Hot! Hot! Hot!…108F, 42.2C… Hardly suitable for a long trek!…A year ago..Security guard with something in his back pocket…

This bloom appeared to be a future flower. Upon close inspection Tom determined it wasn’t a flower but a leaf growing to maturity.

Yesterday,  another trip to the ATM was necessary to gather enough cash to pay the four person staff of Dar Aicha the second half of the tips as we prepare to leave in two days. With local ATMs kicking out a maximum of MAD 2000, US $245.11 per customer more than one trip was required. We had MAD 2000 on hand from a trip a few days ago.

As we prepare to leave we make a special effort to ensure that we don’t have leftover dirhams making careful calculations important. We had yet to pay for five dinners prepared by Madame Zahra, including today and tomorrow, bottled water, tips and transportation to the airport.

To accommodate all of these expenses, we needed a total of MAD 5300, US $649.54, leaving us enough for tips for the porters at the Marrakech Airport.

This area was to my left as we dined at Le Jardin. The open courtyard with many birds flying about required we sit at a table with an umbrella to avoid getting bird poop on us or in our food.

Of course, with the crowded souks we’ve always planned to have dinner and get cash on the same outing, although the restaurants and ATMs are not located in the same vicinity. This was especially the case yesterday when we were well aware of the hot weather.

Adding the fact that I continue to wear a long sleeve shirt, long pants and socks, venturing outdoors in hot weather can be challenging. We decided to head out at 4:00 pm when I was suddenly feeling a need to eat when we hadn’t had a morsel since dinner the previous night.

The tasteful displays in Le Jardin are appealing.

As we walked outdoors, the heat gripped us. It felt as if we walked into an oven.Thoughts flashed through my mind of the day we spent in Abu Dhabi a year ago this month while I was dreadfully ill and we’d visited the White Mosque. 

Entering the mosque required us to don appropriate clothing; for me, a heavy silky black abaya and for Tom a cool white thobe. The long walk that day from the parking lot to the mosque was the most scorching experience of either of our lives.

Yesterday’s walk was much further than the walk in Abu Dhabi but the temperature matched that day’s unbearable heat. It was 108F, 42.2C! With low humidity in the desert, the heat was slightly more bearable than humid heat would have been at such temperatures.

Another pretty self display in Le Jardin, where we’ve dined on many occasions while in Marrakech.
Had we been able to stay within the confines of the souks, the long walk wouldn’t have been as unbearable.  But, the closed ATM was still not working leaving us with no option but to walk toward the entrance of the Medina where the other ATM was located, part of which requires a fairly long distance walking in the direct sunlight.

I don’t recall ever going for an hour long round trip walk, much of which was in the sun, wearing heavy fully covering clothing when it was 108F, 42.2C. I’m sure some of you may have done so when it was necessary under certain conditions. I commend you. Tom was wearing shorts and a lightweight cotton short sleeve shirt.  It was brutal.

A shelf was lined with various olives, a popular food item in Morocco.

Once we arrive near the further ATM, Tom left me sitting across the road on a short stone wall under a bit of shade. During the five minutes he was gone, a vendor pestered me nonstop trying to entice me into buying a straw hat. Saying “no” didn’t send him on his way. Not wanting to be rude I ignored him. 

Tom returned, shooing him away as we commenced the long walk ahead of us to the restaurant. We trudged along. Upon entering Le Jardin for our final visit, there was no server or hostess in sight.We needed water and we needed it fast. There is no AC in any of the restaurants in the souk and although not as hot as in the sun, it was very warm.

The heat in this sunny area of the Medina was a scorcher and has been so for the past few days as summer approaches.

Finally, we spotted a server who scrambled to quickly bring our large bottle of “still” water. We both ordered filet Mignon this time specifying that I wanted the “monsieur’s” size, not the women’s usual “petite” size. Plus, we explained that each time we’d ordered steaks in their restaurant they were overcooked. 

This time, we also stressed to the broken-English-speaking server that my steak was to be bloody rare and Tom’s pink at medium rare. We were thrilled when our mutually large steaks arrived 10 minutes later, cooked to perfection.

We can’t imagine that tourists would visit during the peak of summer, due to the heat.

With our bellies full, we felt more prepared to tackle the return walk which based on our current location, only required a short distance directly in the heat of the sun. Returning by 6:30 pm, we were happy to be back in the riad in the salon sitting next to the fan with an icy mug of iced tea at our side.

A short time later, my two sisters and niece together for a visit, called on Skype. Much to my delight, Skype was finally able to connect with a stronger signal for a fabulous chat. The signal was poor the previous night making it impossible to speak to my son and his family for more than a few minutes when they repeatedly tried calling to wish me Happy Mother’s Day.

This is the peculiar small door at Le Jardin. We had to not only duck our heads when entering or exiting but also step over a raised threshold. When exiting its imperative to check for speeding motorbikes and bicycles.

Two days and counting until we leave Morocco. Most of my clothing is folded on the bed in my “dressing room” ready to be placed into the Space Bags after our last load of laundry is completed.  

Tomorrow, we’ll post our total expenses for the two and a half months that we’ve spent in Marrakech, Morocco.  Stop back for the tally!

Photo from one year ago, May 13, 2013:

Not our photo. Tomorrow we’ll share our amazing photos of Petra, the Lost City in Aqaba, Jordan. A person standing in the doorway of the Monastery at Petra, Jordan, shows the enormity of the ancient building’s entrance. Carved into the sandstone hill by the Nabataeans in the second century A.D., this towering structure, called El-Deir, may have been used as a church or monastery by later societies, but likely began as a temple. We did not post a story that day since we were attending classes on the history of the Lost City.

Kenya…It’s people…It’s differences…

The recent rain has resulted in the new blooms in our yard.

Living in the US all of our lives and now in Africa for almost three months, we aren’t surprised by the differences in lifestyles. Africa, as we all know is a huge continent with numerous countries, each comparable to the uniqueness of each of the “states” in the US, each possessing their own customs, dialects, traditions, and persona.

From what we’ve learned in this relatively short time in Kenya (spelled Kenia by locals), the country many qualities we find refreshing and appealing. With 18 days remaining until we leave Kenya, we’ve certainly spent more time here than most tourists visiting during a typical two week holiday. (The word vacation is rarely used in many parts of the world, instead referred to as a “holiday”).

Green and lush vegetation surround us.

Life moves at a slower pace, as is typical in most parts of the world, as opposed to the frenzied pace in the US.  One can sit at a table in a restaurant awaiting a cocktail for 10 or 15 minutes. In most cases, the bill (the check) doesn’t magically appear at the end of the meal when our plates are clean and we’ve turned down dessert and after-dinner drinks, coffee, or tea. One must ask for it. Then it may not arrive for another 10 or 15 minutes.

Patience.  It’s a must.  We learned this early on in our travels. Kindness. Also a must. Annoyance and irritation must not be evident. In time, one doesn’t feel it. On occasion, it may be difficult to hide. 

These delicate flowers are as thin as tissue paper.

Locals in Kenya are friendly, much more than we’ve seen in other parts of the world. People walking past us as we walk along the road, always say, “hujambo” or “jambo” as a greeting. We reply in kind. 

There’s an expectation here of a gentle request for assistance. There’s a look of shock on the face of a local if a customer is not satisfied. We’ve learned that it’s not worth squabbling over a small error on a bill. Of course, they’d make the correction but the confrontation is unbearable for them. 

We’ve chosen not to address an error unless it is for a considerable amount which as of yet has never happened. Most often, it’s accurate, more so than we’d seen in our old lives. 

Buds are bursting now after the rain. Hopefully, we’ll see the flowers in full bloom before we leave in 18 days.

They cooperate. They want to please. They are humble. They work hard. Their work ethic is profound. They help one another and outsiders alike. They smile revealing the brightest straightest white teeth, we’ve ever seen. 

Yes, it’s can be dangerous here. It’s evidenced by the tight security which has been beefed up recently after the horrifying attacks at the mall in Nairobi. We have a guard exclusively for these two houses, ours and Hans’ and Jeri’s from sunset to sunrise, seven days a week. Hesborn is here around the clock, a strong, conscientious employee of Hans’ for 14 years. 

There are guards 24-hours a day at the locked entrance gates to this neighborhood for the perhaps 10 private homes, each of which is gated in itself as well. Everywhere we go, there are security guards; at the entrance to the strip mall where we shop, at the ATM machine at Barclay’s Bank, where we get cash, at the entrance to the Safaricom store where we purchase “scratch-offs” to top off our data SIM cards.

Pretty little flowers, many I’ve never seen.

It’s an oxymoron. Safe and not safe, making it easy for one to get careless. But, not us. Carelessness is not for us.

And then, there’s the taxi situation which is unique in itself. We’ve learned not to call Alfred until a half-hour prior to the time we’d like a ride. Otherwise, he’ll always appear way too early in an attempt to please. On only a few occasions another driver appeared in his place when he was too far away to get to us on time.

Most often, after dropping us off the restaurant, he waits in his car while we dine, his choice, not our request.  As soon as we realized this after we first arrived, we decided not to let his waiting us affect our dinner or the time we may choose to spend before or after. 

The variety of colors are appealing to the eye.

We call him when we’re ready to go.  If he gets another call while waiting for us, surely he can go.  If he’s far away when we call to say we’re ready to leave we’ll gladly wait.  Most often the wait is less than 15 minutes.

Once he was late to take us grocery shopping. After waiting for over 30 minutes, we called. He’d fallen asleep in his car. It was OK. We weren’t bothered in the least. If it had been a dinner reservation, we still wouldn’t have been bothered. No one would mind if we were late for our reservation. They’d kindly seat us anyway, making no mention of our tardiness or the possible loss of our table. 

The most unusual aspect of our taxi experience, that surely would annoy most patrons, is the fact if we take a long time having dinner, Alfred calls us (on the local phone Hans loaned us for our time here) asking when we’ll be ready to go.  We always laugh when this happens. If we’ve had our dinner, we ask for the bill and move along to accommodate Alfred. It’s cooperation, a common aspect of life in Kenya.

Alfred grocery shops at Nakumatt also. He has a plastic card that provides him with points in order to get money off future grocery purchases. On our second trip to Nakumatt, he handed us his blue card, asking us to give him the points for our purchases. We did. Now, we ask him for the card each time if he’s distracted by security when he drops us off at the store. He waits for us there also, parking across the street, waiting for our call. 

All of these flowers are in abundance in the area, thriving in the heat, humidity, and soaking rains.

He has a newer car with AC.  He never turns the AC on.  We don’t ask.  We open the windows, although it results in extremely hot air blowing in our faces. Early on, we negotiated with Alfred for KES $1000, US $11.72 round trip wherever we may go in Diani Beach, as much as a 20-minute drive one way and other times only a drive of one or two minutes. We pay the same amount wherever we go.

Taxi drivers in Kenya don’t usually receive tips, as explained to us by Jeri who is from Nairobi. But, we give him tips, varying from KES $100 to $500 depending on how long the drive. He’s appreciative.

These pods have continued to dry out. 

Aside from the many great experiences we’ve had in Kenya, we’ll always remember the simple lifestyle and its people. Although we’re never sad to leave one location to travel to another, we treasure the memories we’ll carry in our hearts and minds forever. Thank you people of Kenya. Asante.

Settling in…Settling down…Planning safari…

The flowers in our yard are bountiful. Bougainvilleas are popular in Kenya.
Hesborn, locally referred to as a “house boy.”  In an attempt to be pc, we’d prefer to refer to this kindly gentleman as our “houseman” or “house-person.”

One of the main reasons we decided to come to Kenya was the opportunity to see The Great Migration of over 1.5 million wildebeest crossing the river to the plains. We’d seen this on a news program a few years ago and we took out the “bucket” tossing it in.

With literally hundreds of options to see this momentous event requires careful planning and a willingness to pay for a quality experience. We budgeted well for this. We’ll share the details once we book them.  Our hope is to go on both a local safari, a few hour drive from here and go to the point where the wildebeest will be at the time we arrive. Today, now settled in, we can begin the hunt.

Another view of the spiral staircase from the second level, which we’ll seldom use.

Please keep in mind this is a photo taking, not hunting expedition. The animals in the parks are protected against “poaching” and consequences are severe. There are parks for hunting and killing animals that hold no interest for either of us. We love “life,” both human and animal, and take enormous pleasure in seeing any wildlife in their natural habitat, as opposed to zoos.

A common flower, the hibiscus, always appealed to me often growing them in Minnesota’s warm summers.  Plentiful in Hawaii, they grow like weeds, where we’ll be in 13-15 months, depending on future cruises we’re yet to book.

Of course, we have a lot to learn as the tedious process of discovery begins with the same care and diligence we exercised in researching our worldwide travels. Even so, we’ve often found that we have much to learn as we enter a new country to live among their people, their culture, as is the case here in Kenya.

We’re settling in.

These may be African roses.  The smell, amazing.

The bugs and mosquitoes; wear repellent and Africa pants at night. The heat; no problem. The dust and sand on our feet; wear shoes. The lack of TV;  play Gin, talk, read, watch movies on my laptop. Security; feel safe.  Malaria pills; no side effects. The language; English. The sights and sounds; breathtaking.

Tom surprises me. He’s a person entrenched in familiar creature comforts. Witnessing him adapt to the unfamiliar and at times difficult surroundings we’ve experienced in our travels is both refreshing and fulfilling.Staying positive and optimistic as a couple is highly instrumental in our adjusting to a new environment. In this, we excel, always have, more now than ever.

Growing up in California, I recall these flowers but not the name. 

On Tuesday, upon arriving in Diani Beach, we were exhausted from 22 hours of traveling.  Hans had left us enough bottled water to last a day but we had no food except a one pound bag of coffee.  Without cream, neither of us would bother to make coffee. Hans kindly offered to pick us up at the grocery store, arranging a cab to take us. The original plan was to take us both ways but something came up and he offered to pay the cab fare. Of course, we insisted on reimbursing him. 

We had no Kenya Shillings, US $1 equals Kenya Shillings $87.38, we were unprepared to pay cab fare until we went to bank or cash machine. We’ve found that cabs worldwide, thus far, do not accept credit cards as they do in the US.

Lush greenery surrounds us. 

The cab ride to the grocery store was an approximate 12 minute drive. Hans had told us the fare should be negotiated to KES 1200 (Kenya Shillings henceforth), US $13.73 round trip. As it turned out, we’d bought so many groceries that wouldn’t fit in Hans’ small car but he hung around while we shopped to ensure all went well. Good thing, he did!

Hans had to vouch for us when the grocery store cashier refused to accept a credit card without a passport, which we’d failed to bring. Knowing from past experience we weren’t surprised we forgot to bring our passports in our tired state. 

Hans explained to the cashier that he knew us and not to worry. The cashier then accepted Tom’s Nevada driver’s license in place of the passport.  While I shopped, Tom hung out with Hans and a friend in an outdoor bar connected to the grocery store. Thank goodness they were entertained. It took me almost two hours to shop in my frazzled state of mind.

Care must be taken to avoid being hit in the head with falling coconuts from the many trees in the yard.

The shopping? Interesting. Different than Italy and very different from the US. There was no charge for a grocery cart or the cardboard boxes they used to pack our stuff. A VAT tax of 16% was charged on the groceries, except on rice, flour, corn and a few necessities, none of which we purchased. The staff in the store was helpful and friendly as I wandered around aimlessly trying to find items we use. 

Our total bill including the VAT tax was KES $28,835, US $330, which we typically spend the first time we’ve shopped at each new location due to the necessity of purchasing paper products, soaps, repellent for the area, etc. With everything marked in KES, knowing Hans and Tom were waiting for me, I couldn’t price shop. I purchased everything on my list that appeared to be the best quality.

The deli and meat department had the most aggressive yet delightful “salespeople” I’ve met in any grocery store. They freely pushed their products. Hungry from having eaten poorly in the previous 24 hours, I readily fell prey to their sales pitch. Only a few items prompted me to calculate the cost using the currency app on my smartphone. 

One great buy was a three meal for two portion of Fillet Mignon which the butcher carefully trimmed to ensure all fat and tendons were removed, ending up at US $4.50 per serving. Tonight, we’ll make bacon (the bacon here was OK, not great) wrapped Fillet Mignon’s with sautéed mushrooms and onions, side salad and fresh sugar snap peas. 

The produce department was lacking in variety and quality with no green beans (fresh, frozen or canned), and many other familiar fresh items.  Much of the produce looked old and wilted.  Needing some items for our meals, I selected the best I could find. Later, Hans suggested a nearby vegetable stand where we’ll shop in the future.

The remainder of the store? Touch and go. The store was larger than any in Belize, smaller than in Italy with many items we frequently use unavailable. Much to my delight I found unsweetened coconut milk and coconut flour.  

Searching for coconut oil for my teeth cleaning and cooking, they offered me a bottle to which I jumped for joy. 

Tom will move the lawn chairs to a coconut tree free zone and into the sun.Today, we look forward to recovering a little color by spending our typical one hour of sunning and funning. The beach, not as close as we’d hoped, has warnings about peddlers, vendors and possible rough characters, leaving little interest for us at this point.

Returning home, I swished the oil around my teeth for 10 minutes, experiencing a burning sensation that prompted me to spit it out, brushing my teeth over and over with toothpaste and baking soda in an effort to get the awful taste out of my mouth.  Reading the bottle after the bad experience, I noticed the words in tiny print “not fit for human consumption.” 

Oh, good grief. Did I poison myself? It took several hours of repeating brushing and rinsing with purified water to remove to awful taste.  Apparently, this particular coconut oil was intended as a body oil. Into the garbage it went!  In my exhausted state and wearing my blurry contact lenses nonstop for 36 hours, I failed to see the tiny print on the label. I’d never seen inedible coconut oil. Usually, one uses the edible type as a body oil if they so choose.

The gate looking out to the yard from our outdoor living room.

Overall, the prices weren’t outrageous, as I perused the receipt the following day. Without a doubt, we’ll manage to be able to cook healthful and tasty meals while we’re in Kenya especially with freshly picked produce from the farmer’s market.

After grocery shopping, our new cab driver, Alfred, drove us across the street to a bank’s cash machine where we received enough KES to last us a for awhile, getting more cash as needed when we shop. 

We’ve decided to shop once a week negotiating with Alfred for a fee of KES $1000, US $11.44 plus tip for the weekly round trip on Tuesday mornings at 10:00 am.

Using the cab for shopping, banking and dining out should be no more than US $30 to US $45 a week, certainly less than the over US $800 a month we paid for a rental car in Italy. Plus, after reading several warnings by the US Department of State that recommended cabs over rental cars with the high risk of carjacking in many areas.  With the reasonable cab fares, we are satisfied with this option.

The locked garage and entranceway to the property.  At night, the guard Jeremiah, walks this area and the perimeter of the property of both ours and Hans’ house.

With little storage space in the kitchen and the necessity of no nonperishable items on the counter (monkey risk), putting everything away was a challenge. The galley kitchen requires that the kitchen door be shut in order to get into the undersized refrigerator.Tom offered to help but I threw him out, shut the door and got it done in no time.

Hesborn washed all the floors yesterday but our feet are still getting black. It may take several washings to get the soot-like dust off the floors.  He explained that recently the wrought iron gates surrounding the house had been sanded, resulting in the black soot. It was a relief to know that its not a permanent situation.

Once we find safaris that appeal to us, we’ll share the links and information. The search is almost as much fun for us as the experience.

Be back tomorrow with fun photos we took yesterday!

Part 1…Visit to the Great Pyramids, the Sphinx, and photos…More will follow when we can get online…

Here they are, the Great Pyramids of Giza.
It was hard to believe we were there!

Yesterday morning, Friday, we boarded one of 25 air-conditioned buses with 40 passengers each for a 12 1/2 hour excursion to visit the Great Pyramids of Giza (most renowned), the Sphinx, The Pyramid of Zoser, The Egyptian Museum and the Papyrus Institute.

The streets of Cairo.

The almost three hour drive from Alexandria Egypt to Cairo was a mixed bags of desolate desert landscape and a scattering of small villages along the traffic laden toll roads and narrow highways.

View along the drive from Alexandria to Cairo.

The traffic was lessened by the fact that it was the Egyptian weekly holy day although you wouldn’t have known this as we whizzed along the dangerous roads with trucks and cars seemingly oblivious to staying in their own lanes or observing any speed limits.

Many times, we nearly missed having an accident both on the drives to various locations during the day and again at night on the return drive to the ship in the rain, in the dark. Our hearts in our throats, as the bus veered in and out of wildly erratic traffic, the ride back to the ship, left all of us stressed and exhausted.

Pottery for sale along the busy highway.

The day? Surreal. I recall seeing the Pyramids in history books as a child, wondering how and when I’d ever be able to behold their wonder. Tom felt the same. But somehow, while there, among the camels and pushy vendors, there was little sense of reality.

Oddities were in abundance, odd to us that is. The black suited security guard sitting on the front seat in the bus as we sat back a few rows, unintentionally revealed a machine gun which Tom surmised was an Uzi.

The chaos on the streets was comparable to what we’ve seen in movies.

Much to our curiosity and surprise, Mohammed, our security guard, glomed on to us as we walked the uneven stones and steps around the various sites we visited throughout the day. 

Often staying close at our sides, while others wandered on their own, Mohammed frequently offered me an outstretched hand down rough terrain and up and down steps, leading and pointing us to short cuts and steering us  to particularly interesting artifacts. 

Kids as young as 8 and 10 years ago were driving these motorized tuk-tuks.

He’d obviously worked this tour many times in the past, going as far as leading us to a clean restroom when we requested, where we each paid US $1 as we were handed a dollop of toilet tissue.

We tipped him at the end, unsure of this would insult him. It did not. At times, Tom and I giggled that we had our own ‘security”. At other times, as he guided us toward narrow and winding desolate paths, we both hesitated, wondering, if his attention was some sort of ruse, for us to be kidnapped by awaiting cohorts, for our kids to be contacted with ransom demands. 

 We did our best taking photos as the bus sped by the vendor stands.

The vendors…we’ve never seen anything like it.  They touched us, shoved us, trying to make
eye contact, trying to make a sale.  It’s a good thing we decided against a camel ride. We saw firsthand, that the camel owners offered a ride for US $2, only to be charged, $20-$40 in order to get down the 8′ from the back of the camel. 

We heard women from our ship discussing how they were invited by a camel owner to take a free photo of a camel, to have their camera snatched, only to be returned for $60. Aware of this and determined to get a few camel shots, I pretended to be taking photos of the background scenes, thus explaining why our included camel photos are from the side.

Note the cars cluttering the road. 

Although much was included in our tour, the ride, entrance to the sites, the elegant buffet lunch in the 5 star hotel in Giza, two bags of water and snacks (we gave ours to Mohammed and the bus driver) for a total cost of $169 each, the constant pressure to spend money was overwhelming.

Buying one single item put the vendors on a frenzy to almost attack the shopper as “live bait.” We only spent $1 for a decent stack of postcards to send to family (if we can find a way to get stamps, a real challenge), immediately hiding them in a pocket to ensure we weren’t hounded further.

We were also warned not to rent horses.

Several times, Mohammed shooed the vendors away from us. For the times we were alone, we kept on our sunglasses, eyes peeled on the ground to avoid tripping on the rough terrain ignoring every vendor in our path.

At one point, as we walked along a narrow path, Mohammed only 10 feet from us, a group of four officers, identically attired, with guns, uniforms, hats, starched white shirts with epaulets, all sitting atop four militarily adorned camels began waving at us as we approached them. 

Struggling to take camel photos without our camera being snatched, it was tough to get a good shot.

I couldn’t resist taking a photo of this scene, only to discover, that they too held out their hands as we passed, looking for money. We scurried away, unwilling to succumb to their plot.

For a time, we wondered if their “outfits” were a scam when we heard that there were numerous photographers dressed in Royal Caribbean attire, pretending to be “official RC photographers”
when in fact they were not.

It was so interesting, so far removed from our reality and simple lives.

Yes, we appreciate the poverty in this area of the world and respect these relentless individuals working seven days a week in the scorching heat in an effort to feed their families. But there was no way, any one of us could save them from their plight by buying a single useless trinket.

We were told before departing that tourism in Egypt was down considerably. But with multiple buses from multiple ships, we couldn’t imagine room for any more tourists in our midst. The lines to enter various sites were lengthy and uncomfortable in the scorching heat.

The desert was eerie…so unfamiliar to us.

To our good fortune it was only around 90 degrees at the sites. Toward the end of our day, a sandstorm came up, our eyes becoming irritated and scratchy, mine particularly with my contact lenses. 

By 6:00 pm, we commenced our return journey to the ship, back to Alexandria, will proved to be a three hour drive in the rain and in the dark on the traffic jammed highways.

The Pyramids have become greatly commercialized over the decades.

By then, we felt dirty, hungry and exhausted, needing to eat more out of necessity than hunger.
Luckily the buffer, the Windjammer Cafe, stayed open until 9:30 leaving us no time to shower and change for dinner.

Back in our cabin, we couldn’t wash the sand off our bodies quick enough and crawl into our comfortable bed quickly drifting off into oblivion.

Mohammed in black leading the way for us.

A once in a lifetime opportunity was not wasted on us. We will always be grateful for the experience. The history of the sites we visited from our knowledgeable tour guide in the six plus hours of driving time, could never be shared here with our limited access to the Internet. 

Mohammed posing with the three security guards on camels.

Many great web sites exist that are readily available for your perusing. Unfortunately, our MiFi is not working in Egypt as we’d hoped. We expect that some type of “block” is being utilized preventing our access. As a result, we cannot spend time finding links to share at this time. 

Here we are, in front of the Great Pyramids of Giza.  What an experience!

However, we’d be happy to answer any questions to the best of our ability via comments on our blog or personal email.

We captured this photo during the sandstorm.  It was windy most of the day.

We’ve included as many photos as the poor ship’s connection will allow. Tonight at 1:00 am we will begin our transit through the Suez Canal. The captain explained it will take approximately 13 hours for the full transit.  In the dark it will be impossible to see anything. 

The Step Pyramid, one of many we saw yesterday.  There are 110 pyramids in Egypt.

Our goal by sunrise is to find ourselves a perfect spot to witness the transit as we did when we traveled through the Panama Canal, a mere four months ago.

 The artwork on the handmade papyrus was astounding in detail.

Tom’s desire to check off two items off his “bucket list” will be fulfilled: full transits through the Panama and the Suez Canals.  Little did I know that when we booked these experiences,  that I
too would be entranced by their rich history.

 If we owned a “wall” we may have been tempted to purchase one of these works of Egyptian art.

Nor did either of us have a clue as to what wonders we’d discover at every turn, including even the scary parts, much of which await us and some of which are behind us. Soon, the Gulf of Aden, the upcoming emergency drills, the guards on board with yet more Uzi’s, the lights off at night…

 Photo of artwork at the Papyrus Institute, our last stop on our excursion.