Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Back to blogging, but you can understand why my work habits have gone down. We're in the Greek island of Mykonos, and this is the view from our balcony. (There are a couple of other shots here, but we haven't done the tourist thing yet so much more later in the week.)
We got off the ship on Monday morning after sailing from Alexandria Saturday night. You would think having all of Sunday free would have given me time to post about our Egypt tour, but you'd be surprised how much you have to fit in on your last day aboard --- extra games of poker, an incredibly early start to the cocktail hour, a farewell dinner with The Ladies and their hubbies, one last round at the blackjack table - well, you get the idea. I played instead of working.
So to give you a quick recap of our day in the port of Alexandria, we chose to take a tour to the city of Rashid which was a little more than an hour away. Some pix here.
When Rashid was captured by the French, they called it Rosetta. So now you can guess what famous Stone was found there. It's not really set up as a tourist town, although it does have a few things going for it. They are in the process of creating an open-air museum, which will involve walking around the town and going into restored houses of architectural interest.
Since the city still relies heavily on donkey carts for transportation, you will have to be quite adept at enjoying the architecture while looking down before taking a step.
The Rosetta Stone is now in the possession of the British, who made the French give it to them when they took over here. Somehow in the equation everyone has forgotten that it was an Egyptian artefact. Egypt has been asking to have their Stone back, but they have to get in line behind the folks who rightfully should have the Elgin Marbles.
We drove out to the mouth of the Nile, and for such a significant place it is singularly not pretty. Just a bunch of water on the sea side and a smaller bunch on the river side.
The real treat to the tour was being in an Egyptian city that obviously has not moved to being a tourist trap yet. It was authentic to the point where the laundry was hanging from the windows, the donkeys crapped in the street, and the trash was in the street.
And when I say trash, I mean capital T trash. We are so used to having no litter around that the sheer volume of it was overwhelming. About the only places that didn't have much litter were those that had lots of rubble. You can tell it's rubble because the cats aren't trying to eat from it.
Anyhow, finished the tour back in Alexandria with a great lunch - more Lebanese than Egyptian, I think. Lots of dips and fresh-baked bread and a local fish beautifully grilled. We even had a decent Egyptian beer called Stella. Brewed in Egypt for more than a century, but owned by Heineken. Of course.
And best of all, the restaurant overlooked the harbor, with the modern library and the fort in view, and a bunch of fishermen sitting on the dock. You wouldn't know you were in a large city.
The day we got off the ship went very smoothly. We took a bus to the airport, had a fairly quick connection for the short flight to the island and have gone into a vegetal state since then. When I say the flight was short, I mean super short - about 20 minutes. I think it's the only flight I have ever taken where the attendants start preparing for landing prior to takeoff.
We love it here, enjoying wandering the streets of this beautiful island. We're here for quite a few days so more of that in later posts.