Day 23 – Egypt

Location: Ismalia House Hotel, Cairo, Egypt
Miles travelled: 15 miles (around Cairo)
Weather: 28ºC – Hot, dusty and Smoggy
Today we mostly listened to: Dan Brown, The Lost Symbol (still)

What can you say about Cairo – it’s loud, traffic is bad, people are in your face – we LOVE it!

We woke up at the Salma motel yesterday and decided to take Monty to the landrover dealership.  Our guidebook directed us to the old showroom so we had to get a taxi driver to show us where it was.  After much debate about the price (he started at 3000 E£ – the equivalent to £300!!!) we finally agreed on an amount significantly less than that and he took us the 40km or so to the garage.

We were greeted there by the lovely Essam who works as the Customer Services Manager who stayed late to meet us making him late for a family wedding he was going to that night – now that is good customer service!  Monty went up on a mechanical lift once again to see if they could diagnose the problem.  They suspect it is the Transfer box and Diff – but we had to leave Monty there so they could inspect it properly so we can finally get this the problem that has been troubling us since Italy fixed.  As it is the weekend now we’re unlikely to hear the results until Sunday.

So we’re likely to suffer delays here in Cairo, but I can think of worse places to be held-up.  Cairo is a great place and we’ve been fornunate enough to have Essam looking after us.  After giving us a lift back to Cairo from the garage (which is actually quite far out) he invited us to come with him to Sakkara to see the ruins there.  We spent the night in the Ismalia House Hotel which overlooks the Egyptian Museum and Tahir Square and the next day we were picked up by Essam at 10am.

We had a great day visiting Sakara, riding camels and seeing the pyramids at Giza – they really are quite amazing.  We also visited a carpet factory to see how they make the handmade, silk carpets.  Despite some heavy salesmanship we managed to resist buying another carpet this time!

In the evening we took a Felluca ride on the Nile (Ric got to drive it) and met up with Essam once again for dinner.  He took us to an amazing restaurant in downtown Cairo called ‘Felfala’.  I highly recommend this place.  It serves traditional Egyptian cuisine, has a buzzy atmosphere and friendly staff.  Essam ordered us a selection of dishes to try – pidgeon, aubergines, stuffed vine leaves, tender lamb with rice – everything tasted amazing and we’ve eaten like kings!  Tomorrow we’re off to the Egyptian museum and hopefully on Sunday everything will be open again so we can start the task of getting our visa for Sudan…. hope it goes smoothly!

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