Written by nofootprint on 28 Dec, 2009
Coptic Cairo I have to admit I knew nothing about this area before we visited. It is an ancient area of Cairo dating back to the 6th century BC. We notice that the area is heavily guarded. We see armed police as we enter, with spiked…Read More
Coptic Cairo I have to admit I knew nothing about this area before we visited. It is an ancient area of Cairo dating back to the 6th century BC. We notice that the area is heavily guarded. We see armed police as we enter, with spiked chains ready to stop any intruding vehicle. As we walk the main street we also see guards behind heavy artillery shields Our first stop is the Fortress of Babylon built here by the Romans. The plaque outside is written in both Arabic and the Cryptic language.At one time as many as twenty churches were built in this small one square mile area. Today only 5 remain.Next we stop by the famed "Hanging Church" (Saint Virgin Mary’s Church) . It turns out to be just that; it literally hangs between two towers. Built in the 3rd century AD ,it is quite and amazing structure and the ceiling is built to represent Noah’s Arc. We stop to see the many relics of saints and martyr all whose fate too horrific to even write about. They died as they lived for their faith.For the most part the church is quite rustic , which is understandable considering its age. The heavy doors are inlaid with ebony and ivory and the huge pillars are of marble. There are 13 pillars designed to represent the 12 apostles and Christ. The floors have escape hatches, which were used through the ages to save the lives of the priests and their followers during attacks.Next we descend (filthy steps) to the original streets of the city to pay a visit to Saints Sergius and Bacchus Church. Dating back to the 6th century BC this church is built upon the Holy Crypt where Joseph Mary and Jesus are said to have taken refuge for three months during their flight into Egypt fleeing Herod. The Church itself is quite a simple structure and thankfully nothing like other religious sites we have seen, like Lordes in France which is wildly ornate and "built for the tourist dollar’. We aren’t permitted to take pictures of the crypt however, I’m not really sure why. Maybe it is to boost the postcard sales. Really there’s not much to photograph anyway as its just a sort of cellar. Greek Chapel of St GeorgeThere is a lot of reconstruction still going on here ,so we took only a quick stop. Inside the majority of the church is strewn with rubble. The highlight is a chamber featuring a chain that was used to hang St George. The faithful take there turn kissing the chain and receiving the blessing.Our guide encouraged us to take the short walk to the old graveyard. Here, behind the church we see a mixture of old and relatively new tombs .It’s a rough trek to get there through a disgusting entrance of trash and rubble to reach the run down site . A quick look was enough for us.The Jewish SynagogueAfter the fall of Jerusalem in around 70 AD, the area saw an influx of Jews, and it's here where Egypt's oldest synagogue, Ben Ezra is located. No pictures allowed here and the security protested when I took a pictures of the outside.Leaving the narrow and ancient streets of Coptic Cairo behind we head for the Old Cairo Market called Khan el-Khalili Bazaar. This has been high on my list since we first arrived so I was filled with excitement and anticipation.Built in the 14th century this market is still a vibrant and exciting place to shop. The tiny shops are filled with copper, silver, Egyptian robes, scarves, spices , souvenirs and more. Bargaining is both expected and necessary. Prices often start 3 or 4 times the going price. Its difficult to browse as the sellers start a hard sales pitch the minute you just glance at an item. With that aside we felt safe and welcome here. The venders though persistent were friendly and fun. One thing to note here is to watch where you are going as it would be easy to get lost. The little streets seem to wind in and out without much pattern. We met our guide in an ancient coffee shop called al-Fishawi. This is Egypt's most famous, and most place where shoppers still gather to smoke the shisha ( water pipe) as they have for hundreds of years. Our time here flew by and we could have used more. I was happy with my purchase of a lovely silver necklace with tiny stones and earring to match. I don’t know if I overpaid but I was happy with the $72.00 that I paid and it is stamped with the silver 925 numbers. Close
Written by nofootprint on 27 Dec, 2009
Our first stop is The Mosque.The Attarine Mosque is located in the middle of this unique area, on Attarine Mosque Street. Originally a church dedicated to Saint Athanasius in 370 AD it was converted into a small mosque, which was built up and eventually became…Read More
Our first stop is The Mosque.The Attarine Mosque is located in the middle of this unique area, on Attarine Mosque Street. Originally a church dedicated to Saint Athanasius in 370 AD it was converted into a small mosque, which was built up and eventually became known as tAfter lunch we continue our tour of Alexandria. As a special add on bonus our guide decides to take us to a couple of places which aren't on our agenda. He is a true lover of history and I have to admit his enthusiasm is contagious.he Mosque of a Thousand Columns. Men enter by the elaborate front entrance but women must enter by the side door. I know this is an age-old cultural practice but it offends me. As it turns out I can’t go in at all as I don’t have anything to cover my head….ahhh maybe its just as well.I content myself with viewing the exterior which is very ornate. A Spanish architect designed it and even our inexperienced eye can see the Spanish influence.Surrounding the Mosque is an ancient market place. It looked interesting but our guide was impacient for us to move along.Nest we visit El Salamalik PalaceOriginally it was built as a hunting lodge for Khidive Abbas Helmi 11 and his Hungro- Austrian mistress .The grounds were stocked with game for his hunting enjoyment. Later his son, King Farouk used the lodge as his summer palace. Surrounding the Palace we find what once were the private gardens of the King known as the Montazah Gardens. Today they are enjoyed by the public as a park . They really aren’t spectacular, maybe I was expecting too much but they are a pleasant place to stroll. The palace has been converted to an elaborate 5 star hotel with about 20 rooms. Prices start at $120.00 per night.Situated overlooking the bay, I think this would be a wonderful and romantic place to spend a honeymoon.Our final stop today is at the Catacomb of Komel – ShokafaHere we descend several floors into the damp dark cavern, which was the buriel chamber for the royals. Even though the Greeks didn’t believe in an afterlife they maintained the chambers to show respect. On the main level there is a stone bench and a sort of gathering place for family members. Here families gathered sharing drinks and fond memories of the recently departed. They broke their cups when they finished drinking so as not to bring bad luck away with them . As a result, hills of glass were later discovered here and the place was named Mountain of Glass.Remarkably it was a donkey who found these ancient chambers by chance. He was digging in a heap of mud after the a rain and fell through the deep hole. As pictures are not allowed here , I have only my memories to take away with me. Close
Written by nofootprint on 27 Nov, 2009
Our first view of the Cheops (also called the Pyramid of Khufu ) was from our restaurant window at lunch, as it simply towers over Giza. It’s surreal to sit eating pita and hummus while gazing at one of the top wonders of the…Read More
Our first view of the Cheops (also called the Pyramid of Khufu ) was from our restaurant window at lunch, as it simply towers over Giza. It’s surreal to sit eating pita and hummus while gazing at one of the top wonders of the world. We wonder what took us so long in making this trip. After lunch we’re anxious to get a closer look!!I think this is one time when the word "Amazing" is appropriate. Just to see the guards on camels in the shade of the massive Pyramid is unbelievable. Before we take any more pictures we walk together to touch the ancient Pyramid wall and congratulate ourselves for finally being able to scratch this off our life goal list!I thought the whole place would be mobbed with visitors but there were far fewer than I imagined. Maybe Sept is somewhat off-season.Cheops Pyramid is the oldest and largest of the three in Giza. Built around 2500 BC it took 20 years to construct and is the only one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World still intact. No one knows for sure how the Great Pyramids were built . Some say by slaves and others think peasants built them as a "make work" project during floods. The rising waters would have aided in the movement of stones. It’s hard to believe there are actually 120 Pyramids scattered about, that we know of!We also have time to see the mortuary temple in honor of Khufu, three smaller pyramids for Khufu's wives. We thought it was nice of him to build them but of course they were much smaller!. We also saw the slightly smaller Pyramid of Kaffre builder of the Great Sphinx. A few hundred meters away the much smaller Pyramid of Menkaure, Khafre's . These explain why all the venders sell the souvineer sets of Pyramids in three. Pyramid building continued until the Middle Kingdom but sadly suceeding Dynesties robbed all of them to build new monuments. Last but not least on our visit the this complex,was the Great Sphinx. What trip to Egypt would be complete without a stop at the Sphinx! The Sphinx is the guard of the Royal buriel chambers and the Temple of Cheops. Our guide tells a huge mound of granite was infront of the Pyramid Complex and the King thought it spoiled the view.Thus the Sphinx was cleverly carved in its place.Each evening there is a Sound & Light Show near the Pyramids. Although I hear it is a good show ,we chose to keep our $100.00 (price for two with transportation) and enjoy the Pyramids as they were before technology.Security is toght all around the Pyramids. We see lots of guards with kalishmikob rifles and tourist police on horseback, camel, and in heavy armoured vehicles. . This is in an effort to secure tourists from terrorist attacks. It gives us a feeling of unease and is a grime reminder of troubles in the past.Alas, the day is not over before a visit to the "Perfume Factory" where as expected everything is hugely overpriced. This is at the urging of our guide who I’m sure is hopeful we will buy so he can get some commission!With our shopping trip aside, this was an incrediable day. We are exhausted now however and are happy to kick back with a casual dinner and a drink poolside at our hotel. Close
Written by nofootprint on 25 Nov, 2009
Once we figured out we were an hour early ( didn’t know there was an hour time change) we were on our way with our guide for the Cairo area with Saed and our driver Tony. Saed is a walking history book ----he’s quite a…Read More
Once we figured out we were an hour early ( didn’t know there was an hour time change) we were on our way with our guide for the Cairo area with Saed and our driver Tony. Saed is a walking history book ----he’s quite a serious man but we learn to appreciate his amazing knowledge of Egyptian history. Our first stop to day is Memphis. This city was built by Pharaoh King Menes . Once the capitol in 3500BC and due to heavy trades, the city flourished . In ancient times Memphis had many fine palaces, large Temples and beautiful gardens. With the arrival of the Greeks the Egyptian Capital was moved from Memphis to Alexandria and Memphis suffered considerably. This was the beginning of the end. It is now mostly in ruins with shabby buildings and very poor residents. Once we check through the security post we are in the open air museum of Memphis. We see many monuments of Ramses 11 and many more treasures left behind by the early inhabitants. Saed tells us a farmer discovered the huge granite monuments when he was tilling his field found the site…quite a harvest !! King Ramses II was the Greatest Pharaoh King of Ancient Egypt belonging to the19th Dynasty. He was had a strong build and was taller than average at about 5 feet 9 inches tall. Most Egyptians were at least 5 inches shorter than this. He also lived to be 96 years (although at that time average Egyptian lived up to around 45 years of age). He had 200 wives, 60 sons and more than 100 daughters.The massive Colossus of Ramses inside the Museum is the grand finale. It is an enormous statue carved in limestone about 10m (33.8 ft) long. Some of the original colors are still partly preserved.. The fallen colossus was found near the south gate of the temple of Ptah . Because of its enormous size where it lies is where it will remain. It was once offered to France as a gift but moving it proved to be to difficult.Our next stop on this exciting first day of Egypt is to see the famous Step Pyramid. The Step Pyramis is located in Sqqara not far from Cairo. We are so excited to see our first Pyramid and it is appropriate as this one is the oldest of the120 or so Pyramids. It was constructed around 2600BC and was built in stages. The original structure was an underground burial chamber . Today most of the outer casings are gone and though it is an incredible sight one can only imagine what it once looked like .The whole experience with the guards on the camel on the desert hills, the towering Pyramid and all the mystery in holds and the beating Egytian sun reminds us of why we love to explore new lands. We spend almost and hour taking pictures from every angle.The Burial ChamberInside the Burial Chamber pictures are not allowed in an effort to preserve the ancient works for generations to come. Here we see clearly ancient pictures depicting people living as they once did at about 2600BC. Giant squid and fish that are now extinct are carved into the stone . We see Nile crocodile and hippos that have long since disappeared from this area as well as the fishermen that harvested them with spears. We see tables laden with food and farmers fields with crops waiting to be harvested. Its all here for us to see so many thousands of years later. We wonder with all our technology what record of our lives will stand the test of time to tell our story. Close
Written by ShannonBrooke on 31 May, 2009
I had several opportunities to share my dance in Egypt, mainly when we were stuck on the M/S Nile Treasure.My mom's birthday was celebrating with a big cake and all the cooking and serving staff coming out and singing, and playing drums. They got me…Read More
I had several opportunities to share my dance in Egypt, mainly when we were stuck on the M/S Nile Treasure.My mom's birthday was celebrating with a big cake and all the cooking and serving staff coming out and singing, and playing drums. They got me up to belly dance in her honor, in my street clothes. The cook and I did some dancing - he sorta danced like a chicken with his hands at his waist, arms akimbo, and shoulders shaking as he pranced around in a circle. I imitated him and we ended up dancing encircling each other with these odd chicken-y movements. But in the end, everyone said I was a good dancer so I guess I did okay! The other birthday girl was also named Teresa and was also born on February 18th.On the third day we were on the ship, we had nothing else to do on deck, so people asked me to teach them how to bellydance. I showed them a few moves, like shimmies, hip slides and hand ornamentations.I also performed on the cruise ship, during tea time. I performed to "The Sea of Alexandria", followed by "Tigi Ya Matigish" and a drum solo. Tour groups from all different countries were gathered watching me, from Thai to German to Aussie. I will probably be on a few people's home videos and maybe even show up on youtube somewhere. I had a feeling it might happen so had brought one ofmy setlist CDs from my restaurant shows in the US. Plus I had the costume I had bought, and a bit of makeup. I really enjoyed having the chance to share my dancing with my tour group (and with the other tour groups too). I had been talking about all week but somehow that made it real for them. It is very gratifying to have people be impressed by what you do, especially when you've taught them a few moves and they've admitted that it's not easy! Anyway, I felt like a star and I had fun and I hope that I brought a lot of joy into the room. My tour group was the best, doing a lot of clapping and cheering for me. *smile*I got to know a lot of the staff and tour leaders, the Egyptians, who were all fascinated by me as a belly dancer and wanted to talk about it, why I was doing it, where I learned it, what dancers I admire, etc. I always say "souhair zaki" because no one likes Dina and they will give you a big lecture if you say you admire Dina! Close
Written by LAFRAGIA on 22 Nov, 2008
In February 2008, we journeyed to Egypt and had the opportunity to visit Cairo, Luxor, Aswan, Abu Simbel and take a cruise down the Nile River. This land takes your breath away! I myself became teary eyed. For the thought…Read More
In February 2008, we journeyed to Egypt and had the opportunity to visit Cairo, Luxor, Aswan, Abu Simbel and take a cruise down the Nile River. This land takes your breath away! I myself became teary eyed. For the thought I am standing in the mist of structures, lands, and monuments that were created and spoken of during biblical times. I thought to myself, I am touching a stone of the Pyramids Of Giza. The pyramids, that to this day- the world still wonders how such a thing was built. So many people want to make the journey I have just taken. Here I am, able to enjoy such a beautiful sight and take photos throughout the land. We stayed in Egypt for a week. We were fully escorted throughout Egypt by personnel from NOGA tours. Which I must add was an exception to all the rules. They had the best prices ever! The prices booked through NOGA tours were so less expensive than any other tour and yet they did everything that the other tour companies charged hundreds of dollars more for. They were waiting for us at the airport as promised, they had our hotels booked, and our transportation and future air travel from Cairo to Luxor arranged. On day three we boarded our cruise ship for the next 3 nights. Our guides were very professional, well groomed, spoke English fluently, and translated whenever we needed something. The guides took us around Cairo, Luxor and Aswan. Even at the last minute we wanted to go to Abu Simbel and they made it happen. Our Abu Simbel excursion was even much cheaper than any other rate we were quoted while still planning the trip back in the United States. Unlike most tour companies, we did not pay one cent until we arrived in Cairo. They did request all monies paid in full (USD) upon arrival at the hotel, yes, with some hesitation we wondered, but I read a previous review, they also stated being required the same thing. The review I read prior to my own travels also gave kudos to NOGA tours. We traveled in February so the weather was quite cool. The transportation vehicle accommodated air condition and heat. Each vehicle had a driver and a guide. The only thing that was not included in our tour was one dinner on our arrival, any beverages outside of tea or water, and entrance fees into the monuments (which may have totaled $60 for the entire week.) Like most tours, you leave a tip for the guide. This is where it was tricky because I did not do my research on tipping in this area prior to my travel and did not know what a "normal tip" was. Yep! We ended up over tipping, but the tip I gave I felt they deserved, so no harm there. They recommended additional tours while there, like the Felucca ride to the banana islands and the hot air balloon ride in Luxor. I double agree on the hot air balloon ride. That was an absolute must to sail over Luxor and watch the sunrise from the sky! It was so peaceful up there. Then to look down at the Valleys of the Kings and Queen and the Colossus of Memnon, and some other monuments and temples we didn’t even get the chance to see. I could go on and on and on about our tour. I will recommend NOGA Tours to anyone. I plan to visit this country again. When I come back I will bring my children and we will book through NOGA Tours and maybe do a three day extension to the Red Sea. I was very impressed! Close
Written by Liam Hetherington on 21 Jan, 2008
It had been arranged for us to travel upstream to Sehel Island on the Tuesday night. Sehel is home to a thriving Nubian community. Recognising that their culture is very different to that of the lighter-skinned Egyptians, the Nubians have taken to tourism big…Read More
It had been arranged for us to travel upstream to Sehel Island on the Tuesday night. Sehel is home to a thriving Nubian community. Recognising that their culture is very different to that of the lighter-skinned Egyptians, the Nubians have taken to tourism big time. All along the Nile you will see Nubian felucca crew, musicians, and hotel staff well out of proportion to their actual population. Dinner trips to Sehel Island for a traditional Nubian meal are one facet, and probably one that you will be offered whilst in Aswan. The great thing here is that you will be dining with a local family, and so you are guaranteed that any money you spend will go directly into the community rather than being divided up by a sea of middlemen. Omar and his family were to be our hosts for the evening. 4.30 saw us climbing aboard their launch on the Nile, looking tiny and toy-like where it was tied up between two monstrous cruise ships. Casting off, we were steered upstream for our 45 minute boatride. Other than the ride across to Philae that afternoon this was my first experience of sailing on the famous river Nile. Even within the limits of Aswan itself there was plenty to see as the sun started to dip. We puttered past the back end of Elephantine Island to see the smoothed boulders that did indeed resemble a bathing heffalump. Then we went up past the famous Old Cataract Hotel - and from the river the balconies and palms make it look every bit as lovely as it is supposed to be. It was a lovingly-crafted antique among the bland concrete constructions that often pass for hotels. I could really envisage a stay there in the '20s, sipping an iced tea on the verandah, Agatha Christie writing 'Death On The Nile' off to one side, Winston Churchill daubing watercolours on the other. I really was born a century too late! Once past the Old Cataract with dusk bruising the sky the crew pulled out handheld drums. We were treated to - and had to join in with - Nubian entertaining to get us in the party mood. Their music is strong on rhythmic drumming and call-and-respond singing: or at least the version offered up to visitors is. Ohh-a-lay-lay! Sehel Island has streetlamps, but not much in the way of streets. Climbing the trail up through the sandy scrub from the beach leads to a cluster of building built in a squarish stucco style, similar to that of the Nubian Museum. There were a few taller blocks (one of which we visited as it held the school, with a playground on its flat roof - rain not being a common problem here) but largely the houses were similar to Omar's. Passing through a blank doorway revealed a sprawling compound of courtyards - as the family expands, so too does the family dwelling, spreading up the hillside as each new generation adds on their own annex upon marriage. This stepped nature meant that when we were settled on rugs (shoes off please!) we were in what could only be described as a roof / yard. Our meal had been paid for before, but there were other things to buy. Soft drinks (no alcohol) cost E£3, and a selection of souvenirs - embroidered skull caps, carved wooden crocodiles - were produced. One of the women of the family also offered henna tattoos - E£10 for a solitary image, E£25-35 for an entire hand. She could not draw freeform however, and your tattoo has to be picked from a book of designs. Three of our party opted for tattoos. Rather than the reddish hue I associated with henna these came out very dark, lightening over the next fortnight. More entertainment came in the form of an overly-inquisitive toddler who delighted at our reactions when shot with his toy gun. I do hope we weren't encouraging him! The food arrived en masse. Salad, rice, pasta, fried potato slices, veg casserole, flat bread, and finger-lickin' spicy-coated chicken. I'm assumimng the spicy chicken is a Nubian speciality as I was to have it again before reaching Luxor. Which was fine by me! Refills of food kept coming until we gestured for them to stop. It was all very tasty. I can't remember how much we paid for the meal - I think E£30 per head - but it was definitely great value compared to a restaurant. Plus you got the experience of dining with a Nubian family on rugs in the open air, the noise of village life (the hum of a generator, a dog barking in the distance, a dimly-heard snatch of music) drifting up around you. As we sailed back down to Aswan we lay on the roof of the boat counting the stars, the sky as big as our bellies. Close
Written by jim on 06 Jul, 2004
On the way to see the State Pyramids at Sakurra, we stopped at a carpet factory at Ensultan. It was a short stop, but one of my favorite sites. You get a tour of the back rooms where the actual carpets are made.…Read More
On the way to see the State Pyramids at Sakurra, we stopped at a carpet factory at Ensultan. It was a short stop, but one of my favorite sites. You get a tour of the back rooms where the actual carpets are made. Then you get to go in front to the display room, where you can actually buy a carpet to have shipped home.
There are many different levels of carpet weaver and many different types of carpet. The more experienced the carpet weaver, the more expensive and sophisticated the carpet. Amazingly, little kids at the age of seven were in the back rooms weaving carpets. Of course, there were also much older workers doing the more difficult jobs. Unfortunately, the little kids oftentimes have to work instead of going to school. They aren’t paid very much and this isn’t the most highly regarded trade, but the carpets are absolutely beautiful.
The display room itself was overwhelming but quite a treat. You are taken to your own area of the room. Then you are shown all kinds of rugs in an attempt to get you to buy one. I had no idea how to judge the quality or the value, but I was told (by my guide) that this is where some of the fiercest haggling in Egypt occurs. I saw hundreds of rugs I wanted to take home, but the nicer ones are still quite expensive (several hundred to several thousand dollars apiece). I decided a purchase of that magnitude was best left to a joint decision, so I used the absence of my girlfriend as my excuse for not purchasing (which was true, but not much solace for the merchant).
If you plan to purchase a rug, do some research and bring a decent amount of money (or a high credit card limit). You will definitely be tempted, and this is one of the nicest things you can buy during your trip to Egypt.
Written by Travel_Channel on 07 Dec, 2004
Saturday, December 4th:
Although I only got 5½ hours sleep, it was a minor victory in that I was able to sleep straight through the night for the first time. Looks as though my body has finally switched over to the Egypt clock . . .…Read More
Saturday, December 4th:
Although I only got 5½ hours sleep, it was a minor victory in that I was able to sleep straight through the night for the first time. Looks as though my body has finally switched over to the Egypt clock . . . just in time to shock the heck out of it with the change we are about to make.
Wake-up was at 6am to get ready for 7am breakfast and an 8am crew call to head out to the site. We arrived to the bad news that the technical build-out had not progressed as we had hoped, and they would need to continue working at the "A" site today instead of moving onto the "B" location. We would find out how big a problem this was later. We did a walk-through of the first two nights’ shows with the director, producer, and their main crews. It appears that the archaeologists are on the verge of several very exciting finds, all of which should be revealed in our live shows. So everyone is very excited about the editorial side of the programs despite the technical setbacks.
We headed back to the hotel for lunch and to update paperwork before heading out to the Valley of the Golden Mummies ("A" location) to begin looking at cameras. Although the engineers made good progress, they were never able to begin work on the other site, so tomorrow would be an extremely long day for them. My buddy Ken, who is our Chief Engineer, had something a little less than a smile on his face for the first time since I had known him. Hopefully, they would at least be able to get a good sleep in before we went to air Monday night. And hopefully they would not run into any big glitches with tomorrow’s set-up, or we could be in trouble.
The funny thing about live television is that, no matter how hard you work and how carefully you plan, it all comes down to the equipment functioning as it is supposed to and the game day performance of the crew and hosts. Luckily, we have not only done the required work and planning, but also have a fabulous crew filled with very smart and talented people. I am still very hopeful for a week of extremely beautiful and very exciting television. More details on the shows themselves tomorrow.
Written by Travel_Channel on 03 Dec, 2004
Thursday, December 2:
Still not sleeping long enough – so much excitement to come that my brain races in the morning, and if I wake up, the chances of getting back to sleep are slim.
Woke up at 6:15am and decided to get some work done.…Read More
Thursday, December 2:
Still not sleeping long enough – so much excitement to come that my brain races in the morning, and if I wake up, the chances of getting back to sleep are slim.
Woke up at 6:15am and decided to get some work done. It is difficult here, since most people back home get out of meetings and onto email at about midnight our time. No matter how late I work, I still wake up to a lot more emails that have come in overnight.
We had several meetings in the morning with our director and main live production staff before heading out to an exciting day. First stop was shopping. Most of us wanted to bring home some Egyptian jewelry, so we decided to go to a big store as a group and try for a mass discount. We thought that we could beat the system that way but later realized that, because our time was limited, the mere idea of bringing all of our stuff to the manager at once made him realize that he had us over a barrel. We had no choice but to bite the bullet and pay more than we had hoped, as this would be our only opportunity. We still came away with some really beautiful merchandise and a 25 percent discount.
We spent so long there that we had to quickly rush through other errands for necessities before heading over to our big shoot at the pyramids. We were shooting the big Monday night live show in front of the Sphinx, with the pyramids in the background. We were allowed special access right at the foot of the Sphinx, which is an area closed to the public.
The shoot was at sunset, which was stressful, as our time was limited. But the shot was incredibly beautiful and moving. Despite some technical hang-ups, all worked out well in the end, and we came away with some really good material.
The group split up to work in various local facilities and later met up for our last group dinner in civilization before heading back to the desert in the morning. I decided to stay up late, since it is time to start training our bodies for US time once again. Our live productions will all occur in the middle of the night here, to be on in the afternoon and evening back home, so our crew-call will soon become 9pm to 4am.
I hit the hotel gym at midnight (the locals seemed to think I was crazy) and got some last work done before finally calling it a day.