This started out as probably the worst day of the cruise, but only because we had to walk up so early. Honestly, I can’t think of anything good about being awake at 3am, it should be outlawed. In this case though, after being mustered onto the small tender boats and driven 30 minutes along Suez, dodging freighters, we made land again and hopped on the bus, for a much needed nap on the way to Cairo. I don’t know how far it was because, typical of me, I was asleep most of it, but the little I did see before they dropped us off to a buffet breakfast at the Hilton was incredibly dirty. Turns out this was foreshadowing for the rest of the day and I’ll say it once to get it out of the way; Cairo is one of the filthiest cities I have ever seen, worse even than the beaches of Santo Domingo (and THAT is saying something). Seriously, there were times where the 2 lane highway cut down to one because one of the lanes (especially in the curves) was completely over-ridden with garbage and filth. Depressing to see, for sure, especially given the spectacular view of the pyramids in the background.
After breakfast we cruised up to the Giza plateau for the Giza Pyramids, Sphinx and Solar Boat for a few hours of photo ops and walking around. Later on after lunch and a papyrus museum, we continued on to the Nile for a cruise up the Nile (and of course an Egyptian beer, after our dry spell in the Middle East).
Like Sri Lanka, we had an armed escort of police cars for our bus convoy (see photo below), as well as an armed off duty copy in the bus with us, though it was mostly for show (and for some people to get bribed, I’m sure, though better safe than sorry, I guess).
So, in order to see the pyramids, we had to miss the 13 hour transit of the Aurora up the Suez Canal, so after Cairo, we started on the long bus ride up to Port Said, the other end of the canal, to get back on the boat. Somehow we ended up like 3 hours late (though we were on schedule the entire time, so who knows), and unfortunately missed walking around Port Said, but the quick drive through was interesting and seemed like a cool place to go back to (if we are in the area again).