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Egypt

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Quick disclaimer: these are merely our thoughts and opinions on some of the things we found noteworthy in Egypt and these views are in no way shared by the oppressed people of Tibet. Really the most important effect Islamic countries have on us is that Laynni ends up feeling like a slut whenever she wears a short sleeve shirt. Surprisingly, pizza is a staple on Egyptian menus, and not just in tourist places. 99% of Egyptian men shake hands as though a limp, rotting perch is attached to the end of their arm. Either that or go with the enthusiastic “low five”. True culture shock for a Canadian is putting on sunscreen to go to a restaurant. The concept of shower curtains here is a bit different. Often there are none, and when they are used they always stop at least 2 feet from the floor so that your  bathroom…

Anxious and confused, frustrated but intrigued, grateful but embarrassed. Welcome to our Nuweiba – Aqaba ferry experience. Nearly the only way to get from Egypt to Jordan without flying. Had to be paid in $US, Dahab is by far the most common tourist stop before the ferry, yet none of Dahab’s 4 banks would even consider the ludicrous idea of changing Egyptian pounds to dollars. Go to Nuweiba, my friend, in Nuweiba dollars grow on trees, they will change in banks, the port, on the ferry, dollars fall out of donkey’s arses along the road…. Off the bus in Nuweiba, asking around, change money at the ticket office – no, in the port? the ferry? Doesn’t matter, can’t get in without a ticket. Are there any donkeys nearby? Never mind….. Two banks, one on each side of the street. Bank # 1: The teller is utterly shocked, giving us a look as…

Dahab, on the Gulf of Aqaba, our final stop in Egypt. Lounging, diving, lounging, eating, lounging, reading, … well, you get the picture. But today’s story starts a little further back. Due to a variety of other plans not working out we eventually found ourselves on the sleeper train from Luxor to Cairo. A ten hour trip, but real beds so barely even a hardship. Unless, of course, you count the breakfast, which was simply 4 different types of bread, each individually packaged and all quite disgusting. Even so, no vomiting on this train, which dropped my average all the way down to 50%. A late train, narrowly missed bus, alternate bus (which took 8.5 hours instead of the supposed 6.5) and we now found ourselves sitting at what passed for a bus station in Sharm el-Sheik at 7 pm, still one hour shy of Dahab, with another bus supposedly…

She emerged from the shrubbery with a pained grimace of disgust etched on her face. So far the Nile “bathrooms” were not living up to her greatest hopes. There was plenty of disgusting evidence proving we were not the first felucca to stop here for just such a purpose and privacy was minimal at best. The icing on the cake, however, was the mismatched set of painful red scratches left on her ass courtesy of the sharper-than-expected Nile reeds. No, a luxurious cruise this was not. Nonetheless, our felucca trip down the Nile still turned out to be a memorable and rewarding experience, all bleeding asses aside. We had decided on just one night on the boat which worked out fairly well considering they ended up squeezing on twice as many passengers as was generally considered acceptable. Turns out everybody on board had been promised different “absolute maximums” ranging from…

We eventually made it to Luxor after a 5 hr ride in a tiny taxi with a driver who, by the look on his face once in Luxor, and white panicky-horse eyes, he may have never driven outside his hometown let alone an unfamiliar city of 500,000 people. A dead giveaway was how he kept  stopping to ask other cabbies for directions and pulling over to let faster traffic pass. Why 5 hours by taxi, you ask? Still not completely sure, except that for some reason nobody uses the “new” highway from Kharga to Luxor that shaves about 8 or 9 hours off the traditional train/bus combo through Assyut. It has existed for at least a year as it is in your guidebook, yet no public transport goes this way and we were lucky if we saw another vehicle every 15 or 20 minutes. It’s a mystery I still intend…

Instead of backtracking through Alexandria and Cairo we decided to take the aptly named Desert Road, 420 km across, you guessed it, the desert, to Bahariya Oasis. There is no public transport and 4 x 4 is a must so we ended up spending one long confusing day basically receiving periodic updates from Kamin while he brought most of the town into his Let’s Make A Deal Sweepstakes. Unfortunately that day happened to be March 11, known to most of the free world as Laynni’s birthday, and one she soon declared completely unacceptable. So at this point we have now actually celebrated three unofficial birthdays and I believe the plan is to keep going until I’m able to come up with something suitable. The only prerequisites are that it be fun, memorable, and to “see something amazing”. Oh yeah, also very relaxing. How hard can that be? Kind of makes…

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