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Saturday, June 5, 2010

An Egyptian Excursion - Day 2

Got up at 9am. Had a hard time trying to order breakfast from room service over the phone. So I decided to walk right up to the restaurant and tell the folks there. Turns out, the guy who I spoke to didn't know proper English and he was the only one in the restaurant at the time. He didn't look too happy taking my order, and I realised (later) that they always expect you to say Good Morning, How are you? or Salaam Maleikum before you start with your request/order, no matter how polite you are.

We ended up getting 3 breakfasts which were all essentially the same though (we'd asked for 3 different kinds specifically).

Met our driver Tiger (yes, that was his name.. no, no Woods). Got in the car and drove all the way to Ismailia. Saw a Chevy Cruze along the way. We stopped at a ferry point on the Suez canal, where the guards insisted on checking our passports no matter what Tiger told them. After some more Arabic banter with the security there (these were AK wielding policemen by the way), they even offered us tea. Point to note, tea here is mostly served as black tea. Not with milk, unless you ask for it.

From the ferry area, we could see the opposite bank of the Suez Canal - that was Sinai. They'd also told us not to take photos at that place (as if we were a security threat). Paused at a nearby shop to buy water on the walk back to the car. 2 little kittens were playing around the cooler there.

From there it was another 50km drive to the peace bridge. Mubarak peace bridge was built across the Suez Canal with help from Japan. No photos are allowed when you're crossing the bridge and either end of the bridge bristle with policemen armed to the teeth who'll check your passports and other ID. Crossed into Sinai, took a U-turn and headed back over the bridge. Then drove all the
way back to Ismailia.

Stopped at a large fruit shop in Ismailia that's a hit with the locals. Then to a big supermarket here called Metro. Bought this and that, and later had takeaway lunch from a traditional Egyptian kabab and kofta place. If you're the kind who likes gravy with your pita bread, you're in for a rather unpleasant surprise. No one seems intent on having any gravy with it, they'll just eat it dry.

Soon we were back to the resort. Took a walk down to the water's edge past the 3 swimming pools. Great scenery, and it was very peaceful with the waves lapping the shore, and a strong wind blowing, while the sun wasn't shining too bright. Sat there for a few hours. This is the kind of place one should spend their honeymoon in I suppose.

I spent some time telling the tales of the Ancient Egyptian gods, explaining which god is which, the relation between different gods and such to my folks. Dad latched onto Anubis, and repeated that relentlessly no matter what God's sculpture he saw over the next few days.

Later that evening, I tried explaining the concept of gravy at the restaurant. Needless to say I was unsuccessful with the waiter finding my explanation of the same too abstruse for his comprehension.

Back in room, I wasted a bit of time watching the "Jackie Chan adventures" in Arabic (it's been years since I watched a cartoon). Deal no deal once again appeared on the tube. The host of the show looked a bit like Rakhi Sawant, 'cept this was a beautiful and feminine version of Rakhi Sawant (yeah you can guess who's being made fun of here). A short clip from the show below:

No one needs Fair and Lovely here by the way, most of the women seem to be very fair with blemish-less skin. Pretty chic and modern too except for a scarf covering their head leaving their faces in full view. Dresses can be tight and revealing form too. Not quite what I'd thought a Muslim country would be.

And so, after another heavy dinner, I watched the Daniel Craig starrer Layer Cake. Then retired to my bedroom with a copy of IEEE spectrum to keep me company.


Anonymous said...

IEEE Spectrum to keep you company??

Anonymous said...

IEEE Spectrum is a magazine edited by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. The IEEE's description of it is:

IEEE Spectrum Magazine, the flagship publication of the IEEE, explores the development, applications and implications of new technologies. It anticipates trends in engineering, science, and technology, and provides a forum for understanding, discussion and leadership in these areas.

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