October 2002 Trip
Day 15

Egypt Tour Day 10
Saturday, October 26th, 2002

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Today we flew back to Cairo from Luxor. After flight delays and other problems we made it to the Pyramids, Memphis and the Step Pyramid of Zoser at Saqqara.There are no pictures of Memphis as none are allowed there.

The day started by leaving the ship for the airport at about 7:00a.m.  When we got there, there was a huge crowd not often seen at Luxor Airport. At this point it is important to note that Luxor Airport is not too big. It has 2 gates and maybe 100 seats for each one. I think it took us half an hour just to get in the door. There are metal detectors and xray machines at every airport entrance in Egypt. Once in, the ticketing was handled for us (as it was through out) and we waited in the incredibly crowded gate area after another set of security checks. Finally we got to get on the bus to the plane and discovered it was a Boeing 747-300 seating 400 people. After another security check we got on the plane. Then the pilot comes on and tells us that the weather in Cairo is to hazy (some would say smoggy) to land. After about an hour and having the inflight beverage (orange or guava juice boxes) they closed the door and we taxied to take off. Then water started dripping out of the ceiling onto my lap. Luckily I remembered that certain older model 747s have this problem in hot climates. So we took off and 55 minutes later arrived at Cairo airport. After the mad house of collecting our bags with 400 other people we headed out.

We headed to the Pyramids first and after several detours (caused by the preparations for some soon to arrive foreign dignitary) we made it there. The pyramids are on the opposite side Cairo from the airport. So here is what they look like in the day light. As you may remember we saw them at night 8 days ago.

The Pyramid of Khufu (also known as Cheops). It's 137 meters high and  has 2,350,000 meters of stone blocks. It
was originally 9 meters higher but the top was removed in the early 19th century to provide stone to help build Cairo!!
This is the bottom of Khufu's pyramid. You can get some idea of the size of the blocks used from this picture.          

Me playing Arab. I got cornered by 2 really slick Egyptian
characters who were out to get me and partially did. O well, I've heard of a lot worse happening to people on trips.
That's the Pyramid of Khafre in the background. I actually got to touch that one.
So here is the Sphinx. Apparently he looks like the king
Khafre whose tomb is in the pyramid of the same name
directly behind.

This shows about as much of the Sphinx as can be seen by
anyone who isn't an archeologist. You can see the feet in
front and most of the body.

An artsy craftsy shot.

Here is our friend the Sphinx with the pyramid of  Menkaure to the left and Khafre to the right.

Sphinx to right with pyramid of Khafre behind and the
pyramid of Khufu (or Cheops) to the right.

Memphis was our next stop. Picture taking was not permitted or was very expensive there. Thus no pictures.

Our last stop was at Sakkara (or Saqqara if you prefer) to see the Step Pyramid of Zoser I. This dates from 2686 B.C. and is considered to be the oldest in the world.

The Step Pyramid of Zoser I, supposedly the oldest
pyramid in the world. Recently I heard some discussion
that this may not necessarily be true.
I forget exactly what this was but I think is was a funeral

 This was the last official item of the tours agenda however we did get an optional extra of going to Alexandra tomorrow.

We make it back to the Semiramus Intercontinental Hotel hotel at about 3:15. This place seems to have real difficulty checking people in. Nobody on the reception desk seemed to be able to do it with help from someone else. Not good when it's your prime business. It did finally get sorted out but we had to wait 45 minutes for them to clean the rooms. That was it for the rest of the day.

Tomorrow, the early morning fire alarm and Alexandria.

On to Day 16.

Created December 8th, 2002.
Final Edit December 20th, 2002.