Saturday, April 18, 2009


The kids were particularly bored one day soon after we moved into our Villa. I thought it would be a good idea to create an alphabet. The kids got into it.

G took forever. They did not know what I was talking about. Everytime I wanted them to make a small adjustment with their bodies, they moved the wrong way.

The "I" was not quite lined up.

"M" was also difficult.

"Q" was nearly hopeless.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Land of Sand

We spent spring break visiting the land of the pharohs. This had always been on my travel todo list and I was finally able to cross it off.

The towns of ancient Egypt were situated along the Nile. The pyramids are located in Cairo, but I decided that since I was in Egypt to see as many of the sights as possible so I followed the Nile South to hit all the major sights.

Day 1: Arrival in Cairo (KWI-CAI)

Nyssa and Dante in Cairo Airport (International Terminal)

We checked into the hotel for the first night. The kids wanted the chocolate fountain, but that was too pricy. I told them that looking at it was just as good as tasting it, but they did not buy it.

Looking down off the balcony.

You can see a skyline of Cairo, it was quite foggy that day. In fact, when we left Kuwait it was raining!

Day 2: Early Flight to Luxor (CAI-LXR)

Our adventure begins by visiting the Temple of Karnak.

Luxor means palaces.

Here are the kids in front of a giant colonnade.

When in Rome...(or at least in Luxor)...

Once Talyn did his pose for the previous photo, he wanted to pose the same way for all photos.

See note above.

Tipping is a big part of Egyptian culture. They expect tipping for everything. It makes it difficult to determine whether someone wants to be helpful or wants something. Here a guard offers to take our picture. I thought he was being friendly and I did not think he wanted money as he worked there. I was wrong, but I also did not have any small change so all he got was my thanks.

Nyssa begins to translate ancient Egyptian.

This is the Temple of Luxor.

This is a part of the mosque that was built above the Luxor site.

The guide explains some of the sights.

Day 3: Valley of the Kings

This is Deanna in the Valley of the Kings. Since everything is buried there is not much to photograph. Pictures are not allowed in the tombs. If you take a photo, then you pay a fine of $200, plus all of your photos are erased. We were warned not to take a picture even if a guard gives you a permission as he will take your tip and then tell his co-worker to bust you.

The big highlight of the trip was King Tut. In this tomb you are not even allowed to take your camera inside. It is a very small tomb. You could only walk down the corridor and the room that abuts the Burial Chamber and the Annex (Antechamber). You could look into the Annex and Treasury, but they were empty and unlit. The Burial Chamber had the Gold Sarcophagous. Walking into the Antechamber from the Corridor, you can look to the left to see a little dude in a glass case. No, it was not Michael Jackson. It was King Tut. He looks pretty good for his age.

Cameras are not even allowed inside this tomb.

After finishing the Valley of the Kings, we continue on the West Bank of Luxor.

Queen Hatshepsut was one of the few female rulers of Egypt. She managed to do this by keeping her son on the front lines for about 20 years. He was not happy when he returned.

The guide used to call her Queen Hot Chicken Soup to help the kids remember.

Some nice colors in the temple.

Colossi of Memnon which are all that remain of the mortuary temple of Amenhotep III. This amazing sight was put on the itinerary so the tour company could say that we are visiting three sights this day. Given what we also saw that day, I felt that it was a bit like being on a roadtrip and taking a picture in front of Pea Soup Andersens or the giant thermometer in Baker (can you actually take a photo of that?). The boys stayed in the van, Nyssa and I stood while Deanna took a picture.

Day 4: Start of Nile Cruise

The efficient way of seeing some sights is to use a Nile Cruise. You can sail for a couple of hours, see a sight, jump back in and sail some more and see another sight.

Before we hit any sights, we had to go through one lock. Before we passed the lock the boat was surrounded by boats. These boats were there to sell their wares. They would throw some clothes in a plastic bag onto the deck. If you did not like it, you threw it back. If you agreed on the price with those in the boats, then they threw up a second bag and you put the money in the second bag and threw it down to them.

They approached the boat from all sides.

Nyssa is looking at the tight fit as the boat passes the lock.

This is the temple of Horus at Edfu.

It was early so we were able to get a photo in front of Horus without fighting the crowds.

See Horus look to the right.

See the guide explain the Egyptian story.

Temple at Kom Ombo

The boys start off ahead of everyone else.

Kom Ombo Temple was the second sight of the day. Above is the only ancient Egyptian calendar.

Talyn wanted a picture in the rock.

Talyn relaxing on the boat.

There were swimming options, but the water was cold and the jacuzzi was gross.

The food was not bad. Deanna was craving Alcohol since there is none in Kuwait. The Eqyptian wines were OK, but the mixed drinks were a mistake. They did not have all the ingredients and I am not sure they knew how to make some of the drinks. A whiskey sour was whiskey and lemon juice, I think. One taste and I stuck to wine or beer for the rest of the cruise.

Day 5: Dam, Nile and Philae Temple.

This is a picture of the Aswan dam. It is a big dam and important to Egypt, but it was not on my top 10 list. Most of the sights South of the dam had to be moved as the dam flooded the valley.

This is the temple of Isis--Philae Temple. Philae means elephants.

The temple is reached only by boat, due to the higher water levels. Here is part of the temple from the Nile.

After the temple we took a relaxing Felucca (sailboat) ride on the Nile.

Dante is relaxed.

Talyn is happy.

Upon returning to the boat we found crocodiles in our stateroom.

Day 6: Abu Simbel (ASW-ABS) This day started with an early flight to Abu Simbel. We arrived at 8:00 and we had a 10:30 flight back to Aswan.

This temple was moved in the 60's because of the dam construction. It took 5 years to complete.

These statues were super cool.

After our brief tour, we flew back to Aswan. (ABS-ASW) Then we had to get off the plane and then recheck in to go to Cairo(ASW-CAI). For some reason we were put in business class for this leg. Nyssa was all smiles for this reason. Dante sat down and said "This is the life". Talyn sat down and said "This is so cool, they give you juice!!" I forsee problems for myself on future flights.

Now we are back in Cairo and we get our first look at the Pyramids.

We spent the night going to a light and sound show. It became very cold. We arrived late so we did not notice the place where we could rent blankets.

See the lights! Hear the sound! It is an extravaganza for the senses!

Well, not really, it was more like a 60's documentary that some kid from the A/V club would show you in junior high.

Who knew Pharoh's played the bagpipes?

Day 7: Ancient Memphis, Sakkara and the Great Pyramids of Giza

This is the big temple at Cheops. There is a limit of 100 visitors that can enter the pyramid twice a day. The entrance is the small hole over Talyn's left shoulder, not the big hole in the middle of the pyramid.

Cameras were also not allowed in the pyramid so we left it with the guide. The corridor was cramped and hot. In this pyramid the corridor rises to the burial chamber. The other pyramid has a corridor that goes down.

Now we have been warned about the food in Egypt so we were careful about what we ate. However, everyone seemed to have their digestive system a little off. Nyssa was not feeling well as we were exiting the pyramid. After the visit, and as were leaving she threw up all over the exit steps of the pyramid. I had hoped that if she was to throw up on the pyramid, that she would have missed the steps, but she did not. Ah, the joys of parenting.

I told her not to worry as she now has a story to tell her grandkids. "You can tell your kids that you threw up on one of the seven wonders of the world." At which, she replied with a look of horror on her face "it is?"

Deanna strategically blocks the chunks of vomit on Nyssa's clothes for this photo. Deanna managed to get most of it out of her hair.

Sittin' on the pyramid.

Pyramids from afar.

Nyssa is holding up the pyramid.

Talyn tries as well.

Dante decided to relax instead.

Now for the camel ride.

Talyn and I were on the camel together.

Nyssa and Dante enjoying the ride.

The guide led us back to the other pyramid.

This Solar boat was buried next to the great Pyramid.

Now for a visit to the Sphinx.

These are statues at Ancient Memphis.

This large statue had toppled and now rests in an enclosure.

These are the precursors to the pyramids. They are the temples of Sakkara.

Some nice colonnades near the Sakkaran pyramids.

After a visit to the pyramids, it was time for lunch a Mena House.

I liked this mirror.

Day 8: Egyptian Museum, Khan Khalili bazaar, and Saladin Citadel.

Photos were not allowed inside the Egyptian museum so no pictures there.

This is the old mosque in Cairo.

Here we are at the Khan Khalili bazaar. It was Friday and it began to get very, very busy.

A house outside of our hotel.

Day 9: Back to Kuwait

So that is it. That is our Egypt trip saw a lot of things and had a good time.