Saturday, August 15, 2009

trip photos

You can see some of our photos here.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


Just letting everyone know that I'm home safely. Thanks Clare for all
the fun.

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This concludes our broadcast

Today finds me leaving England, and Clare packing to move to Belgium.

We hope you liked following our intrepid adventure to the middle east.
Pictures may get added once lives calm down a bit.

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Sunday, August 9, 2009

Explaining falling numbers in the Church of England

Just a quick blog because I am very tired and ready for my bed. Since returning to the UK we have been very productive including going to evensong at Westminster Abbey. Sadly though we received a terrible welcome there. Actually welcome isn't the right word at all. The staff there were so keen to keep out tourists that they were rude to everyone who attempted to enter the building, particularly those who said they wanted to go to Mass. We made it in to be given grief by even more church people and eventually gained seats. The service itself was very nice and we got to sing 2 hymns very loudly but we were then chased out at the end with the church people again complaining about 'tourists' who came to the service.

Tomorrow I intend to write to the church and complain. It is hardly surprising that fewer and fewer people are attending services if that is the welcome they get. And it is the complete polar opposite from the welcome I received at St George's in Kingston and that we both received at the mosque in Cairo. What a shame.

Back in the UK

An early start, a taxi driver whose only English seemed to be 'Give me tips' and an uneventful flight have brought us back to England. So far we are excited about drinking tap water. And we are off to eat some lunch now.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

A collection of mad drivers

We had great success getting onto our night train due to the genuine
helpfulness of a tourist policeman--yes we found it hard to believe
too. They must be there for tourists because they did not leap into
action when a fight broke out on another platform.

The train was there early but that was the only good thing about it.
The air conditioning didn't really work in our car and the driver had
clearly learned his trade amongst the taxi drivers of Cairo. Clare was
thankful the top bunk had a rail, or she might have been throw to the
floor more than once.

We refused dinner which was offered at 11pm--the same packaged
cardboard that we were given last night train...dinner "of sorts".

The steward made up our beds and we tried to sleep all night but
probably managed only 4 or 5 hours total. Not consecutive hours!

We finally arrived at Giza. (oh no not Giza again). The ticket said
we'd get to Cairo. The tourist police compensated for their
colleagues helpfulness in Luxor by pointing us in the wrong direction.
He was quite confused when we knew where the metro was.

We had a good ride back in "girl car" and got to the Capsis hotel
which is wonderful. We got a room from 9am and slept for a while in
lovely airconditioning.

Our excursion of the day was to Zamalek, to find a fair trade shop and
book store and post office. We hailed a cab and were so impressed with
his immediate skid stop that we overlooked his complete lack of
English and got in. Clare used her map and we pointed him in the right
direction at major intersections. We are not sure he really is a taxi
driver, Clare thinks he borrowed his friend's taxi for a joke, because
after he dropped us off he went the wrong way up a one way street and
had to do an interesting reversing manoeuvre amidst the honking
oncoming traffic. It was Clares favourite taxi journey of all time.

After our successful outing we returned to the comfort, and toilet of
the hotel, only to find that "mad donkey" had stolen the hotel key in
the backpack.

We are counting down to our flight. We know a good restaurant with
safe food for our last dinner, and a good cafe for tea later. Safe
food has been an issue since we left the gourmet cooking of Captain
Ali, the 15 year old. We had opened warm mayo brought to our table at
one place. Who knows what goes on in the kitchen.

Mom: can you have yogurt and milk and clean fruit and tuna (not in
oil) ready when I get back? :) Thanks!

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Friday, August 7, 2009

Valley of the kings, fair trade shop

This morning we were feeling a bit better, and set off to get yogurt
(yay activia). We hailed a cab driven by "Nooby" who was ridiculously
excited. He had one window crank that he used on each window in turn.
He had no mirror and at the Colossus of Memnon the car wouldn't start
up again. His wrench did the trick and we were off to the valley of
the kings.

We saw the tomb of Tuthmoses 3 the successor of Hapshetsut the female
pharoah. Siptah (he's not popular--we were the only visitors), and
Ramses 4.

We avoided Nooby's recommendations of seeing more temples or buying
alabaster--his friends must have a factory.

We returned to find the post office closed because it is Friday, but
the fair trade shop was open and we did s good deal of business with
them. There was no hastle and it was run by women.

Clare now has a donkey named "mad donkey" for her classroom.

We stocked up on good English food and yogurt and are ready to take
the night train to Cairo.

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