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Our first trip in Aswan was at the Unfinished Obelisk, which costs 35LE for the entrance.  But before we went to the site, we watched a video presentation about the history of the Unfinished Obelisk.    It would be better if all the monuments will have the same theater where they could present the history before going to the site, temple or monument.

We passed by the Aswan High Dam in going to Philae,  but it was hard to take pictures because  the van can’t stop in the middle of the road.  The entrance fee in Philae Temple was 50LE, plus the cost of the boat ride.  The houses on the mountain are like those in Hora Village in Greece.

Last was our trip to the Temples of Abu Simbel which costs 80LE for the entrance.   The rock formation and the Lake Nasser have stunned me.   I can never forget the “Billy Jean” song which me and my sister together with our German friends sang during the videoke night.  The historical monuments, nature, food & friendly people made our Aswan trip truly unforgettable.

Mount Sinai

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Friday, April the 15th, 2011 was our trip to the blessed mountain called Sinai.   I just had an hour sleep due to excitement.   My sister and I, along with our good friends were fetched by a clean and big tourist bus.  There were lots of fun filled activities with abundance of food on the bus.  I met good people from different parts of the world.
At first I had hesitations for the sunrise trekking because it was only the four of us who will trek for the sunrise since most did the sunset trekking.   We started to trek around 1:30 AM and I was surprised when there were lots of flashlights around from different tourist groups.
In the first few kilometers, I palpitated and would like to give up, but when I saw lots of old people and even kids ahead of us, I was humiliated that incited to continue.   So I kept on praying and thinking of positive thoughts which helped me reach the top.
There were small convenient stores owned by the Beduins, where buying goods will be of great help for them.   A camel ride costs around 85LE but I was scared to ride, because it was dark and some camels were walking near the edge of the mountain.
 The 750 step staircase was visible with big rocks on the sides where you could sit, rest and mingle with different tourists.  When I reached the top, I felt so relieved but with mixed feelings of excitement and exhaustion.
On top of the mountain, there was a small chapel and there were Beduins selling hand-crafted products for souvenirs.  All the cameras were set and everyone was waiting for the sunrise.  There were flags from Columbia and Egypt which were raised with pride.  The Korean group sang hymns while others like our small group just prayed. The cold breeze and the friendly atmosphere made the experience phenomenal.
When we went down, someone told me that the mountain where Moses went was on the other mountain which was not the mountain where we went.  Worst, it was believed by some group of people.
Well, I’m still optimistic.  I’m so thankful and blessed to reach the top safely and have proven that I’m physically fit.


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Oh Cairo!  Oh Cairo!

Why do I love thee even if others curse thee?

How could you easily capture the hearts of those even from Cree?

Oh tell me!  How can I flee,

If my heart belongs to thee?

How I wish that others could see,

The beauty that lies beneath thee.

For our  memories shall be with me,

Until eternity.

Siwa Oasis

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Siwa has been known for the oases and historical sites.  Being in Siwa is like being in an ancient time with donkeys everywhere, houses made by stones and clay, people are conservative, and there were girls dressed in long colorful silk dresses whenever they have an event.  Even if Siwa is almost 10 hours away from Cairo by land, there were lots of tourists like the Japanese whom I saw during our stay, there were few buildings and stores built for the tourists, and a lot of Siwi can speak English.

On our first night we stayed with the accommodating Egyptian linguist father married to a beautiful German, with 2 smart boys.  They boys were homeschooling  using the German curriculum, assisted by their German tutor who lives with them.

On the succeeding nights we were with our Asian and Egyptian friends.  Though food is really cheap especially their main products like dates which is known as the best dates in Egypt & olives, I still have hesitations of eating in the restaurants because I am not familiar with the place.  I’m not confident on how they prepare the food.

Observing the sunset on the lakeshore, sand surfing, attending a Siwi gathering with a group of men singing in Berber, eating the traditional chicken cooked by burying under the ground, discovering the Ancient Fortress of Shali, mountain of the dead, ancient historical temples, different rock formations, sculptures made of salt and the oases were  truly marvelous.

The Siwa Oasis (Arabic: واحة سيوة‎ Wāḥat Sīwah, Siwi Isiwan) is an oasis in Egypt, located between the Qattara Depression and the Egyptian Sand Sea in the Libyan Desert, nearly 50 km (30 mi) east of the Libyan border, and 560 km (348 mi) from Cairo.[1][2][3]km (50 mi) in length and 20 km (12 mi) wide,[1] Siwa Oasis is one of Egypt’s isolated settlements, with 23,000 people, mostly ethnic Berbers[1] who speak a distinct language of the Berber family known as Siwi. Its fame lies primarily in its ancient role as the home to an oracle of Amon, the ruins of which are a popular tourist attraction which gave the oasis its ancient name Ammonium. Historically, it is part of Ancient Libya. Its modern name Siwa, first attested in the 15th century (earlier Arab geographers termed it Santariyyah), is of uncertain origin. Basset [4] links it to a Berber tribal name swh attested further west in the early Islamic period, while Ilahiane,[5] following Chafik, links it to the Tashelhiyt Berber word asiwan, a type of prey bird, and hence to Amon-Ra, one of whose symbols was the falcon.

A Glimpse in Egypt for Tourists

Egypt, the land of pharaohs and slaves.  The land of great leaders and followers.  Its rich history with full of mystery and captivating monuments were magnificent.

Its Cities

Alexandria, the port city with lots of tourist spots like the Bibliotheca Alexandrina which was once the biggest library in the world, monuments like the Qaitbey Fort, or the Citadel of Qaitbey where you can see the awesome view of Alexandria and the Mediterranean sea, Kom el Shokafa Catacombs – the Roman burial grounds, Roman Amphitheater, Pompey’s Pillar, museums like the Greaco-Roman & the National.  The city is just about 2-3 hour express train travel away from Cairo.  Expect for the traffic not only in Alexandria but also in Cairo, especially during rush hours.

If you have low travel budget, you can enjoy your stay in Cairo and visit the Pyramids of Giza and a lot of monuments and museums, the Nile River, Khan Khalili –  for authentic Egyptian crafts, souvenirs and other products, and City Stars in Heliopolis to see the modern trading in Egypt.  For tourists, take the white, with black and white checkered  metered taxi cabs.

If you have more budget, go to Aswan and Luxor for more monuments, the famous Mt.Sinai, Sharm El Sheikh, Hurghada, Siwa & Bahariya.

The People

There are two types of people: the conservative – where you’ll feel like you are living in an ancient time, the men look like the the apostles, while women are well covered.  Some will even stare at you whenever you wear sexy clothes. The modernized and fashionable women use Spanish style instead of niqab, some are liberated and stunningly sexy where you can see in major cities in Egypt.  Most have mixed blood, but dominated by Persian, Indian, African and Caucasian.

Food and Beverages

Since it’s being dominated by Muslims, it’s an advantage.  For you’ll be encouraged not to eat pork, which is one of the hosts of tapeworms.  An alternative to pork lovers would be the  Kofta, Middle Eastern and South Asian meatball or meatloaf, grilled beef or chicken, and patties.

Its people enjoy the gift of the Nile, having abundant agricultural resources like strawberries, grapes and bananas for only 4-6 LE per kilo during its season.

Egyptian products are cheap like: Chipsy, which produces chips like Lays type, Doritos and Cheetos; Juhayna – for yogurts, milk and juices which is at par with Cowhead;  Sweeter Coca-Cola sodas.  Bread and white cheese are the basic food which are cheap.

Restaurants & Fast Food

Farahat is known for its Hamam Mahshi (braised pigeons w/ crushed wheat stuffing).  El Shabrawy fast food for shawarma, Tameya (broad bean patties) and other burgers.  There are lots of pastry, chocolate, ice cream and cake shops like Twinky’s, Tsepas and Sale Sucre.  Fast food like Mc Donald’s, KFC, Pizza Hut are a lot in major cities.  Egyptian, Italian, Turkish and American restaurants are a lot because it’s more in demand than Japanese, Chinese and other Asian restaurants.

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