Friday, May 8, 2009

Day 3 Running Diary

Day 3 started just like Day 2.....breakfast at the Sofitel. Unfortunately, as you can tell by my late post, I was up very late the night before due to jetlag. However, I was not the only one as Joe, Paul, and Jim had stayed up late partying the night away. As a result, I showed up downstairs at 8:30 for a 9am departure tired while they showed up tired and "dehydrated."

I browse through the breakfast selection that they have out this morning, and I find that the beef bacon is not an option today. I find this to be alright, because honestly beef tastiness + bacon tastiness is much greater than Beef Bacon tastiness. However, they have replaced it with chicken sausage.....of course I have to try it. I would venture to say that chicken sausage is a good 2 or 3 levels below beef bacon in the hybrid meat category. Probably on the same level with raccoon burgers. I grab two plates, one for the stuff I am gonna try (chicken sausage included) and one for strawberries (the safe play...pic above). I force down the chicken sausage chasing each bite with a nice, fresh strawberry. Micaela gets a good laugh. Laughing at my expense is not ok just because your boyfriend can't drag himself out of bed ;). I will eat my 2 pounds of strawberries, and it will fuel me through the deserts of Cairo. Chicken sausage tastes a lot like I imagine rubber tasting like if you poured the powder from a chicken flavored Ramen noodle packet on it.

We depart promptly at 9am with a new tour guide who has her PhD in Egyptian history. Turns out, she knows EVERYTHING about Egypt. Everytime we make a stop, she rifles off every possible date/stat/story/myth about the site. It is pretty cool. She also has about the sweetest accent ever, and is only about 5 ft 1. The guys all start trying to figure out how to ask her questions that will impress her......let's just say this fails from both a transparency side and in the elementary level of the questions.

The first place we go is a small marketplace/museum that has some cool statues and some small things to buy. We just walk around for about half an hour taking pictures. It is about this time that I notice that we have a different bodyguard than we did yesterday. He has his hands in his pockets so his jacket is just open enough to expose the automatic weapon that he is carrying. I am not sure what kind of trouble warrants an automatic weapon, but I am pretty sure that if that thing comes out, bad things are happening...unless he happens to be an Egyptian Jack Bauer. On that note, Mom/Dad, keep the DVR'd 24s for the next two weeks please.

After departing that market, we get back on the bus. We are chatting with the tour guide, and Paul asks to see the pictures that I took. I ask him to hold on cause "it will only take 3 seconds" and he fires back "that's what she said." Tour guide very impressed.....he is off the island. Joe then asks her "when you got your PhD in Egyptian History, were most of the classes taught in Egyptian?" He realizes his blunder quickly, but she has already laughed at him and answered that they were taught in the island.

We arrive at a small set of pyramids, that from afar are very unimpressive. On top of that, the walkway into the pyramids are about 4 ft high, you have to limbo in. However, once inside, the intricate heiroglyphics make it all worthwhile. They were unbelievable. No pictures were allowed. The inscriptions were not carved in, but rather raised as they carved everything around them. Unbelievable.....the detail really was amazing. I get asked to ride many camels while at this site, but Sally (tour guide) has warned me to not succumb to the pressure until I get to Giza. These guys will apparently take you out in the dessert and leave you if you don't pay is hard as I really want to ride a camel. Goal A: Buy a headdress Goal B: Ride a Camel in said headdress. PS - There were stray dogs everywhere at this site with flies all over them. They so badly wanted water and to be was so sad.

Next stop was the Great Pyramids. There are an estimated 1.5M stones in the biggest pyramid with the weights ranging from 2.5tons to 16 tons. I figure that means we are talking about around 10B pounds of stone. Truly a feat that I wouldn't believe man could accomplish that long ago if I didnt see it with my eyes. Finally, I am told this is the place to grab a headdress. I negotiate the guy down to 2 for 40 pounds (about $7) and Joe and I have headdresses. We then have 2 kids circling us to help us put them on (for a fee of course). We get those on and get great pics in front of the great pyramid. I then hang back to try and find the little kid I wanted to tip, and the group heads to the bus. I am now a gazelle that has separated from the herd. Next thing I know, I have one guy fixing my headdress, another one taking a picture of me with his camel, and the camel licking my leg. I do my best to scamper away, but the gazelle has no chance. 50 pounds later, I am back on the bus with Sally laughing at how much of a sucker I am. Next stop, camel rides. The camel rides were amazing. Hard to stay on a camel when it stands up, as its back legs go up and try and buck you off. Also, camels are frickin huge. I have a 13 year old kid leading me who is listening to Daft Punk while fighting with his younger brother. While they fight, our camels start to fight, and my camel spits on his camel. Pretty awesome. However, I would rather him focus on keeping me on the camel as opposed to beating up his younger brother.

We stopped by an Egyptian Carpet School on the way to our last stop. Absolutely fascinating. A wool Egyptian carpet has 64 stitches per square cm. A silk rug....100 stitches per square cm. All done by hand. The silk carpets take about 1 month for every square meter. We see some people stitching them, and they let me try a stitch. They do about 75 stitches per min. Turns out, I do approximately 1 stitch per min. Tip....10 lbs later, I learn I suck at stitching.

Last but not least, we hit up the Sphinx. It was certainly amazing. A creepy french guy in a cowboy hat that was a Latham look alike is standing in our group staring at Sally. She starts spouting off at him in Arabic and immediately, in comes our muscle. The two guys bicker for about 30 seconds before our muscle lifts his suit just enough to expose the firearm...."this conversation is over my friend." Joe and I then get pictures of us in headdresses by the Sphinx. Three things are definitely true since I have bought this headdress. a) I am even more sweet b) vendors have been pushing more stuff on me as it is a clear signal that I am a sucker to buy stuff and c) vendors have actually been pushing more headdresses on me......umm, I have one, why does this make you think I want another one? We then headout for dinner and I admire traffic as we head back to the hotel.

Back at the hotel, we sit on the patio enjoying a glass of red wine while watching the Nile and recapping the day. I can think of worse endings to an evening. Another amazing day down. I think I am tired, so I hope to hit the hay quickly. We have an 8am start tomorrow, and my plan is to get down there super early to sit out on the patio and relax for an hour or so while enjoying some breakfast. Sorry these things are so long, just a lot going on. Hope all is well in the States!


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