Up at 5:15 AM (double groan) to get ready for a 6:15 departure from Alexandria to Cairo (Pyramids and Sphinx). Another 3 hour bus ride to get to Cairo. It was worth it. The Pyramids and Sphinx are amazing! We had time to photo and walk around the Pyramids before travelling the very short distance to the Sphinx. A few went into one of the Pyramids but after hearing our guide (another really good one) describe it I decided I could live without going inside. This is one place I'd like to return to with more time to visit. Besides being crowded and smelly she said that the corridor was narrow and not tall enough to stand up in some areas and that if you were at all claustrophobic or had back problems it was not a good idea. She also said that when you got into the burial chamber there was no decoration and the sarcophagus was only a plain one. After a three hour bus ride I just wasn't up for it. Perhaps next time.
After taking lots of pics of both the pyramids and Sphinx we went...you guessed it...shopping. After that we went to a riverboat restaurant for lunch. It was very nice and we were treated to a cultural show. In Egypt that includes a belly dancer, a whirling dervish and a sort of folk dance involving two guys and a girl (the belly dancer who had put on some more fabric). It was actually pretty good. The whirling dervish guy just kept spinning and spinning. I didn't know you could do that. Apparently this began as a religious devotional kind of thing and has become something more theatrical. He had several layers of cloth which spread out as he spun and he was able to make the layers "float" in interesting ways. I can't describe it much better than that. I do have some video for those who really must see it. I was definitely impressed by his performance. All of this was going on while we sailed up and down the Nile for a couple of hours and ate.
Then back on the buses for the return trip to Alexandria and our ship. We got a mini tour of Alexandria on the way back to the ship. We were back before 6:00 PM. I liked the 12 hour trip better than the 18 hour one we took to Luxor.
There was a little time so before boarding the ship I went...you guessed it...shopping... in the shops near the dock. I managed to spend the remaining Egyptian Pounds I had. One shopkeeper was very helpful. After haggling I spent 100 EP for some pyramids (somewhat smaller than the ones I had seen earlier in the day of course) he saw that I still had a 20 Pound note and told me to give it to him and see what he could do for me. I understood this to mean he would make me a good deal and I figured I'd just have to turn it in onboard and take a 3% beating from Bank of America not to mention the exchange rate mugging so I figured what the heck. At the current exchange rate we're only talking about a little less than $4 US. He offered me another object made like the pyramids but a little different. I didn't even haggle. I just said ok and we shook hands and I returned to my home away from home.
We had a BBQ on the Lido for dinner. They still don't know how to make BBQ. The trimmings were good but I just can't expect great BBQ onboard. Advice to Travellers: Don't eat steak in Egypt or BBQ on the Amsterdam.
Well, that's about it for now. Only one month and I'll be back in the US. I'm not sure I'll remember how to live on land.