yummy!!
After wandering around and walking from A to Z! we went back to the hotel, took a shower and went to the Nile. there was a boat waiting for us to sail. we cruised down the Nile with dinner inside the boat, belly dancer, singer in three or four languages, skirt dancer or whatever.. after we got back to the shore, and while we were heading to the bus, an Egyptian guy said to his friend about us “moslemat agnabeyyat” lol got back to the hotel and slept like a baby.

Second day, Shopping, Opera house and Egypt soccer game!
Got up not so early, went to hotel’s restaurant for breakfast. variety of food, drinks and sweets. the view was the Nile also. was kind of relaxing to eat your breakfast with a view to the Nile.
After breakfast, we walked to some stores close to the hotel. a lot of leather stores as well, one of the things that Egypt is well known for. some expensive, some acceptable and others were cheap. so you can find whatever you need with a wide range of prices.
It was the day of the “big” Egypt-Algeria soccer match, so everyone there was worried and talking about it. and when I wanted to bargain, which by the way is a very common thing to do there, I mentioned the game and wish Egypt to win. they become so emotional and get me a discount🙂 smart!
I hurt myself twice while shopping.. looks like shopping knows i hate it! first one was cause i was wearing a slipper so wanted to go out of a store that had a metal chair that hurt two toes.. so much pain! second one was while checking out some souvenirs, opened a lighter in the opposite direction and burnt my hand! this was almost killed me! they got me cold water and i got myself a burn treatment from the next door pharmacy. it hurts like hell!!
So anyway, got back to the hotel, took a shower and dressed up for the Circassian Dancing performance at the Opera House. which was Amazing! as usual but the Opera House gave it a very special touch. The place is very nice, well decorated and organized.
After that, we got back to the hotel, changed and went out again to watch the game.. almost all cafes are full.. streets are almost empty! which is weird to see in cairo at that time! Italian restaurant that places the country’s flag you’re from on your table, nice touch! Also three pencils on each table so you can draw on their walls.. very creative🙂 too bad Egypt lost. They would have turned the streets to festivals.. and we would have enjoyed🙂

Third day, Alexandria!!!
We got up so early and went to Ramses train station to go to Alexandria. they are so disorganized! got the tickets, and asked the Info lady where to go. she said “not yet” i told her i dont understand and its my first time here. she said “Not yet!! i told you Not yet!!!” not to mention it was 5 minutes before the train to leave!
While we were waiting, an english speaking guy tried to ask about things but they did not understand and he either because neither of them speaks the language of the other. wanted to help but he left before i go and offer my help.
Anyway, the train was better than what I expected. at least better than Path Train (NYC-NJ, USA) it should be because it takes 2.5 hours to reach Alexandria. on the way, we saw a lot of farms, very nice! also the cotton farms.
reached Alexandria after 2.5 hours., Sidi Jaber Station, which is kinda down town there. got a taxi and head to Fort Qaitbey, many mini markets around, selling souvenirs. Mediterranean sea was stunning as usual🙂 I love this sea..
Too many cats! too many cats! they are everywhere around the shore! unbelievable!
after checking out the fort, nothing very interesting except the view from up there.. really amazing.. we then took a cab and went to the city, malls and streets.. the City center mall is really nice.. their parking lot reminded me of JCpenny n Target in Cali, USA for how alike they are and reminded me also of our mecca mall in Amman for how NOT alike they are. ours is so not cool. first parking lot i think that has a residential building in the middle of the parking! which is not the issue here. then we went to the train station to get our tickets for the 7 pm train.
for lunch, we went to a restaurant called Fish Market, very beautiful, clean, organized, good service, good food, amazing view to the sea.. I give them 5/5. you pick the fish you wanna eat and tell the Chef how you like it done..
We’re full now and ready to go back to Cairo. slept all the way to Ramses station, Cairo.
We got the hotel and mom was preparing a small cake with a candle for my birthday (was next day) how thoughtful and nice of her🙂 she’s the best mom one can ask for!

4th and Last day! My Birthday at the Pyramids and Egyptian Museum then Amman!
Got up so early, prepared ourselves to go to pyramids. stopped a taxi that has a meter, this one thing one should be careful about when going to cairo! always use these cabs, the white ones. not the black.
Got to the Pyramids and a horses guy stopped us, asking if we need a ride in there.. he asked for 150 EGP/each including horse, guide, entrance ticket. I said NOway! and at last i could get these things for 160 EGP for both of us (me and sis) it’s like 29 USD for two horses, a guide and entrance tickets which were around 0.75 USD/both because we’re Jordanians they consider us like Egyptians.
Anyway, it was around 1.5 hrs on the horse, saw Pyramids and Sphinx.. nothing very interesting.. but worth seeing so you know the real size of each🙂
Got back to the hotel, and there was still some time for the breakfast. after breakfast, we went to the Egyptian Museum. again, not really organized, and if you want a small info about the museum or its floors plan, you have to buy it. but we didnt have time anyway so we had a small tour and went back to the hotel.
Checked out and waited the bus to arrive to take us to the airport. and that was it..
Landing this time at Queen Alia Airport was very impressive! so happy to be back after four days of seeing to many people and too many cats.. and other nice funny things here and there🙂

Alex

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