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Trip Report Karen and Julie's Egyptian escapades: camels, sheesha pipes & belly dancing

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Egypt was my 32nd country, but it was full of "firsts":

- my first time in a hot air balloon,
- my first sheesha pipe experience,
- the first time I ever felt like a pop star, with pre-adolescent boys and girls alike wanting to take my picture with their cell phones
- the first time I was offered pigeon for dinner (I regret passing)
- and the first time men offered to buy my daughter for camels ("a million wouldn't be enough," one said)

The trip was exotic, intense and always fascinating, filled with history I could barely wrap my head around and the ever-present, in-your-face vendors.

Julie, my daughter (27), and I had planned this trip for last October, but a torn rotator cuff and subsequent shoulder surgery forced me to postpone until early February. It was worth the wait.

Although we've done previous trips on our own (with help from this board!), we decided to try a group tour for Egypt. We chose Gap Adventures, and were very happy with them. We arrived a couple days early and had booked Debbie Sentors (a regular here) of Casual Cairo for a couple days on our own. That, too, proved to be a good decision.

Our basic itinerary was as follows:

1. Flight from Baltimore to New York, then direct to Cairo with Delta
2. Arrive Cairo mid-day, free time
3. Coptic Cairo and feloucca ride with Debbie
4. Islamic Cairo with Debbie
5. Cairo (and rest of trip) with Gap - pyramids, Egyptian museum
6. Bus to Alexandria
7. Alexandria then back to Cairo for overnight train to Aswan
8. Aswan - most of day spent on train because of breakdown
9. Abu Simbel
10. Aswan sights, board Nile cruise boat (MS Emilio)
11. Cruising - Kom Ombo, Edfu
12. Luxor - Valley of Kings, Luxor museum
13. Luxor - Ballooning, Karnak, Luxor temple

More to come...

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