Before we ever left on this great adventure of ours, I knew that a childhood friend of mine was set to be married in Egypt in July of this year. Before we even knew where we were going, we decided that we would make sure to make it to Africa for her wedding. In fact it worked well with our original plans of going through Asia into the Middle East and into Africa overland. Plans changed due to the situation in the Middle East, but our plans to make it to Egypt never faltered, even during the revolution.
Today we left Athens and boarded a plane to Cairo. Our flight was short and easy, and went over some lovely Greek islands.
I tried to remember how long it had been since I had last seen Vanessa, and for how long we had known each other. In the end, I couldn’t really be certain, but rough estimates were that I hadn’t seen her in nearly 9 years, but known her for nearly twice as long. After all, we had known each other before high school.
On the flight I was most excited when Africa, the Mother Land, finally appeared on the horizon. Africa! Finally we had made it there, and finally we were to start exploring a continent that neither of us had ever visited before.
As we neared Cairo, the landscape became dryer, and greatly populated. From the sky one could see vast construction sites, with buildings overtaking the desert in what must be futile attempts. And as we were landing, we flew very close to people’s homes. It made for an interesting first impression of Cairo.
At the airport our first task was to pay for our visa and get through customs – and even as simple of a task as it was we managed to get confused. Eventually we made it through, and headed to get our backpacks. While waiting, a lady who did not speak a word of English handed me her baby to hold – Travis’ expression when he turned around and saw me was priceless. Had this been Romania, he would have been seriously freaked out.
Past the duty free (where we purchased our quota) we were met by Vanessa – we were so glad that she had come to meet us at the airport! Cairo’s airport is unlike any other we had ever seen, and getting a taxi there was no easy task. But with her knowledge of the city and the language, she got us into a cab and into our hotel.
Once settled we were off again, this time for food. We headed to Sequoia, a fancy / lounge-y restaurant on the tip of Zamalek, looking over the Nile. The setting was gorgeous, and the food tasty.
Later, we headed into the heart of Cairo: the Khan El-Kalili market. Vanessa taking the lead, we explored areas on the outskirts of the market. The streets were filled with old, ornate mosques and people going about their daily lives. It was nice to see everything lit up at night, and it made for a good introduction to the city.
Vanessa: Thank you for meeting us at the airport, showing us around Cairo and for a fantastic hotel room. And thank you for everything else in Egypt – I’m not saying what yet as to not spoil future blog posts 😉