, pub-2901454804057242, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0 La Vie En Pink: Cairo, Cairo

Thursday, January 13, 2022

Cairo, Cairo

Oh, Egypt. Rachel Weiss in The Mummy was all I could think of while trying to pack and visualize myself on this trip. I really wanted to channel early 90's vibes with my outfits, but due to the lack of an infinite budget, and practicality, I was not able to envision the damsel in distress who was slaying mummies, this time. 

There is something about romanticizing travel, and Egypt is the perfect destination to embody this romantic vision. Movies set in the early 1900s show a classy and sophisticated side to the country, with locals offering goods on the streets (or protecting ancient secrets hint hint I love The Mummy) and tourists in white linen and wide-brimmed hats soaking in the culture. It has been 3 years since my family has taken a purely touristic vacation, due to the pandemic, so we were beyond excited and a bit out of practice when it came to planning. 

There is nothing like a frantic night before panic that sets the trip off. My family tends to have one of these revelations every time, but this time, I put myself first and took the biggest luggage bag to ensure that I could pack as much as I could. To make our travel plans easier, we took a flight from Philadelphia operated by British Airways straight to London Heathrow. Originally, our layover was only meant to be 4 hours, but the flight to Cairo was changed and we found ourselves with 8 hours to dawdle in the airport. It did not help, that our gate was so close to the luxury shops.

Touchdown in Cairo and we were picked up by our tour company. Disclaimer: I will not be providing their name, because as delightful the people were, we were not amazed and content with the planning, but that I will get into later.  We had to buy visas from a bank which is normal procedure for most tourists and then were sent through to customs to retrieve our bags. Our destination then was the Marriot Mena House.

Side note: if you are travelling to Egypt, make sure that your vaccination status is also in the form of QR code. Make sure to print out these QR codes as the Egyptian government requires those for entry into the country. 

The Mena House was previously owned and operated by Oberoi Hotels until Marriot bought it over. The hotel is located near the Pyramids of Giza, which means that it is not in downtown Cairo. It is a bit more secluded and you are able to see the Pyramids from your hotel room. We got to spend Christmas Eve sleeping off our jet lag in the hotel to wake up bright and early next Christmas morning to eat breakfast by the pyramids. Breakfast was amazing, with continental and Egyptian delicacies. The shakshouka and the falafel were a hit. 

After somewhat quickly getting ready, we walked out of the hotel, Christmas spirits in tow, to our van for a short ride to the pyramids. And by short, I mean legitimately two minutes. We pull into the area and are greeted with locals all ready to buy their tickets along with us. We bought an extra addition to our ticket to let us go into the pyramid. 

I think my family has now learned that visiting the wonders of the world on Christmas Day is not the best idea. Rewind to 2017 in India on Christmas day, we were at the Taj Mahal and boy was that a bad mistake. We were knee-deep in human elbows trying to get into the final resting place of the Maharaja and his beloved Queen. Although this was not exactly the pushing and complaining we felt in India, it was pretty packed with locals. 

Now the 3 pyramids were breathtaking. I still cannot believe that an ancient civilization was able to erect these huge monuments, all dedicated to one singular person and their journey to the afterlife. We were lucky to have a great guide who was extremely personable, knowledgeable, and fun. She entertained every question we had, and believe me, we had a lot.    

Tourists normally only spend their time near the first pyramid, the biggest. This is also the pyramid that allows brave visitors inside, so my dad, sister, and I mustered up our courage to face the final resting place of Khufu. The climb into the pyramid is no simple task. It was a narrow and low chamber that had no stairs and was simple an upward plank with foot holders. It was quite a climb and the musky humidity did not help. Although the room we entered into was not decorated or magnificent, it was spooky to be in the pyramid. I felt the spiritual vibes in the dark pyramid. I can die saying that I was in a pyramid. 

My father and sister opted for the camel ride, and after we took more pictures, we went to a panoramic view to see all 3 pyramids. The pictures came out and great, and I could not help but feel so lucky to be in such an amazing country. 

Post panoramic view, we went to see the infamous Sphinx. After seeing the Sphinx portrayed in movies and countless images that represent Egypt, I hate to admit, I was less than moved once I saw the Sphinx. It was not as big as I imagined, but it was indeed a sight to behold. I still couldn't believe that we were in front of the Sphinx. We were starting to feel the dregs of our jet lag, so we took some wonderful pictures, and moved on from our less than nasal friend.      

Once you have seen the pyramids and the Sphinx, the next step is to see Saqqara which is a step pyramid. As the oldest pyramid, Saqqara shows how the pyramid that we all know and love today came to be. It is an important step for the ancient Egyptians in their burial procedures. Saqqara is a little farther away from the Giza Pyramids and we found a place to hunker down for lunch/dinner. I even got to see how the fresh bread was made and assisted in making some as well! We were all extremely tired by the time we sat down for our deliciously spiced chicken meal, so after eating, we called it a day and headed back to the hotel for a quick siesta. 

Our naps were cut short with an early start to the Sound and Light Show at the Pyramids. I personally do not recommend the light show. As cool as it was to see the silhouettes of the pyramids at night, I was tired and did not find the show captivating enough to dissuade my sleepy eyes from closing. 

Our bodies then hit the beds in the Marriot for an early wake-up call to Aswan the next day.    

Earrings // Necklace // Sunglasses // Sneakers // Dress: Old Velvet By Graham and Spencer 

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