Saturday, July 25, 2009

Lakes in the desert

While we are taking pictures and looking at the falls our escorts were having tea. Trying to find where the falls begin we found the source coming up out of the ground. Not sure if its piped in from somewhere or just comes from under ground either way it was kinda neat to see. The people were friendly not pushy at all, excited to see Americans and we enjoyed watching them at the falls. I know my story does not do the day justice. It was a lot of fun. We did not see the Whale bones from the map it looks like they are 34km from where we were. Another day maybe.......The escorts led us back to the check point and wave to us and we were off to eat at the Hard Rock in Cairo. By this time its late afternoon. While eating there we see that there is a Hard Rock in Hourgada

After the camel sale we decided to go to the lake that our team members had found the week before. There were suppose to be waterfalls out there somewhere and we thought we would go have a look see. So our adventure begins. We had been out to the lake before, James and the boys had when they went to ride 4 wheelers at Arabian nights.
A little ways past Arabian nights is a check point and we were stopped and asked where we were from. When we told them America we were told to pull up and wait. Another man comes up and says we will need to follow the military police they will escort us to the lake. We get to the first Lake with turns out to be Lake Qarun. The lake we had all seen before. We did not stop but keep driving. We are following our escort not really sure where it was going to take us but what the heck we did not have a thing to do today.
We drive forever it seems then we see another lake Upper Lake and not too much further we see the third lake Lower Lake. This is in the Wadi El-Rayan Protected area. By this time we had figured they were leading us to the water falls. Okay really hoping!
We were even given a map of the area that contained a guide. Fayoum, Gateway to the western desert, Egypt Home of the Valley of the Whales World Heritage Site.
The first Lake we came to was bigger than Benbrook Lake in Benbrook Texas (for those who are from DFW area) The next two lakes are smaller but still pretty impressive in the middle of the desert.
We arrive a the lower lake and begin looking for the waterfalls, we did not wonder around too long before we had locals enjoying the falls wanting us to take their pictures and showing us where the falls are.

Camel sale

You know it's going to be a great day when you don't know where your going exactly! I have been wanting to go to a camel sale since I got to Egypt. Having gone to cattle sale's as a child with my grandfather and just being naturally curious to see how things are done here. Friday one of our team members took us to a camel sale that he had gone to the Friday before. I was not going to buy a camel just wanted to go and see it. I had no expectations so I was not disappointed. After driving what seemed like forever (about an hour) in the middle of I have no idea where I was we started passing vehicles with camels in the bed. No not cattle trailers, I have not seem a trailer one in Egypt. They put any animals in the back of pick ups. No need to go to the expense of a trailer. You have to be on the look out for running camel cause they are hundreds of camel being sold. We asked how much a camel was going for, not sure if this is right but we think 100 LE about 20.00 us. We took lots of pictures, probably won't go back, glad I got to see one. Most unusual thing that happened is that an older Egyptian women came up behind me a started touching my hair and talking to me in Arabic. This used to happen when we first got here so I did not think it was someone being mean, just kinda odd. Then a man asked me to take a picture with his child who clearly not so sure about all that. Not sure who thought it was more weird me or the child, but after the picture he looked up an smiled. What a sweet little boy.

Friday, July 17, 2009

La Hacienda Ras Sudr Egypt

The water and beach are absolutely beautiful. The water was at low tide when we first got on the beach around lunch time Thursday but within a couple of hours the water was back "up" again. The water was warm, no jelly fish, and there were plenty of sea shells even sand dollars. The sand dollars don't look like the ones we have found in Florida these are thicker. There were only a few people when we first arrived but by evening there were a lot more people but not crowded by any means.

The resort itself was nice. Our room was small, had a queen size bed, t.v., mini frig. It did not have soap, or shampoo, or a hair dryer. We took our own soap.

When you go to a resort in Egypt it either has more than you'd ever need on a weekend with anything a phone call away, or it does not even have the basics you expect at a resort. Take what you will use that way your covered. We even take toilet paper cause you just never know here. lol
On the way there I was thinking okay we will probably be the only foreigners there and they will stare. At first we were the only ones there, and they stared, then later some younger people showed up and there looked to be some other foreigners, but they still stared.

Most every hotel or resort we have stayed at in Egypt the food is always presented as a buffet. Everyone that knows me knows that I just don't like buffet style dinning. I still do not like buffet dining. When we had dinner while in line at the buffet a man cut in front of me and James, the chef quickly told him (I only understood by his gesturing) to go to the end of the line. I was really impressed, and thanked him. Egyptians do not eat what Americans eat for breakfast. To me it looks like everything that was left over from the nights be fore's buffet. I do not know this to be the case it just appears to be the same food.

The cost for this resort was 395LE. Then they wanted us to pay an extra 100 LE because they said we needed another bed. We politely refused to pay anything extra and refused another bed. In Egypt it is my understanding if you are not married you can not get a hotel to reserve a room for you and anyone of the opposite sex. It is also my experience that the standard room for a married couple is two full or twin beds, which they offer to push together when we complain about wanting a queen size bed.

This was a very nice place with a beautiful beach that was not too crowded and not too far away. It is 208 km from Cairo. It was quiet but not "frilly". We did ask for a bucket of ice and they brought a glass, so we then asked for a bucket. They brought a bucket with just the glass of ice in it and said they were out of ice. Did I mention how beautiful the beach was! lol

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

One year in Egypt

Yesterday we took a felucca ride on the Nile with some of our team members. One of them is returning home for good and it just so happen to fall on our year anniversary in Egypt. It was a beautiful, relaxing evening. We should do that more often. I had been wanting to take a felucca ride for a couple of weeks and so had a few others. In the next few months others of our team will be returning home.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Movies in Cairo

On Kiefer's last day in Cairo we went to the movies, ate at Chili's and bowled one game. The movie we watched is the new Transformer movie. I had no idea about the Egypt scences in the movie, and how close Petra is to the pyramids (it's not that close). The movie theater that we went to in a 3 story (no elevator) building where Chili's in on the ground floor as is the bowling alley. The theater is on the 3rd floor. We had heard stories of halfway through the movie they turn it off for intermission. They did. Also movie goers clap when the movie begins and when it ends. We also had to tell them which seats we would be sitting in when we purchased the tickets. We were escorted to our seat. The seats that were behind us they said were sold but no one sat in them the whole movie, not sure what thats about. Chili's is just like at home except no bacon. Bowling was fun have not done that in a while (okay a long long while) it was fun, hot if the air conditioner was on it didn't work very well. Its 100 everyday here just like at home.
Kief made it home safe and sound. The new part opened up at the airport and our expeditors are not allowed in that part so I was a little concerned about Kief navigating through but aparently he made it just fine. I have not talked with him in depth just that he made home.
Today James I went to City Stars Mall to eat at Macaroni Grill. The food there is just like at home, except no bacon and no wine, beer etc. City Stars is a beautiful mall but very expensive. They have lots of stores that we have in America but the prices are just unbelieveable. I don't know how they stay in business. We always go around lunch time so maybe they do all their business at night.
James was off today for the 4th. Our week is Sat-Wed are weekend Thurs & Fri. We wanted to go to La Hacienda but Eastwinds was full. Eastwind is the kennel we use for Jac Pott our dog. We are still trying to get a list of the days off so that we can plan trips when we have a 3 day weekend.