God sometimes gives us unexpected gifts. Our gift has been a grandson who enlivens our lives and makes retirement very different than the one we anticipated. He is a special joy. And that's "Casey." In 2006 we fulfilled our dream of living in Italy for a year. It was every bit as wonderful as anticipated. This blog begins in 2005 as we prepared for that experience. Since then we have explored many places together. That's the "Travel." And finally, I am a person of opinions--spiritually, politically, on just about anything and that's the "Other Stuff." Welcome to my blog.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Where Else? Egypt, Of Course!

Isn't everyone's itinerary including Egypt these days? Well, maybe only for those who court the unexpected and like to believe they are undaunted by fear. Others, I know, see this as foolhardy and "out-of-your-mind" dumb.

Whatever. We are going as long as the State Department says we can and and right now they are giving the go-ahead...with the caveat to be careful and watchful. Of course, the first stage of elections in November may have significant impact and things could change in an instant. We shall see. In 1986 we were in Berlin shortly after Libya bombed the night club there. We were scheduled to fly to Italy September 12, 2001 and left on one of the first flights out on September 18. We seem to travel at strange times.

Gone are the days when we could just pull Casey out of school and provide basic instruction while we hit the world scene.

San Gimignano 2003--1st Grade
In the 8th grade, he has advanced geometry, Spanish, high level English and history courses--along with pe and science. At this point he has outstripped our ability to provide home schooling. Content and expectations have changed significantly since we were in school when geometry didn't happen until 10th grade. It is harder now--contrary to what the common perception may be.

So, because we are restricted in our travels by his schooling, last January we decided to go some place this Christmas season. We wanted a place significantly different from our previous travels, a place that would open new vistas, allowing us to experience cultures and places holding a fascination for all three of us. Pyramids, magnificent Pharaonic tombs in the Valley of Kings, the great Karnac complex, Ptolemaic temples along the Nile and rose colored Petra seemed perfect. Casey had been fascinated with all things Egyptian since studying ancient cultures in 6th grade and the area had been on Ken and my list for years. Yep, this would be perfect.

After a quick check with a friend whom I knew had a wonderful experience in Egypt arranged by a respected private tour planner in Cairo, contacting a few others who had used this man's services and a series of e-mails with him, on January 20 we sent an initial deposit. Days later, January 25, Cairo erupted with the beginning of the Egyptian revolution. At that point we had the option of rescinding our deposit; it was a bank transfer that could have been reversed. Rightly or wrongly, we decided against doing this. As we don't need to provide the rest of the money, which is the bulk of the cost, until right before going, we decided to risk losing the amount we had wired. Our flights are with miles so they can be redeposited (with a small fee, of course.) At this point, we are on our way.

We fly to Cairo where we will spend 3 nights, visiting the Pyramids which are not out in the sands and desert as we tend to believe but are easily viewed from hotel windows right in Cairo. We will recoup from the long air jaunt, visit the famous Khan el-Khalili souk, take a short excursion to the Step Pyramid which predates the big pyramids and of course visit THE pyramids.

The next two weeks we will go to and see:
Aswan and take a Felucca sail on the Nile
Board the Moon Goddess for the cruise up the Nile where we will see: 
At the end of the cruise, we will arrive in Luxor where we will spend two nights and where we will spend Christmas. It will be interesting to see if the hotel recognizes Christmas in any way. Since it is a Sheraton, it may.

From Luxor we will fly back to Cairo and from there fly to Amman, Jordan and drive to PetraFrom Petra we will return to Amman via the King's Highway, stopping at Mt. Nebo where Moses looked into the Promised Land, Kerak and Madaba.

And...that is it except for an excruciating trip home involving two long layovers--a down part of travel by award miles. I keep calling United to see about an improved routing--as I can clearly see on their site that there are many options with lots of seats open. But...the answer continues to be "nothing available." I am hoping that a few days before we leave, more seats will open up--7 hours in Frankfurt and 5 hours in Denver is ugly!

Perhaps I will post some pictures and write a little while we travel, but if not, there will be time to catch up once we are home. You can either travel with us in real time or in retrospect. Either way will be just fine.

And...this looks to be a Christmas vacation that Casey will remember--unless Egypt erupts and we stay home. I hope not.