Egypt Day 2: Wooden Shoes and Prostitutes

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First, some administrivia. Grant and I will be posting daily descriptions of our trip to Egypt as time and connectivity allow, so these entries may appear sporadically. Additionally, in a blatant attempt to drag some more readers into Grant's blog (it's cute, he has blog envy) we'll be posting entries on my blog and Grant's on a rotating basis. Check out his blog for Day 1: One Freakin' Awesome Flight. Read on here for Day 2.

Grant is correct, I opted not to sleep on the flight out to Amsterdam. This wasn't intentional, mind you, it just happened. I was knitting along happily, planning to sleep at the end of my movie (Bridget Jones part 2) when I discovered I forgot to decrease at one of the four shoulder markers of my sweater (still working away on Mariah). Sadly, I discovered this about 8 rows later. So I dropped the stitches and corrected the mistake, but there was a lot of slack left over, so I had to reknit a fair amount of the back section to redistribute the slack. By the time this was over, breakfast was being served. So much for sleep.

Groggy, but happy, Grant and I deplaned and headed for the tour booth. We decided to take the 3.5 hour bus tour of Amsterdam which included a lovely canal boat tour. Our first stop was a wooden shoe factory. It was really quite fascinating to see the machines churn out the shoes. We learned that the shoes are still in use today, especially in the greenhouses and gardens since they are cooler than rubber boots, but still wonderfully water resistant. As most of the Netherlands is below sea level (having been reclaimed from the sea) the gardens tend to be rather swampy.

There were many bridges and beautiful old buildings in Amsterdam. Lots of people on bicycles too. It was a gloriously warm and sunny day, so everyone seemed to be out enjoying it. The prostitues, however, stayed indoors. We learned that not only is prostitution legal in Amsterdam, in the red light district the ladies of the evening put themselves on display, wearing very, very little, right in the windows of the stores. They smile and wave and show off the goods to passers by. It was all quite civilized. No drugs, very few pimps and no crime. Just simple stores and businesswomen making a profit. There's even a union!

Our canal boat ride was very relaxing, so much so that I almost fell asleep on a number of occasions. There were some very neat little houseboats along the canals, some even had second boats lashed to them to serve as porches. One had a cute cat that looked like Smudge out sunning himself, right next to the water.
After our tour we returned to the airport and killed some time in the KLM lounge. More snacks and free drinks before the next flight.

The flight to Cairo was uneventful and relatively short (just 4 hours). We did have enough time for dinner and a movie though. Being on the much older MD 11 our movie was chosen for us, so we both watched Phantom of the Opera, not bad really, but not great either.

Arriving at 1:30 am in Cairo we were greeted with a sign saying 'Goodale' held by our helpful guide Hary. After clearing customs and claiming our bags we had to shoe horn them into Hary's sedan. I'd like to point out that Grant and I managed to cram 3 weeks worth of clothing and two sets of dive fins (keep in mind Grant's are particularly large with his size 12 feet) into two hard sided suitcases and 3 carry-on bags (all small, none hard sided).

We succeeded in getting the suitcases in the car and were on our way. The streets were fairly empty at that point, so we made good time to the hotel. Sadly, we didn't change our cash at the airport, so all the baksheesh for Hary and the bell guys at the hotel had to be given in American dollars. Baksheesh is the Egyptian custom of tipping/bribing everyone in sight.

Our hotel was great, and we checked in with no problems. The toilet was a bit sketchy, but there will be more on that later on in the tale. Check out Grant's blog for more on Day 3: French Canadians, Perfume and Feluccas.



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Marcos said:

glad you guys are having a great carefull

Marcos said:

glad you guys are having a great carefull

Geoff Hardy said:

Hi Mel! I'm glad you guys are having fun (which probably explains I don't see anymore updates. What happens with French Canadians?). Btw, you misspelled prostitute in the title. ;) Take care and enjoy!

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This page contains a single entry by published on June 12, 2005 4:55 PM.

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