Location: Port Suez, Egypt
Today was the day of our Cairo tour, and our tour guides came to pick us up quite late. We’ve learned that Egyptians don’t share our view of punctuality. We were loaded onto a tour bus in Port Suez, complete with a police escort. This included a motorcycle in front of us, a car behind, and a man dressed in a suit with a submachine gun on the bus with us. After an hours drive we entered Cairo in heavy traffic. First we stopped on a bridge over the Nile for a view. From there we could see most of the dense city, but along the river there are still many small family farms. Once on the west side of the Nile we could see the pyramids looming in the distance. It was amazing to get up close to them. Their sheer size was incredible. It was difficult to imagine just how long ago they were constructed. We also made our way down to see the Sphinx, which was amazing to see in person. The whole area was surrounded by all sorts of vendors trying to hassle us into buying all sorts of crap. A few shipmates went for camel rides around the pyramids and came back with big smiles. Later on we went to a great buffet, and along with some Japanese tourists, stuffed our faces with Middle Eastern food. For the rest of the day our guides brought us to various shops to buy souvenirs. This included a papyrus painting gallery, a perfume maker, and a trinket store. On the way back to Port Suez we stopped at a Carrefour (just like Walmart) for provisions. It was a big effort, but it went smoothly and we took time to grab some dinner as well. By the time we got back to Argo it was nearly one in the morning. It was a long day, but none of us will forget our whirlwind tour of Cairo.