In less than a month we’ll be winging our way to Egypt for a family wedding. While it’s primarily a family trip, you can rest assured that Museum Girl will be taking in the sights. The itinerary is firming up and I thought I’d share a few highlights.
Keeping the Main Thing the Main Thing
As excited as I am about the rest of the trip, the reason we’re going is to participate in Bassem and Mariam’s wedding. We’re all agog with excitement. Bill and I will arrive in Cairo late in the evening on a Saturday night and be whisked away to the Fairmont in Heliopolis. On Sunday afternoon we’ll attend a luncheon for all the families at an “oriental” restaurant. When I wondered why we were having Chinese food, I learned Egyptians call Middle Eastern food “oriental.” I learn something new every day.
Monday is the day of the wedding, and it is also a national holiday, so I’m told I will see the residents of Cairo enjoying themselves in parks and other areas of leisure. I’ll spend the day getting all gussied up for the wedding. Egyptians know how to party and they expect guests, especially the couple’s families, to get all decked out. I’ll be wearing a long formal gown bedazzled with crystal beads. For the church ceremony I’ll wear a sheer over-blouse cinched by a jeweled belt, which will cover the spaghetti-strapped straight bodice of the full-skirted gown. Pictures to follow.
On the day after the wedding we’ll be transported to the elegant Mena House Hotel, in the shadows of the pyramids. Some folks tried to convince me to hire a guide for sightseeing for the day, but 8:30 AM was entirely too early to start a day of touring, especially after partying late into the night in the ballroom of the gorgeous Fairmont.
So instead, we’ve arranged to be transported mid-day and ease into the sightseeing. We’ll enjoy the gardens of the Mena House, walk around with our mouths agape at the splendid architecture of the place, dine around the pool and then watch the Sound & Lightshow at the Pyramids from our room’s balcony. Who knows, there might even be time for a dip in the pool. Personally, I plan to have at least one picture of me taken in the pool with the Pyramids behind me.
Then we’ll do the Pyramids. Since we’ve already done the Giza Plateau, I plan to go further afield and check out the Step Pyramid at Saqqara and the Red Pyramid at Dahshour. I’m also interested in the Meidum Pyramid, but I’ve been told it is too far out – drat. Instead we’ll go back to Giza and see the Solar Boat Museum, something that’s been added since our last visit.
After our second night at Mena House, we’ll head to the airport and make the short hop to Sharm el Sheikh. Some of the family lives in the beautiful city by the Red Sea and others will have gone there when we headed to Giza. We’ll have a family reunion of sorts for about five days along one of the most spectacular beaches in the world.
The diving and snorkeling are supposed to be awesome, but I’m not much of a guppy. You’ll find me at the Marriott Naama Bay Resort pool with an exotic cocktail of my choice somewhere near the waterfall. Yes, the beach is beautiful, but no way am I going to smear sunscreen all over and then sit in the sand all day. Not this girl’s idea of a good time. I’ve been promised activities like a star-gazing visit to the desert, some shopping opportunities and other attractions.
In the evening, look for me along the boardwalk. It’s one of my favorite memories of our last journey to Egypt. Every evening the tourists come out in all their sunburned glory to stroll along and enjoy the wide variety of entertainment available on every side. On our last visit the Macarena was all the rage. I wonder what earworm will bite me this time.
We’ll fly back to Cairo and then have a driver take us to Alexandria where we’ll be in the center of the action at the Cecil Hotel. This elegant old dame gives a nod to Alexandria’s heyday with plenty of modern updates. What’s more, I’m supposed to be within walking distance of many of the sites I want to see – that is if I can ever cross the street. I remember the traffic being deadly in Cairo and Alexandria is supposed to be more of the same. Pedestrians don’t have the right of way and stoplights are merely suggestions. I’ll be right across the street from the beach, but may never actually get to the sand!
My wish list for Alexandria is long and includes a visit to a Coptic monastery on the way back to Cairo. Once back to Cairo, we’ll visit Old Cairo and seeing the famous churches there, something I never got to during our other visit. I think we’ll spend our final nights at the Fairmont. We have to be to the airport bright and early for our return. Then it’s back to the grindstone!
That’s it so far for Egypt. Keep dropping by. I’m not sure what I’ll be up to in the weeks to come, but I promise not to disappear.