The first day of the trip, seeing the sights in Cairo.
Monday 7 March 2011 - Monday 7 March 2011
The first part of my 2011 Tiki Tour is over and part two starts here.
This is a tour run by Oasis Overland, one of the best specialist overland tour companies. This portion of it runs from Cairo to Istanbul in 37 days and is a mixture of local transport and overland truck, hostels and camping, self catering whilst on the truck and restaurants, food stands and so on. Should be great.
I had originally booked the trip from Tunis to Istanbul (58 days) but due to the revolution there I ummed and ahhed for a few days before cancelling that part of the trip. I actually tried to get back on the trip from Tunis whilst I was in Singapore but Emirates could not get me to Tunis on time so plan B was in effect.
They people that did start in Tunis had an interesting time. They had just crossed the border into Libya and were in the town of Ghadames when it all kicked off. They hastened back to the border, even being escorted by loyal Ghaddafi troops so as to get them out of the country as fast as possible. They then spent the time seeing more of Tunisia before flying to Cairo.
What this means for us is that the truck we were going to use is stuck in Tunisia. Luckily for us Oasis have another truck stored in Jordan. The driver is going there to see if it starts and get it all sorted out and meet us in Aqaba, Jordan. Our itinerary has changed slightly due to the truck situation.
Monday 7 March – Day 1 Cairo. The group went out to the Egyptian Museum along with a guide. The museum was heaving with people as there were a few coach loads of British tourists in from a cruise ship in Alexandria. Certainly a bit different from a few days earlier when I had the place to myself.
From there we went to a perfume factory near Giza. This shop has the base flower oils from which all the major European fragrances made (Chanel, Christian Dior and so on). The owner was great fun.
Next stop was the pyramids themselves. It is a bit odd to find them in the outskirts of Giza City rather than way out in the desert as you would imagine. Had the obligatory photo next to them. The same coach loads of British tourists then turned up, swamping the place. There are a couple of places where you can get very good photos of them. We also had the obligatory camel ride for about 15 minutes out in to the desert (well, a rubbish strewn area away from the car park with good views of the pyramids and suburbs of Cairo).
Horses waiting for tourists.
Camels at the pyramids, just waiting for tourists.
Part of the Pyramid of Cheops.
The Pyramids of Cheops (left) and Pyramid of Khafre (right) at Giza.
The group on their camels.
Me and my camel at Giza.
My camel driver.
Ancient and modern.
Camel mounted policemen.
The Sphinx is very close to the pyramids and is much smaller than you think. Again hoards of tourists made it difficult to appreciate it.
The Sphinx and me.
The last stop was a papyrus factory that explained very quickly how paper is made from papyrus. Bit of a waste of time really.
Back to the hotel to collect our bags, have some dinner, and then get to Giza train station for the 10:30pm train to Aswan.