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Michael’s Travel Diary

Friday, 24 Mar 2006

Location: Dahab, Egypt

Map(Okay, 3rd diary entry in 48 hours, check back old entries at bottom of page if you missed the earlier ones, and 2nd photo update in 48 hours also...)

Okay, so I'm back in Cairo, for the very last leg of the tour (which is basically left as a DIY section - the 11 day tour had nothing on the first day, or the last 2).

After feeling the pain of a second monster train journey, most people took it slow for a while and spent the morning in their rooms. We got in around 930, and most people didn't re-surface till about 1130am. Being the last real day on tour (I planned on leaving Cairo ASAP to head for Dahab, which basically meant I leaft after breakfast on the last day - the tour leader was gone by 630am!) there were a couple of things that I wanted to do in Cairo before i left. These were namely the Citadel, a fort built to protect someone (Christians) from Napoleon (maybe, maybe someone else) and Kahn Al-Kahlik (think I spelt it right, Cairo's most well known Bazzar).

Esther and Kathy both wanted to go, so I tagged along and left the trusty lonely planet in the hotel room, figuring the two girls had two different travel guides, and we'd be fine... We negotiated a fair price by taxi to the citadel, and were pretty impressed with how far we'd come in our dealings over the week we'd been away from Cairo. Especially after a rather sleepless night on the train again, all of us still feeling like zombies, wondering why'd we'd ventured out of the hotel on such a hot day when we felt so poor.

Well, within three minutes of walking around the citadel (and it is huge) looking for the entrance, we were set upon by the wise old con's of Cairo. The line, which I knew was crap, but was too weak to fight it, was that "the citadel is closed till 2pm for prayer, follow me, I'll take you to the blue mosque". Of course the other great trust builders "I'm a history teacher" etc. we used, and I found myself following the girls who were following the guy. Admittedly, we did get a pretty good tour of the old Islamic Cairo area, even though it was not what we were after. Once we got to the "Blue Mosque" which I am positive was not the Blue Mosque, he tried to sting us for 40 LE each to enter, and another 40LE to climb the tower. At this stage we stuck 10LE each in the donation box (which I am positive he has a key for), turned and left for the citadel again.

Upon returning to the citadel, we resumed our search for the entrance, never to actually find it. You see, the two guide books that Esther and Kathy had were CRAP when it came to finding the entrance and failed to provide this vital piece of info. And given it was in the high 30's and this area has to be the size of 3 or so city square blocks, we quickly lost patience and headed for the bazzar. Looks like they must have built it pretty well, as it succeeded in keeping us out, and we ran into othert tourists asking if we knew where the entrance was, so I know we weren't alone.

We wandered towards the bazzar (lets face it, we weren't entriely sure where we were going, mainly cos we weren't entirley sure where we were!). After half an hour, and some help from one of the few honest cops in Cairo, we found the bazzar.

Quickly I wondered how I had been sucked into going to the bazzar with all of the people hassling you, when I had no intention of buying anything. Admittedly though, I was enjoying the comments from the shop owners asking me why I had two wives (I was shopping with two girls and no guys). The stories changed quickly from, "No they're not my wives" to "I've got two more at home!" The guys were loving it, and the girls were happy to play along, especially when some of the shop keepers got a little to 'grabby' for your business in their shop.

Finally we made it back out of the market, without getting lost, and the girls with a handful of souvineers, and headed back to the hotel by taxi. That night we boarded a cruise ship on the Nile for our last dinner, and enjoyed a huge buffet. Along with the food, we had some excellent, and some not so excellent, entertainment.

Starting of the night was a 3 piece band, whose most memorable part of the night was that the lead singer had the tightest pants you had ever seen, and there was obvious camel toe action... being in Egypt, it only seems natural, only problem, the lead singer was male.

Then came the ugliest belly dancer I had ever seen. She looked like a tubby 40 year old half Asian, half Turkish, with parts of her hair bleached blonde. I can understand the tubby bit, you need a belly to belly dance, but if your are going to belly dance, use your belly. She was crap, and the highlight of that performance was Stan the 71 year old, getting up and showing her some of his moves in front of the entire cruise ship.

Finally, the show that made it all worth while, the Sufi dancer. Now, he was in my good books from the word go by bringing out a midget sufi dancer as a support act, but this guy was incredible (and made me look weak in the process). He wears a couple skirts (not sounding manly yet) and spins round and round as the skirts come up (still sounds rather gay actually). Hard to explain, but a couple of the pics (still to be posted) should help it make sense. If looks incredible, and he keeps spinning for 10, 15, 20 minutes, lifting the skirts over his head and twirling it on his hand. Now, you try holding your hand above your head for 10 minutes, let alone with a thick, 2m+ diameter skirt twirling on your finger non-stop. So what's he do? Challenges me to an arm wrestle, whilst twirling the skirt on his other hand (and kicked my ass in front of the whole boat).

Anyway, it was great way to fininsh the tour and with most people going their own way early the next morning, we headed for the hotel for one final drink at the hotel roof top bar. All in all, a great tour, glad that I did it with so many things to see, but not a place I'd come back to in a hurry for another holiday... till I found Dahab, but's that's for another story.

Finally, one last thing. One of the guys in the tour, Ryan (see him in the photos) is in a band called Soldiers of the Sun. They have apparently been getting airplay on tripple J since late last year (I dunno, I don't listen to radio) and I said I'd mention him on the site, as well as giving you the bands website:

www.soldiersofthesun.com

It's apparnetly roots and blues (I think, not that I really know what that is) and from what I heard on his ipod, sounds pretty cool. He plays the guitar and harmonica, so look out for them.

Anyway, that was the end of this entry. If you too would like some advertising space in my diary enytries (paid or otherwise) please email me at boarman@hotmail.com.

Till next time, when I will discuss Dahab, and my diving experiences (damn man, three dives today and I'm rooted) peace out, keep it real, and be happy... man.