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17 May 2008

being a host is tough work, part II

i forgot to tell you that on thursday, i was a stupid boy as usual. TheJay was walking around the apartment in his sock-feet, and i noticed that he was sliding on our pseudo-polished hardwood floor. i took this as an open invite to do my best "risky business slide" a la tom cruise but with my pants on. i did it successfully two times, but on the third attempt, i found a not-so-slippery spot on the floor and bit it hard, severely bruising or breaking some ribs on my right side. and now, the rest of the story.

on friday, my normal day off, it was to the pyramids... i shouldn't speak for other people, but seriously, you go to egypt to see the history, the culture, but really, you got to see the pyramids. TheDriver found us a guide named abdullah, who would take about LE 100 ($20) per person. he walked us around to a few tombs and ruins while he organized our modes of transportation in the background. TheJay and TheRachel went down into part of the tomb for the engineer who designed some of the great pyramids. that's a picture of them coming back out at the beginning here. i was going to get a horsedrawn cart for TheMom and i, since i'm a worry wart about her health and such. abdullah told us that the carts can't go off the roads, so we decided that TheJay and TheRachel would get camels and TheMom and i would get horses. abdullah knew i was concerned about my mom (sorry, i don't want any hospital trips on my watch) so he had a youngin', maybe 10-12 years old, walk her horse through the desert. for some strange reason (probably to get more tips from us), he'd arranged for someone to ride with TheRachel. we figured out that the guy was trying drive her camel and stopped that, so he got TheJay's camel up and tried to drive it. jeez! i explained to abdullah that I rode a camel all by my lonesome, and it was no problem, so they didn't need a driver, so now instead, they had someone to walk THEIR camels through the desert.

the going was pretty nice. the day wasn't too hot, our animals were pretty obedient, the trip was good. we meandered our way out past the pyramids, watching other tours way out in the desert and some passing us the other way. TheJay wanted to trade his camel for my horse for a bit because he saw people galloping out through the desert like bandits. i didn't give him my horse, but he kinda got his wish. the guy pulling his and TheRachel's camel along tugged on it a few times through the trip getting them to pick up pace. camel's aren't really built for efficient and aesthetic running, but they held their own and made a bit more than an trot for a bit. it was funny to watch, at least. we rounded the pyramids to the photo op spot where TheJay's camel was really being a dick to me. every picture we took, just as abdullah was about to press the shutter button, TheJay's camel would move it's head to get in my way, as you can see by me craning to get in the pic. we went on to the sphinx and got closer with abdullah than we did my first time with moustafa. he dropped us off at the sphinx where we paid and had to tip, and then the kid wanted tips, and blah... we walked into the sphinx area and took some good pictures. TheMom took a seat just inside the walls on one of the three steps to the photo area (that is, she fell, but gracefully, no damage or injury). we took our pictures and TheJay remarked for not-the-first-time how egyptians just don't understand a queue. even a crude queue that we were trying to firm to get pictures failed miserably with people cutting ahead and such. i believe the first time he mentioned the queue issue was when we took the metro during a busy travel time. if everyone exited on their right and everyone entered on their right, it would be an amazingly efficient transfer of oncoming and outgoing passengers into the car... but seemingly, these people have no concern over overall efficiency when compared to "I WANNA GET ON THAT TRAIN BEFORE EVERYONE ELSE BECAUSE I'M MORE IMPORTANT". sadly, we had to take on the same attitude in a self-perpetuating cycle or we'd've never gotten anywhere, but i digress.

after the sphinx, we went to the oberoi hotel golf club for lunch. it's a very small menu, not like the nice restaurant in the hotel, but it was close and good for getting rid of the stomach grumbles whilst sitting in the shadows of the pyramids. there are some parts of the visit that are a bit of a blur, and this is one of them. i believe we went back to the apartment to relax. TheJay and TheRachel had to pack since they were leaving on a day trip to sharm el sheikh at 6AM the next morning. dinner? i forget. TheMom? TheJay? i received a happy surprise that day when i got a call from jules that she was coming home from the tunisia job to get her work permit worked on, so i'd see her the next afternoon, saturday.

saturday, TheJay and TheRachel caught their flight, jules came in, i went to work, and TheMom stayed home and started one of her favorite parts of vacationing... relaxing. she dilly-dallied around the apartment and TheDriver took her to carrefour to pick up a few things in the afternoon. nothing much more exciting than that. TheJay and TheRachel arrived back to cairo from sharm sunday afternoon, and i believe, that was the day we had a barbecue. all the site TAs came over, jules was there, my guests, and a guy from the end-user all stood around and had a merry ol' time. we cooked steaks and chicken, jules made her egyptian salads, i made sure the drinks were flowing and the sheesha was lit. it was a really good time.

monday, i had TheDriver take my guests to "the citadel". it's a famous castle/fort/mosque in cairo that was once a military stronghold, but now is a tourist attraction, largely due to it's containing mohamed ali's mosque (not that mohamed ali). again, TheMom had to walk up and down hills which was torture on her back, but she lugged through it courageously. she had some hate daggers coming out of her eyes at the pyramids because i was acting like a ruthless personal trainer... come on, pick a point and go for it, THEN rest. you can do it, we're almost there..., etc. she did great though and the exercise didn't hurt. that night when i got home from work, i changed and escorted TheJay and TheRachel to the train station via the metro. they were taking an overnight sleeper car monday night to luxor so they could visit "the valley of the kings" for the day. they would check it out, and then take another overnight train back to cairo arriving early wednesday morning. again, i was at work then they arrived back. they hung out most of the day with TheMom and napped and generally relaxed. they had to pack for good since they had to catch a 3:45AM flight back home through athens. i bid them farewell before heading to bed since i doubted i would wake up to send them off that early with work in the morning (i know, hosting faux pas, i'm not perfect). TheMom had a good time relaxing in a foreign country for the next few days until her 5AM flight on saturday morning. the flight home wasn't the best. her back was hurting by the time she got home about 20 hours later, but seeing TheNephew cheered her up. he was excited to see her too. this is the longest she's been away from him ever. he liked his souvenirs, so that definitely helped the mood whatd'ya get me?! whatd'ya get me?!

and that, my friends, is the end of that story, until someone comments on something i heinously forgot to mention.

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Blogger themom said...

I think I am just going to link to this entry - and save me some covered it all so well. No biggie on what we did for dinner after the Pyramids...very American, we ordered Papa John's! thank you thank you thank you!!!


7:21 PM, May 24, 2008  

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