The first two weeks of our journey were a mixture of some additional dive training, fun diving, supporting our ‘Red Devils’ from a distance, meeting and eating with friends in Ghalib and also discovering Cairo.
I know, it sounds a bit odd to visit Egypt first on our South East Asia trip, but for us it was a very natural way to start the travel. It’s in the right direction, more or less, it has become like a second home, and there are good connections from Cairo to Bangkok by Egypt Air. So…why not?
In week one, Leen became and Advanced Open Water diver, so Nemo (Leen) and Dory (Tracy) did it again. Meantime Leen, aka as the lady on the day-boats with the most non-diving days, did 53 dives!! I became a rescue diver together with my ‘Schagen’ dive buddy Wim. Though course, but absolutely worth it. In case of an accident, every second counts and it’s important to know how to recognize and react to troublesome situations.
During week two we tried to slow things down a little, which was not so easy as it soundsJ. Over the years we met quite some nice people who became trough friends although we don’t see each other that often. So of course we wanted to meet up with all of them between the football games so we pretty much went for deco beers every evening.
The pyramids of Giza, the Djozer pyramid of Saqqara, the river Nile, the Egyptian museum, Khan El Khalili, Azahar park, capital of Egypt, 20 million people…
So much history, so much culture and very much alive.
Whilst flying to Bangkok through Cairo we really felt obliged to, at least, visit some of the highlights of this great city. Looking back we really didn’t regret it for one second. Leen chose a very small, but lovely family hotel just in front of the pyramids of Giza to spend the night. The hotel roof top terrace was magnificent; we had both dinner and breakfast there, the view on the pyramids there is really unique. Being there and wandering between those massive constructions made us feel humble, we have no other word for it, than humble and small. The largest pyramid being 147m, the building blocks at the basis weigh 30tons each and the ones at the top 10tons each. It’s just unreal, how powerful and rich these kings must have been. At first it was said that the pyramids were build by slaves, but only recent studies show that the builders would have been paid laborers from more south in the country that left there area during the rainy season and came to make a living in the construction of the pyramids. Whoever built them; they are really out of this world.
On the one hand Cairo has al these great and beautiful highlights, which remind you to their ancient history, and on the other hand it’s the capital of Egypt, were 20 million of people are living together. Al of these people are trying to make a living; these people are trying to survive some way ore another. Tourism is still not what it used to be and very weak. Not many of the Nile cruise ships are running at this time, most of them are gathering rust and dust. We passed a large number of unfinished apartments and houses while driving around the city. Unfinished buildings were now the poor people are living. Being next to the dessert, Cairo, however absolutely beautiful is also dusty, dusty and hot and since there is no public garbage collection, pollution is a tremendous issue. We seldom have seen so much dirt and rubbish in the streets, not so much in the historical center, but more in the suburbs. The irrigation channels are flooded by waste and single use plastic, but you can’t blame the people for that, they have no other solution than to dump it on the streets, into the channels or to just burn it.
Having said all of this, we still have a very warm hart for Cairo and cannot understand why not more tourists are visiting this great place. It’s absolutely safe, the people are warm and kind and there’s just so many to experience. Not going there would be a big mistake!