2 Adults, 3 boys, 365 Days of Adventure
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Egypt

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The Equinox docked in Alexandria and we were met by our Egyptologist Dalia and our driver.  Dalia, an archeologist, was a spunky Cairo native in her late twenties who seemed to have a never ending knowledge all things Egyptian.  She gave us a fascinating three hour lecture on our drive from Alexandria Cairo all about the history of ancient Egypt.  She had created a book of pictures and maps that she used to illustrate what she was speaking about and was able to keep Keeks and Cracker completely engaged the whole time.
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We stopped for lunch at a floating restaurant that was docked on the banks of the Nile.  The food was mediocre at best but it was cool to be eating on the Nile never-the-less.  We then made our way through the heavy Cairo traffic to the Egypt Archeological Museum which contains the largest collection of Egyptian artifacts on earth including the tomb of King Tut and dozens of mummies.  King Tut’s treasures were unbelievably impressive and probably worth the trip to Cairo alone. The amount of pure gold was just staggering (the coffin alone has nearly 300lbs).  Dalia did a great job of walking us through the museum and adding context to all of the incredible artifacts.

Seeing the mummies was pretty freaky.  They have over 20 of them laid out in glass boxes that you can walk right up to.  Keeks walked into the mummy room, took one look at the mummies and turned around and walked back out.

That night we saw the sound and light show in Giza and got our first close-ups of the pyrimids.  I was prepared for them to be big and they did not disappoint.   They are just huge.  The sound and light show was a bit cheesy and too long but seeing the pyramids and the sphinx lit up in front of us was really amazing.

We spent the night at the Meridian and had a great traditional Egyptian meal at the hotel and then got to bead early so we could be rested for the big day ahead.

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Dalia had insisted that we meet at 7:30 am the next morning so that we could avoid the crowds and we all jumped into the minibus and headed out to Memphis, the ancient capital of Egypt.  The drive took us through some of Cairo’s poorer neighborhoods  and along one of Cairo’s infamous canals.  This was an eye-opening experience for all of us.  The roads were shared by beat up cars and trucks spewing fumes, buffalos pulling carts, donkies and stray dogs and cats.  The banks of the canals were literally covered in trash and water was a dark brown ozze that flowed slowly carrying it’s foul cargo of garbage which congealed along any opbstile in it’s way.  It was poverty and disregard for the environment on a scale that we had all never experienced.
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The city of Memphis is long gone but we made an interesting half hour stop to see a multitude of and well preserved large statues and then made our way to Sakara to see the first limestone structure ever built, the Stepped Pyramid of King Djozer.  The Stepped Pyramid is nearly 5000 years old and while it’s out shell of white limestone has been stripped over the centuries the main structure is still completely intact.  When we got there there was hardely anyone else there and the kids had fun playing in the sand right in front of the pyramid.  At Sakara we were also able to decend down inside a pyramid and see the burial chamber of a king.  Very cool.
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We then made our way back over to the Giza plateau and got up close to the Great Pyramid and the Sphinx.  The experience of being so close to these giants was really indescribable.

After finishing up at Giza we grabbed a quick lunch and then went briefly to the papyrus institute and got a demonstration of the process of making papyrus.  The boys also all got pendants with their names spelled in hieroglyphics inside of a cartouche (the ancient Egyptian sign of royalty).

One the way back to the ship Jen probed Dalia on what it was like to be a Muslim woman living in Egypt and they had a fascinating discussion about the differences between the societal roles of men vs women in a marriage in Egypt and the United States.   Dalia was incredibly forthcoming and candid and seemed to enjoy the conversation and provided us with a great experience.  Our driver however seemed to be very uncomfortable with the conversation and was visibly cold to us for the remainder of the trip and on our departure he got out of there as fast as possible not even bother to say goodbye to Dalia.
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Of all of the places that we’ve been done on this adventure so far, our two days in Egypt was definitely one of the top two highlights for all of us.

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