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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Back to Blogging

We spent most of the past two weeks or so on two trips to the tourist sites of Egypt.  After spending a few days in the Cairo area with us, we and our friends took a camping trip to the desert areas near the Bahariya Oasis about 180 miles to the southwest of Cairo.
This requires about four and a half hours in a van (a good bit of it just getting out of the Cairo area in the morning rush hour.) driving to Bahariya. At that point, we switched over to four-wheel drive vehicles.  We then had a tour of the oasis, an overnight stay in a Bahariya hotel and then the trip through the scenic Black Desert and White Desert.  We set up camp in the White Desert.  More on all of that tomorrow.

Most of the trip was through the golden sand of the Sahara that looks like this:

Until reaching the oasis which looks more like this:

We stayed at the Beshmo Hotel as in the past.

Although the Bougainvillea plants out front are pretty, keep in mind that the beds are firm:

And the general decor in the bathroom can best be judged from the light fixture:

Since the toilet leaked each time it was flushed (it was a very vigorous flush that splashed up over the bowl) we obtained a towel to sop up the excess.

Later in the evening, we explored the neighborhood and discovered the new "Old Oasis Hotel" next door.

The grounds were beautiful and we had tea with the owner's nephew.  This hotel has a delightful pool with warm clear water as opposed to the cold and ferruginous (word of the day!) water back at the Beshmo.  The lobby was nice and a group of Canadian high-school students gathered there to watch the semi-final match in the Africa Cup.  We watched the first half there with them.  I think that our next trip to the desert will find us staying at the Old Oasis!

I watched the second half of the football match back at the Beshmo with four of the employees who shared a pot of tea with me.  Egypt won, 4-0 over the much-hated Algerians with a goal at the very end generating much enthusiasm.

From the U.K. Guardian:
Egypt didn't just beat Algeria tonight; they humiliated them, rendering them an ill-disciplined rabble who finished the game with just eight men. The Pharaohs' passing, as hypnotic as it has been all tournament, had already given them control when a dreadful error from Rafik Halliche after 37 minutes, brought on by the mounting pressure, gave them the game.

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