Friday, May 1, 2009



Today is disembarkation day for about two thirds of the passengers. When we go to the dining room for breakfast at 8:30AM, we are one of three couples there. By 9:30AM, everybody is gone and we have the ship to ourselves. Dick goes and does a load of laundry and Carolyn works on this blog.

About 10:00AM, we leave the ship and walk out of the port and into town.The hawkers are few and we do not see the every present “Tourist Police” and armed police everywhere. Carolyn had had a car and guide for half a day arranged with our guide in Cairo, but Dick was so fed up with Egypt that day, he canceled that plan! So our plan now is to take a taxi to El Corniche (water front promenade), and find a hotel then go from there, but the port taxis all want ~$80US for two hours! Not knowing much about the city, we pass and just walk into town. We discover a food soukthat covers many square blocks and we wander through it seeing how people buy their food, shoes and household items. Vendors are selling everything from live fish to toilet paper.We do not see any signs in English in this market and only a few people greet us in English, but many people acknowledge our presence and greet us in Arabic. All seem quite friendly.

At this point, we turn back to the main street and we find ourselves in the center of the city. The streets are wide boulevards with strip parks down the center. After another turn, we find ourselves on the El Cornicheat the monument to the Unknown Soldier. It is the consulate area. People are climbing over the sea wall to have their pictures made with the fortress of Sultan Qaitbay and the Eastern Harbor in the background. The fortress is built on the site of Pharos lighthouse built by the Ptolemies in the 3rd century BC. The lighthouse was one of the wonders of the ancient world until it was toppled by an earthquake. From here, we walk back to the port through another area that is home to the fabric and tailoring souk and the gold souk. The gold here is 21kt and very bright. We found this great walk by pure dumb luck! Alexandria is a much nicer than any other place we have visited in Egypt. It is cleaner and the people are much more pleasant.

We return to the ship about 1:00PM,somewhat foot sore after walking several miles, and go to lunch. The ship is very quiet, as the new passengers have not started boarding yet. We spend the afternoon working on the blog, watching a movie and reading. About 6:00PM, we go to the hot tub to wait for the sail away but that is delayed by 30 minutes due to port traffic.Alexandria’s harboris Egypt’s busiest and there are many ships anchored outside the breakwater waiting to enter. We see several half-submerged wrecks in the harbor and guess these date from one of the Arab/Israeli wars. Why they do not clear them away is a mystery.

We have dinner reservations at “2” for 08:00PM for the Surf anf Turf event and enjoy a cocktail prior to heading up there. It is crowded and we share a table with two women from Oregon. They are friends who have travelled together for years as both have husbands who cannot take the time for longer trips. One of them is a travel agent and we talk about cruise lines and our extended trip.

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