Thursday, August 29, 1991 (Cairo)
We woke up forcefully at about 0800. Leo’s mom was in a bad mood because we were still sleeping (including her own daughter, Leo). So, she put up the volume of the TV, opened the shades, and started clapping. I felt like throwing her into the river, but what can I do. I woke up and got ready. Leo started fighting with her Mom and it got pretty ugly. Anne and Fab were trying to hold on to five more minutes, but no go. We all had breakfast in the room (bread, coffee, tea, and juice).
We then went downstairs to the American Express Travel office to book a tour to Luxor, Sound and Light show at the Pyramids, and a dinner cruise on the Nile. It took forever because we couldn’t confirm Luxor (LXR) to make it a one day trip. The only thing available was leaving Saturday at 1330 and returning Monday at 1030. Ana and I tried to endorse it on Zas Airlines with the Pan Am office, but no luck. We booked the cruise and the Light show. It took about three hours to do everything so our day was almost lost.
Fab, Leo, Mom, and aunt went to the Egyptian museum located near the Nile Hilton ahead of us. They did NOT want to wait. Ana and I went after to meet up with them. We walked around and it was OK. There was statue after statue. We finally found them and Fab told us to go see King Tut’s treasures on the second floor. They were tired so they all went back to the hotel. As Anne and I walked to the second floor, a guard told us to take pictures with flash which is forbidden) of mummified ribs. We did and then he started to ask us for money. I told him no because all the money was in the hotel. He got pissed and he started following us to make sure we took no more pictures. What a jerk!
We finally found King Tut’s room and it was cool. We saw his sarcarfogous and all the treasures. It was made of jewels and tons of gold. Anne took a picture with flash and a guard got mad and took her camera away, but he gave it back to us. After the museum, we bought postcards and stamps and we went back to the hotel. By the way, Anne, Fab, and I got same hotel room (#311) for two more nights at $75 a nite. Leo and company were leaving on El Al back to Tel Aviv, Israel (TLV) at 0100).
We ran into Leo’s aunt and mom and decided to go eat pizza and then to see St. Sergio’s church. This is the church that Joseph and Mary hid out in when they fled Israel. We all took a cab because it’s located in old Cairo which is pretty run down and poverty stricken. They were scared shitless, but they wanted to see it. We found the church, but it was closed so we saw. It was OK. After we visited the first mosque built (i.e. oldest) in Egypt (forgot exact name. I think it’s Ala Muallaqa). It cost 3LE to get in and we had to leave our shoes at the door and the women had to wear some gowns which were on hand. It was hilarious. Fab looked like a camel because her backpack made the gown bulge out the back.
As soon as we started to tour the place, we were hounded by beggars. There is lots of this in Egypt. All you hear is “Money please. Money please.” After a while, it gets old and exhausting. This tour guide at the mosque explained to us that this is where people come to rest and pray. The women are enclosed behind wooden walls. It was nice because it had just been reconstructed. As we left, we had to tip the tour guide and the men to give us back our shoes. You constantly feel the need to tip because the people almost force you to do it.
We went back to the hotel and got ready for the Nile cruise. After we showered and dressed, we took a cab to the Nile Pharaoh boat. The cab ride was fun. I sat in the front and the guy was driving like crazy and I asked him why he didn’t have his headlights on. He simply said, “We do not use them here.” Dinner was OK, but it was worth the $14 to just see Cairo at night and to say we “cruised” the Nile. During dinner, there was an authentic Egyptian show with a singer and belly dancer. The belly dancer was great because she was all made up and pretty. When she danced, she smiled and did her thing. As soon as the lights went down, he lit up and she crudely smoked a cigarette like it was the last one she was ever going to smoke. She didn’t look too happy. This observation somehow broke the illusion of this whimsical belly dancer acting free and happy. What was behind it all?
After the cruise, we went back to the hotel and Leo and company left to the airport. We said our thank yous and goodbyes and then, as usual, fell asleep as the next day was Giza tour day.