Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Egypt In One Day

My company sent our team to Kenya for a one month trial of our products. I was fortunate enough to go and was also very lucky to connect through Egypt. Seeing the pyramids have long been on my bucket list but I never knew I would find myself there until now!

Here's my quick adventure in Egypt!

Leaving San Francisco with an amazing view of the Golden Gate Bridge!
I saw the very faint Northern Lights in the dark sky and my camera managed to capture so much light it's almost a false representation of what was out there. Oh well, looks pretty cool though.

I got to Cairo in the late evening and took a taxi to Giza where I stayed for the night. The airport was full of people and it got worse outside with the taxi drivers waiting for business. On the drive to my hotel my taxi driver asked me for tips with no shame. I had dinner nearby and went to bed with the honking sounds of the non-stop traffic below.

Crossing the Nile River from Cairo to Giza
Horizon Pyramid Hotel, Giza
A little gift from Air France
Exploring the alleys before bed
Nearby alley
All night traffic right outside the hotel...and they love to honk

In the morning, I decided to walk to the Giza pyramids since my hotel was on that same road. I probably should have taken a cab since it took me almost an hour to get there but it was nice to see kids walking to school and everyone just going about their day.

From the rooftop

Finally a pyramid is in sight
Here come the hustlers...and they are everywhere!
Some tourists, but more stalking vendors below
The Great Pyramid of Khufu
481 feet (147 meters) tall!
Seeing the pyramids up close was a once in a lifetime experience and unfortunately it was spoiled by hordes of hustlers and vendors trying to make a few bucks off you. They come like flies and will not leave you alone. I had to swat them off one by one and continue on.

I felt like I had seen enough and didn't really want to stick around anymore so I cabbed it back to the hotel and checked out. I called my friend Ahmed and met up at The Four Seasons Hotel where he worked. He showed me around the hotel and we got to catch up for a bit.

A great view of the Nile River

After The Four Seasons Hotel with Ahmed, I took a taxi to Khan El Khalili, a famous open market I wanted to check out.

Along the road
I completely stood out like a tourist with my huge traveler's backpack walking around the market. Again, every single vendor and shop keeper approached me asking if I wanted to eat, drink, or buy whatever it is that they are selling. It is a very aggressive environment and sadly much the same like at the pyramid site.

I found the lounge I was looking for and quickly headed inside. There, I was able to put my bag down and relax for a while. Basically just hiding from the hordes of people outside looking to sell me stuff.

Khan El Khalili Lounge/Restaurant

I still had hours to kill after the lounge but didn't want to go to any other sites in case of rush hour traffic to the airport or simply for the fact that I didn't want to get harassed some more, I opted to head straight to the airport for my flight to Kenya.

I have never seen worse driving than in Egypt and I don't think anyone can beat my taxi driver to the airport.  I am still amazed I am here to tell you about it.  It is really that crazy.  I wish I had something on video but I don't.  If you've been to Egypt, then you know what I'm talking about.

Well that's my day adventure in Egypt and it was a really interesting experience.  The pyramids are off my bucket list and I'm not sure when I will see them again.

Next stop is Kenya!

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