Tuesday, February 17, 2009


So I know it has been AGES since I've posted on the blog, but I'm back! I think the issue is that Dubai has actually started to feel more like home and less like an exotic getaway spot that I have lots to write about. But I've actually been doing more traveling in the region, so I can write about that! First post: Egypt


Over winter break, my family came to visit me in Dubai and we took a family trip to Egypt (Cairo and Luxor) for 5 days. It was incredible! I really enjoyed the country. My only complaint was that I didn't go to Egypt after 6th grade history, when my knowledge of ancient Egypt was so much more fresh (my goal now is to take my kids there after they study Egypt). There is so much history!!! I remember studying about the high regard Egyptians place on the afterlife, but seeing it in person made it all the more amazing (and slightly excessive, to be honest). I am pasting our private caravan tour itinerary below, so that I can remember all the cool places we went:

Day 01 – Cairo
Arrival in Cairo international airport, Meet & Assist at the airport and after going through Immigration, Baggage Claim and Customs.
H/D guided visit to one of the Seven Wonders of the World the Pyramids of Giza and the Great Sphinx that large statue which is one of the most famous monuments in the whole world.
Transfer to the Grand Pyramids hotel.
Check in & time for refreshment.
Dinner on board of " Nile Memphis " Nile cruise. Sailing in the Nile for 02hrs.including open buffet dinner, belly dance & folkloric show. - Starts at 1930hrs -
Overnight at the selected hotel in Cairo.

Day 02: Cairo/ Aexandria / Cairo
Breakfast at hotel
Drive to Alexandria through the desert road ( Duration of 03hrs. )
Arrive Alexandria.
Visit the Cata Comb.
Visit the Pompey's Pillar.
Photo-Stop by Qaitbay Fort.
Lunch at " Athenios " sea food restaurant overlooking the sea.
Visit Alexandria library.
Drive back to Cairo.
Overnight at hotel in Cairo.

Day 03: Cairo / Luxor
Breakfast at hotel & check out
Half day guided visit to the Egyptian Museum.
Collection of Tut Ankha Amoun at the Egyptian museum
Guided visit to the Citadel of Salah El Din, Mohamed Ali mosque inside.
Transfer to Cairo airport for departure to Luxor at 1700hrs. ( Duration of 01hr. )
Arrive Luxor, meet, assist & transfer to Ibrotel Luxor hotel.
Dinner in a local restaurant in Luxor.
Overnight at Ibrotel hotel in Luxor.

Day 04: Luxor
Breakfast at hotel
Cross the Nile to the west bank.
Visit The West Bank. the Valley of the Queens, the Temple of Queen Hatshepsut at El Deir El Bahari and the Clossi of Memnon facing the Nile.
Clossi of Memnon
Drive back to the Eastern bank in Luxor.
Lunch in a local restaurant in Luxor.
Time free at leisure for going around in the tourist bazaar

Carriage ride to Sound and Light show at Karnak temple
Overnight at Ibrotel hotel in Luxor

Day 05: Luxor / Cairo
Breakfast at hotel & check out
Visit Luxor & Karnak temples.
Karnak Temple
Time free at leisure.
Transfer to Luxor airport for departure at 1700hrs back to Cairo.
Arrive Cairo, meet, assist & transfer to Khan El Khalili bazaar – Hagglers Paradise
Visit the Imam Hussain tomb and mosque
See the Al Azhar Mosque from outside
Self guided visit to Al Azhar Park
Dinner in a local restaurant
Transfer to Grand Pyramids hotel for overnight.

Day 06: Cairo / Home
Early breakfast at hotel & check out.
Transfer to Cairo international airport for the final departure

As you can see, we had a VERY full schedule. We were pretty tired, but still felt like we got to see the highlights of Egypt. And we had an amazing tour guide in Cairo who did an excellent job explaining all the history to us. Seeing the pyramids and all that the Ancient Egyptians left behind literally thousands of years ago really puts life in perspective for you. And it's so awesome that they were able to leave so much behind for us to see. It made me ask what our generation will leave behind in a few thousand years... skyscrapers? global warming? anything?!

Cairo traffic was unbelievable. I thought India was bad, but Cairo might have been worse. You really can't move during rush hour and driving itself is pretty crazy. The city is incredibly dense-- 20 million out Egypt's population of 80 million live in Cairo. I was fascinated by the styles of women in Egypt. Most young adults were wearing western clothes with a headscarf, which seemed more progressive than the full abayas you see in the UAE and other parts of the Middle East. I actually think I appreciated Egypt more having been in Dubai because it really feels like the Middle East! People actually speak in Arabic. And Egypt has real culture and SO much history-- the very opposite of Dubai and the UAE...

Anyway, bottom line is that I really loved Egypt. Pics are here: http://picasaweb.google.com/shirinsharif/Egypt#. Enjoy!

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