After a good breakfast which was a choice of continental and Middle Eastern food we got on the bus with Mehmood our guide explaining that our first stop is what any person who has heard of the Great Pyramids of Giza would look forward to visit with much anticipation, which summed up the feelings of our tour group. The Pyramids were very close to Le Meridien and we were among what seemed like hundreds of tourists  flocking to see one of the great ancient wonders of the world. We started with the biggest one which is called Khufu or Cheops (as the Greeks called it) and if one were to recall some of the dates of it being built 2600 years before the birth of Christ. This was during the Old Kingdom which Mehmood explained was when the 3 pyramids were built, Khufu, Khafre and Menkaure, the biggest one being Khufu. The dimensions of the stones and weight are all a matter of record, but what was apparent was that there was no visiting allowed to the inner chambers where the mummified remains, if any were kept. We were told that it was “under construction”. We walked around, taking photographs of the Pyramids and then were bussed to where the famous Sphinx is situated, at a distance the 3 pyramids were varying in their sizes, but a sight that would leave an impression on even a casual onlooker. The level of human effort and engineering that went into building these monuments and every angle we looked at these works of magnificence, knowing that each of these stones were hand crafted and hauled all the way to meticulously involving sophisticated design to what we see 5000 years later is as awesome a human feat of engineering as any I had seen.

We then proceeded to the the Museum of Antiquities, I had read about the museum, and again, the historical significance of seeing artifacts from upwards of 4000 years ago was a much awaited experience. The tickets had been purchased on our behalf earlier by Mehmood the guide. We were provided with headphones since there were crowds of tourists who had several guides it would facilitate one’s own guide to being heard. The museum is a big one and followed a chronological layout with Old Kingdom artifacts and then the Middle Kingdom with some of Egypt’s modern day history being displayed. There were several Pharoah mummies, some of them better kept than others. There was a whole section on the Upper Nile and followed it down till the lowermost part of the Nile in Egypt, and the various events that took place. On display is that  Egypt is replete with history and some of it comes to fore with a visit to this museum. It also proved that some reading up would help in being able to disseminate all that one can see, but it still makes an impression on all visitors. We spent upwards of two hours

Our next stop was a perfume shop, Golden Eagle in Giza, where single flower oil and scents were being sold preceded by some sales talk of its curative powers. The salesman was good and he showed us a bevy of beautifully bottled perfumes and oils, with Aladdin’s lamp type of burners that would ignite the perfumes allowing its fragrance to spread. Hence we heard names such as Orange Blossom, Jasmine, Arabian Nights, Jujube oil etc which caught our fancy and it paid off for the establishment.

Several of our group, including Shyni bought the products, with the feeling that if it is vouched for by Royal Omania, it must be genuine. However, despite the sales talk and supposedly the follow up, to this day we have not been able to get a response from this outfit for the questions we have about their products.

The Nile “cruise” was in the cards for the evening experience, not everyone had signed up for it, maybe due to being tired or the fact that it was an extra $25. At 6pm we got on the bus to the ferry launch, a big boat which had 3 levels. It seemed like it would accommodate at least 300 people. The fact that it had gotten dark made for a poor visual experience as far as seeing the outside, there were lights and then the dark waters. The ferry took off and we realized that what the whole “cruise” tantamount to was dinner and some dancing. The belly dancer, was not noteworthy especially for Shyni & myself since we had seen very good dervish dancing when we had visited Istanbul a few years ago. The belly dancing was followed by a Tanoura dancer who was quite good and invited some of our group to join him. While this was going on we had dinner buffet style, the food was quite good and they even sold some Egyptian beer a pale lager, Sakara. The boat ride was for 2 hours and at least for 1 out of the 2 hours the boat was stationary, which made calling it a Nile cruise, a joke! From there at about 8pm we were back in Le Meridien for the second night in Cairo, with instructions to keep our luggage out by 7am in the morning so that it could be loaded into the bus. This was our last night in Egypt.

From a distance the Pyramids of Giza .

Jose, a tour member in front of the Sphinx of Giza

Museum of the Antiquities, Cairo

One of the magnificent Pharaohs clad in gold.

A few of the group in the front of the Le Meridien in Cairo.

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