Tag Archive: Pyramids



A bunch of close friends. “Barkada”. We’ve long planned this — and planned around a 5-night Nile Cruise on a chartered Dahabiya or sailboat. Cairo and Alexandra first, prior to the cruise from Luxor to Aswan. Then 3 more nights in Aswan to include a day trip to Abu Simbel. There were concerns prior to the trip. Left on February 17, about the time when the world is whirling and reeling from Coronavirus issues. But we were all set for this trip. So, armed with masks, wipes and alcohol sprays, we went. The flights to Cairo and then to Luxor, as well as the long drives to Alexandria and Abu Simbel were uneventful. The weather was perfect, all rides comfortable, though I must confess we underestimated Egypt’s cold temps. The whole cruising time, we had breakfasts on the riverboat’s deck in our terry bathrobes. The same robes we donned for dinners! It grew warmer by the time we reached Aswan and Abu Simbel. Finally, we parked our boots and rubber shoes and wore our sandals to go shopping. All throughout the journey, we were floored by all these ancient wonders and happily absorbed all the ancient history lessons. It was our luck that we had very competent tour guides. Egyptologists. Yes, you take special courses for that. We also met some foreign Egyptologists in the hotels where we stayed — archaeologists who specialise in Ancient Egypt. Such interesting people. The ones we met must be in their 60s-70s but you can still sense that burning passion in them. The kind you can almost touch! By journey’s end, we can only feel so thankful for the wonderful cruising adventure, the excitement triggered by the history lessons, the fun and mirth all throughout the holiday and most importantly the good health and safety enjoyed by everyone. This is our story. Feel free to click on the links for more photos and details.

https://lifeisacelebration.blog/2020/02/21/the-sphinx-and-moi/
https://lifeisacelebration.blog/2020/02/22/revisiting-cairo/
https://lifeisacelebration.blog/2020/02/24/alexandria/
https://lifeisacelebration.blog/2020/02/25/ballooning-in-luxor-egypt/
https://lifeisacelebration.blog/2020/02/25/gliding-through-the-nile/
https://lifeisacelebration.blog/2020/02/29/the-ancient-temples-of-luxor/
https://lifeisacelebration.blog/2020/03/06/of-egyptian-gods-man-gods/
https://lifeisacelebration.blog/2020/03/18/sailing-without-care/
https://lifeisacelebration.blog/2020/03/19/abu-simbel-finally/
https://lifeisacelebration.blog/2020/03/19/aswan-as-two/

Revisiting Cairo


I am on “review mode” and now appreciate the true value of digicams. Photographs from 1996 were sparse and scarce. Back then, you take your shots and wait till your film gets developed; these days, you take nearly unlimited shots and review to weed out the bad shots. How very neat! I am amused by my 1996 shots now that I can compare them against snaps from this 2nd visit of the capital of Egypt.

It was a challenge to find the exact same spot. The Sphinx — that mythical figure with a human head and the body of a lion — strikes a majestic image, almost like an apparition, in the middle of the Giza plateau. I had a favorite photo snapped there back in 1996 and I felt compelled to have another photo in the same spot. I saw the rock boulder I sat on but there is this big sign that says “No climbing” so I stood right by the edge where a rope or chain kept tourists off. Best I could do. And in one photo (below), I had another friend “replace” an old friend and travel companion. To be honest, I didn’t think I’d have this 2nd chance to visit this land of the pyramids. .

When we paid a visit to the Cairo Museum, I was reminded of a tragedy which struck one of the tour buses we convoyed with while crossing the border from Israel to Egypt. That bus had 16 or 18 casualties resulting from a terrorist bomb. Most tourists were Greek or German. This time, an alarm set off for a good 2 minutes or so while we were inside the Museum. My instinct made me search for the nearest exit while praying for safety. Turned out it was a false alarm. Phew!

Outside of the pyramid complex, Cairo boasts of a few more worthy sites to visit: the Saladin Citadel, the mosque of Muhammad Ali within it, the Bazaar, the Solar Boat Museum. I have not been to the Boat Museum in my earlier trip. But the Citadel and the Mosque, as well as the Bazaar, are exactly as I remember them. I wondered how nearly nothing has changed. Street photography can be quite a challenge but could be very rewarding, with perfectly-timed snaps. I wasn’t that quick with my fingers but am happy with these snaps in my memory keeper.

More snaps below from Saqqara and the busier streets of Cairo. WiFi has been spotty here and we’ve been moving, but will try to post as often to keep you updated.

Egyptian Cotton, anyone?

The Sphinx and Moí


It has been 24 years since I visited Egypt. At the time, I was on a 38-day holiday and the last leg involved a border-crossing from Israel into Egypt and a Nile Cruise aboard a luxurious M/S Oberoi Riverboat. Awesome land of the Pharaohs — that, despite the chaos, noise and dust! I swear my heart skipped a beat the first time I set my eyes on these ancient wonders, let alone when I entered one of the pyramids feeling like an explorer. The sheer size of these monuments and ancient wonders is beyond imagination and I wasn’t sure how I’d feel going through the same experience 24 years since 1996.

Fast forward 2020. Climate change and Covid-2019 looms in the horizon. But we remain unfazed. We arrived in the evening in Cairo, eager to rest our tired bods following a long flight. The next whole day gets a good start with the Great Pyramids of Giza. And let me warn you, they’re not called GREAT for nothing. Standing at the edges of the Western Desert a few miles west of the Nile, this necropolis is this country’s iconic landmarks along with the Sphinx which lies east of the entire complex. Imagine Egypt without the pyramids is like thinking of Macchu Picchu without the citadel atop the mountain. The Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt surely knew how best they can be remembered long after they’re dead. The largest (in Giza) and the oldest pyramid (in Saqqara) are the most visited ones but every visitor can’t resist being impressed even with smaller, satellite pyramids found in the sandy fields of Giza and Memphis. The “mastabas” for lesser royals add more charm to the entire necropolis.

Tourism absolutely thrives in Egypt. And every child must have gone through that phase wishing to be an archaeologist, or maybe even an Egyptologist studying and exploring these ancient wonders. Such an inheritance for this African country! And those camel touts must be doing brisk business too. Thank you Kings Khafre, Khufu and Menkaure. Your legacy lives on.

History comes alive in the evening’s Light and Sound Show. Some of my travel buddies braved the cold and sat, stared and listened in the open area as the sound and lighting system did its job. What a perfect way to cap the day!