Egypt – Start

2010.10.2~3In hindsight, the trip plan was a bit aggressive – in total we flew 13 times in 16 days. We went to two continents, camped in the desert, strolled along the Nile River and lodged on the clifftop by the Aegean Sea. Maybe the only thing I wanted to see but had to skip is Meteora in Greece. Other than that, we felt pleased and, in fact, honored to see all the wonders in these two countries of the longest human history and the greatest civilizations.

The trip started on Oct. 2nd. We left San Francisco at noon. It’s Lufthansa Airline but operated by United. Because it’s an international flight. United “generously” provided one meal and one snack on the 10-hour flight. There were 5-hour connection time at Frankfurt so we had a lunch in the airport. The food was nice, but the exchange rate was outrageous, €1 = $1.68.

Frankfurt Airport
Lunch at Frankfurt Airport
Lunch at Frankfurt Airport
Lunch at Frankfurt Airport
Lunch at Frankfurt Airport
Lunch at Frankfurt Airport

When we arrived in Cairo, it’s already Sunday night. Before we stepped out of the airport, we already started experiencing Egyptian’s “hospitality”. A man in the official(?) airport booth offered us the price of 150 Egyptian pounds to the hotel, which should only cost 50 pounds. Out of the airport, we were approached by a young man who claimed he had a taxi. With no white or black taxi in sight, we decided to go with him. We ended up paying him more because he told us an extra 10-pound was needed to use the toll road, which he didn’t take. Any way, it’s late night and we arrived in hotel safely.

The hotel we stay is Safir Hotel at Zamalek. Zamalek is an island in the Nile River. Many foreign embassies resides in this district. It’s a quieter area but by no means up-scale. We got a smaller room in a suite, but we did have a nice view of the Nile.

Overlook the Nile River from the Hotel Room
Night view of the Nile

The best feature of the hotel is its pool. It’s an open area by the river, which offers breezy atmosphere that make you think the tumultuous Cairo is a different world. Every Sunday night, live music is played with traditional instruments, such as Oud.

Live Music in Safir Hotel at Zamalek
Traditional music play by the pool at Safir Hotel at Zamalek

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