Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Off the beaten track in Cappadocia.

It's a shame we had to postpone writing about the wonderful Cappadocia, but it's not too late to do it now. The memories are still fresh, we have plenty of amazing pictures and there's a perfect setting for recollecting and writing: we're both laying on a couch from the hotel's exterior bar, inhaling mixed scents combined with the fresh mountain air, and listening to a good choice of songs.
The people below have started a camp fire as well.. so, let's just start the story-telling:
The first minutes in Cappadocia were quite silent, interrupted only by the camera's shutter clicks and remarks like: "wow", "look at that", "and that".. The scenery was quite unusual and amazing, with cone like structures that were used by people for various purposes, including as houses. Everything looked so fairytale like, that we wouldn't have been too surprised to see hobbits getting out of those weirdly shaped houses :)

Licking my wounds under the Mediterranean sun.

With the feet tucked below a hot curtain of sand, and the head protected under a shallow shade - cast by the nearby rocks, I'm waiting for Andra to come out of the water.

The Olympos village (Turkey) is not exactly what we expected, but it's still a good place to relax - especially now when we're getting closer to the end of our Middle Eastern pilgrimage.
The village itself is placed in a small valley surrounded by mountains, while the sea washes the shores approximately 1 kilometer away from our hotel. A tree house hotel that packs a lot of Turkish and international tourists. So many that there's a long line advancing slowly towards the people serving us dinner in the evenings.
There is one small inconvenience to this place: the showers with fluctuating water temperature; they seem to be a problem in all huts, not just ours.
However, in my case, 6 years in a university campus have thought me to anticipate the change of temperature and avoid being frozen or burned by the moody water jet. Also, I've learned to make rapid changes, so that the water stays constant for longer periods of time.
I've tried to come up with some instructions for Andra, only to discover that it's just instinct and reflex, no universal formula. There are some guidelines though:
- don't open the water flow to maximum - it gets more vulnerable to pressure drops caused by other people using the showers or toilets; it also limits your control options.
- millimeter rotations can induce the desired effect, so refrain yourself from making major adjustments (the slowly growing anger can easily influence the hand).
hmm, my mind is playing with words again: "the most minute changes induced in a system, can cause an imbalance or the desired effect. We rarely need drastic decisions in our quest for achieving a certain purpose. Just aim for the snowball effect, instead of a system that needs constant tweaking".
I have no idea if I read something like this somewhere, or it's an ad hoc personal creation.

Back to using the showers, it's a small sadistic pleasure hearing Andra fighting with the hidden enemy that plays with the water pressure. And the sounds she makes... we joked about that she's feeding the imagination of our neighbors from the other side of the thin wooden wall.


The shade is my enemy and my friend..here on the beach, while I fight a sore throat and a bit of a cold that threatens to morph into something worse.
I'm trying to find that "happy place", but it's not always working ...writing keeps me busy for a while.
When everything will fail, I'll put my hopes in the can of beer that is slowly getting warmer in the sand; the alcohol will numb the senses for a while and help me enjoy the scenery.

I move forward with the towel, to catch up the advancing shade. I plan to tuck the feet again under the hot sand, close the notebook's lid and deeply inhale the sea breeze ..through an insensitive nose.. maybe I'll feel something in the end.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

In a Turkish hospital..

"It's not a matter of IF, it's a matter of WHEN!"
I've heard this saying a lot, when documenting about Middle East and stomach problems or food intoxication.
I didn't expect it to hit me so hard.. and in Turkey. I would have bet on any of the other countries, especially Egypt.
Long story short, in the picture above it's me in a Turkish hospital, with an annoyingly long needle in my vein and two packs of ice under my arms - to keep the high temperature in check.
Before I got to the hospital it was horrible: powerful nausea, upset stomach, high temperature and really cold feeling in the same time, moments when I felt that I was about to pass out..

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Catching up..

We're a bit behind with the stories, mostly because we didn't have constant access to the internet for the past week, and also because there was a fast turn of events.
The crossing of Jordan was partially covered in a previous post. So, I'll just add a few details and then move forward as fast as possible, without omitting essential stuff.

Swimming in the Dead Sea.
One of the weirdest experiences we've had in this pilgrimage: effortless floating in the crazy salted water.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


The day we saw Petra will stay with me for the rest of my life, just like other memories from the Middle East: first time in a mosque, at the pyramids, in Karnak temple, in a hot-air balloon over Luxor..
However, this experience was different than all the other ones. So, I'll do my best to take you there with me, while reliving this particular memory.

We woke up in our first day in Wadi Musa, without having any idea about what lied ahead.
Zachary and Hillary whom we've recently met, joined us for breakfast and some small talk, the kind you have in the morning when the sleep still lingers on your eye lashes.
The hotel provided us with a free ride to the Petra entrance, so around 9:00 o'clock in the morning we were already buying our tickets - which included a horse ride for the first 800 meters. We slipped into the saddle and enjoyed the ride. Nice experience.. it brought back some long forgotten memories from my childhood, when I used to ride the neighbors' horses ..without them knowing.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Jordan came not a moment too soon after the hectic Egypt, and it was a most welcomed change for us.

While still in Egypt, when waiting in line for the ferry tickets (from Nuweiba to Aquaba), we met a nice couple from US. Since we discovered that we all have exactly the same route for the next two days, we decided to stick together.
So, from two, we were four people in just a couple of hours after leaving Dahab. It was especially great as we didn't have to wait one night in Aquaba to catch the morning bus to Wadi Musa (Petra); now we could instead share a "service taxi" for the two and a half hours trip directly to Petra.

Saturday, June 19, 2010


Dahab marked our last stay in Egypt and it was a great place to relax before leaving this country.

We enjoyed traveling to Dahab with some of the people we've met in Luxor, although the 16 hours bus drive wasn't the most pleasant one we've had so far..

One special thing that we did in this city, was snorkeling in the blue whole - from the blue lagoon: for the 1st time, we saw coral reefs and a lot of marine fauna, more than we've ever seen gathered in one place.
We were awe-struck for the first 20 minutes spent eyes down in the water. We didn't even care about the abyss below us (I think there were 50 or 70 meters until the sea bed) and also we didn't feel the time passing by.
I couldn't resist the temptation to swim through or with banks of colored fish, so I did a bit of free diving as well; not to deep since my ears hurt like hell after a few meters.
Long story short, we were so mesmerized this time, that the next time we'll surely apply for a diving permit (around 185 euros and 3 days training).

Equaly special was to eat together at a very nice restaurant, called Nemo. Being low season, the manager offered 30% discount, free starters, appetizer and salads, free shisha and ice-cream - at the end of the meal. The staf was super friendly, the location was perfect (2 meters from the water), nice illumination and fitting music. Oh, and wi-fi :)

It felt just like a dream coming true: spending time on the seashore, surrounded by great people, good food (vegetarian, by the way), pleasant music and having internet connection at your disposal :)

What more could we ask from Dahab?
Well, maybe some sand on the beach, since it was entirely rocky. But this can definetly be excused, taking into account all that it offered us.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Making new friends & acquaintances

One of the best thing about traveling is being able to meet interesting people almost every day, each with an interesting, funny or sometimes even a sad story to tell.
At the end of this trip, we hope to have a nice list with acquaintances and some good friends as well.

Here are some of the people we've met so far:
- Ercan and Ebru in Istanbul, whom we've already mentioned before.
They're one of the most welcoming couchsurfers we've met until now and we enjoyed every minute spent with them. Can't wait to surf their couch again and feed those funny turtles they have :)

- Jenna and Chris in Cairo.
Jenna was our host, while Chris joined us all for a nice dinner and some story sharing in our 1st night in Egypt. We owe Jenna a tour in Bucharest since she kindly offered herself as a guide in Cairo (probably the best one we had in Egypt!).

- Rebbeka, our second host in Cairo. She had a farewell party going on in the first day we arrived at her place, so, thanks to that, we met a lot of interesting German teachers living in Cairo.
Rebeka's place was like an oasis in the busy and noisy Cairo. Being placed behind the secret police office definitely helped a lot :).

- Julian, Paola and their friends, all from Columbia, funny and easy going people whom we've met on the train from Cairo to Aswan.

- Aswan: Bianca and Joost, brave couple from Holland, doing a trip through Middle East, by car, on the way to South Africa.

- In Luxor and Dahab: Tom and Alanna from Ireland; Freya from India - living in US and working at Microsoft; Hanna from US, Kim from South Korea; two guys from Taiwan (with impossible names :D); Paulo from Argentina; a couple from Japan and another nice couple from Argentina (unfortunately we can't remember their names right now, shame on us :|).

Here are some pictures with most of them:

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Karnak Temple & light show..

Spread on two square kilometers, the Karnak temple is truly impressive, and after seeing it, the neighboring Luxor temple seemed lilliputian in comparison.

For the first time we hired a guide ourselves, just for the two of us, and it was well worth the 35 pounds paid (vs. the 80 pounds, initially asked by the guide).
The guided tour lasted for an hour, plus another 45 minutes on our own, mostly for taking photos. The information received from the guide was vital for understanding the basics about most things that surrounded us.
Sightseeing without a well written or well documented guide, is a huge mistake, one that we previously learned not to repeat :)

Beside the interesting architecture, the amount of stories and meaning behind every painting or written cartouche, is simply astonishing. It can easily be said that the Egyptians had a lot of imagination.

On the way out, we discovered two dark rooms with a small opening in the ceiling, which allowed light to generously flow in. We took some nice photos while playing a bit with the light effects.

In the air..

Wake-up call at 4:30 am; this was the hardest part :). After that, everything went smooth: car from the hotel to a boat, we signed the papers for acknowledging the dangers involved in flying with such a contraption (no responsibilities for the company - after having our signatures), then crossed the Nile, went again in small cars that transported us at the edge of the city - were the hot-air balloons were waiting for us.

Before arriving at the field, we got a glimpse from the distance and saw the balloons being fed with hot air. It looked like we had a plantation of huge mushrooms in front of us, some ripe, other still growing.

Seeing those things from 10 meters, was a totally different perspective: "colossal" was the first word that came into our minds.
Well, maybe it was "huge" :), but let's use "colossal" instead, since it seems more fit.

After simulating the landing procedures for a couple of times, we begun climbing.
What a smooth takeoff.. didn't feel that much different than in a good elevator, maybe even smoother.
I'm not usually afraid of heights, but I'm not that happy with them either. However, it was interesting that I didn't feel anything this time; it actually felt pleasant from the start, and it slowly turned into a breathtaking experience. I shared with Andra my idea about having some seats placed on the outside, for a truly crazy experience :)

From above, we saw the whole city, Luxor, Karnak and a queen's temple (Hatshepsut). But probably the nicest thing was the sunrise, for which, unfortunately, I have no pictures that could do it justice.

Next... skydiving :)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Valley of the Kings

This trip outside Luxor was 210 Egyptian pounds each ~ approximately 35 euros, and it included a guide, a driver and a small bus - with good air-conditioning - essential against the 35-40 degrees felt in the desert.
In this particular case, the heat was not the only issue to take into account, but also the amount of light that forced us to keep the eyes half closed - when not wearing sun glasses.

Our guide was a young Egyptian woman, who is planning to spend the honeymoon in Romania, thanks to some old Romanian friends she has. What a coincidence.. maybe we'll meet again in august when she comes to Bucharest.

The trip itself felt a bit dry, half because of the constant need of water to compensate for the losses, and the other half because the three tombs we visited - were obviously empty.
The old drawings and the stories compensated for the most part though.

Andra just interrupted to tell me that the mountains seen through the window, look like a box of icecream from which someone took a few bites. Nice comparison... Maybe I'll ask her to continue this post since I currently lack the creativity :)

Back to the Valley of the Kings: I saw in a forum post, a reply saying something like "if you don't visit this place, you should have your passport revoked"..
I'll say that for the tombs we saw, it wasn't that impressive and mandatory.
It was definitely worth it for the history, but hardly anything to see inside, no photos allowed and amazingly hot & suffocating in the tombs - making the outside temperature feel like a breeze (it's curious how we rapidly change the perspective on things - even about the scorching desert heat).

The valley itself was interesting too - with its configuration and many tombs, but with a commercial feel as well, mainly because of the new things build around the tombs, and the touts that crossed the mountain into the valley - to avoid being catch by police.

It's probably best to visit the valley in a colder season, so that you can enjoy everything without being chased away by the high temperatures from the summer time.

Luxor city.

Upon arrival in Luxor's train station, we were preparing for the worst possible experience with the touts.
Luxor is famous for the many touts that constantly wait in the station for some fresh tourist meat, just to throw on you their products; "cousin's hotels - with cheap prices"; misdirections - so that you end up in another hotel which pays them a commission (that is actually charged to your bill); and other sorts of scams (or "legit" business).
Some of them actually try to help you in any way, hoping to receive a good baksheesh.

To our surprise, we had just two people trying to sell us stuff, and one youngster that didn't succeed in sending us in the wrong direction. We ignored him, asked for proper directions from an ambulance driver and managed to find the hotel - which was surprisingly cheap: 60 Egyptian pounds ~ 9 euros per room. The price included good air conditioning, a modest breakfast, internet and sunset tea on the rooftop.
Also, we had a nice staff that didn't try to sell us tours or directly ask for any tips.

In the roof garden, we met some really nice people that have the same route as us, for Dahab and Jordan. We're actually all together right now - in the bus that goes to Dahab.
"Shisha" and good conversations were part of the menu, at every sunset.
For the shisha, me and Andra tried the apple one (yes, Andra too :D). After the first intakes, we asked the guy about what's inside exactly; he instantly answered: "hasis" :)) with quite a serious face - that he managed to keep just for 3 seconds.
It was actually just apple, but we did meet one local that was quite high from hasis, and he was saying that really loud, with a policemen in less than 10 meters ...and a half a razor blade in his mouth (we only saw it when it accidentally fell from his mouth while talking).

Anyway, back to Luxor: this city was our gate to: Valley of the Kings, Karnak temple (impressive!) and a one hour flight with a hot-air ballon. A separate short post for each one will follow.

Let's end this one with some quick facts about Luxor city:
- generally less pleasant than Aswan, because of the narrow streets and high amounts of trash everywhere (not as much as in Cairo though);
- as hot as Aswan, with around 40 degrees in the afternoon.
- many street-side vendors with special prices for tourists, not open for bargaining. We had at least three annoying moments when some Egyptians bought high amounts of foods for a few Egyptian pounds, while we were asked to pay the same amount of money - for just one small piece (overall, between 10 to 15 times the price for the locals).
- nice Nile view;
- cheaper than Aswan for accommodation;
- interesting sights in & around the city;
- similar or even less touts than in Aswan;
- nice bazaar with funny vendors. I actually enjoyed talking to them, negotiating or refusing in a funny manner, making jokes with some while dodging others.

Bottom line, Luxor is a must see if you plan to visit Egypt.
For us, seeing it once will be enough for a really long time..

Monday, June 14, 2010

Desert mirage...wow!

On the way back from Abu Simbel we saw our first desert mirage, and it was a strong one.
For us it was simply unbelievable: at the right angle, an entire patch of desert on the horizon line, turned into a reflective surface with watery like appearances.

Because the desert had many rocky structures scattered all over the place, the mirage made them look like small islands coming out of water.
It was so convincing that at first, I wanted to ask the driver if we have the Nile river on the horizon; but the angle changed a bit and it was clear to us that it was just an illusion.

When the illusion's intensity started fading away, I couldn't stop thinking about other sorts of illusions we experience every day:
- commercials that try to make us buy brands, not necessarily good products;
- political campaigns that rely on carefully chosen words, with little substance;
- fashion, with it's seasoned colors/clothes; trying to make us buy new stuff just because there's a new trend out there (a trend that doesn't exist in reality, but will soon exist after they choose & announce it);
- a path that the society imposes to us, with it's guidelines, liberties and restrictions (do this and that, but you're not allowed to do that... Soo transitory, place related and ..maybe.. useless);
- mass-media with it's way of exaggerating and emphasizing on certain things, just to score more readers count;
- religion, when it is misunderstood or misused and we get: fanatics, hidden & selfish purposes, meaningless rules & restrictions; (maybe I'll post more on religion, in a separate post - since recently I found out some new interesting things)

Anyway, I think we're getting smarter and we're not falling for the same old tricks.
Just watch out for the mirages, enjoy looking at them, learn from them, but don't start chasing any illusion - like a desperately thirsty Bedouin, tricked into meeting his fate.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Aswan city.

Aswan was good to us.
Above you can see the Nile view we had from the hotel's roof garden. It was pretty breathtaking the first time.

The city is a lot different than other places in Egypt (like Cairo and Luxor): it's not crowded, less hassle from the locals... a quiet place where we could relax after the busy Cairo. We even made some new acquaintances while staying here: a couple from Japan, a guy from Argentina and a really nice couple from Holland - doing a trip to South Africa.
The trip to Abu Simbel was totally worth it, even though we had to get up at 3am and leave with the military convoy.

Time is short today, so we'll take care of the luggage and just let you enjoy some of the photos we took:

Abu Simbel & Philae temples:


Friday, June 11, 2010

Aswan - update.

We arrived safely in Aswan, one of the southest touristic spots in Egypt.

There should be a funny sign here, something like: "Welcome to Hell - here you have the chance to slowly roast at 40 degrees Celsius" :)
It's hot and impossible to stay outside between 1:00 - 17:30..
(update: the locals are funny, they often say: "welcome to Alaska" :), so no need for any special sign)

We were lucky enough to find a budget hotel with air conditioning, wi-fi and a roof garden with a nice Nile view and a small pool.
More about Aswan tomorrow. Right now we just wanted to let everyone know that tomorrow we'll be traveling to Abu Simbel - 3 hours through the desert - accompanied by military convoy :|

So, wish us luck in returning safely. OR, if you have some old grudge with either of us, now is your time to pray to Allah so that he will send Bedouins to kidnap us :)
Ovidiu, do you need me to give you the direction of Mecca? :p

Train to Aswan.

In our 4th day in Cairo, we took the 13 hours train to Aswan, where we'll be staying for two days, and then move to the neighboring Luxor.

Since we knew one or two things about Egyptian trains, we booked the 1st class, which is more like a 2nd or 3rd class in Romanian trains. No kidding :)
It was ok though, we met a few other travelers like us, talked with them for a couple of hours and then slept most of the way.
Actually Andra slept more (after finishing documenting about Aswan and Luxor); I chose to write the Cairo post and this one, and also tried to take some photos. It's hard to take any quality photos through very dirty windows though.

Other than these small inconveniences, the train ride provided some insights into the rural side of the country, with its lush lands along the Nile.

Wow, I stopped for 10 seconds for some inspiration :) and saw the first camels during this ride, also people working the land, some white birds on the ground (maybe egrets), now donkeys and cows (they look like cows.. but not entirely).

One more sip from the Guava juice and back to scouting the horizons.
hmm..I don't believe I told you about the Guava juice in the previous post. Our 1st host Jenna, introduced it to us. It's simple: it smells awful, but it has an amazingly good taste :D, very different from what I've had so far. The trick is not to smell it when drinking :).
Andra is not crazy about it, I am at my third box already.

Back to train sightings: poor areas almost everywhere.
The villages look unfinished; small, isolated communities with half built houses; the people in rather dirty clothing, and only a handful of them. Many cities/villages look almost deserted, with little activity at this hour (7:30 in the morning).
We were wondering how it was possible for a civilization with such an impressive heritage, to remain behind so much. These people's ancestors build the pyramids, way before other countries were even born. Now they're building new stuff with outside help: "from the people of Japan" is written on the metro cars. A new museum is to be built soon with help from Germany (the entire Egyptian museum is supposed to move in the new location).
I don't know enough history and politics to come up with an answer and I actually have no idea about what kept these people behind.
Please don't say "Google it", as we don't have internet and will not have it for a while. It's a luxury right now.. (obviously, if you read this post we have already solved the internet problem, at least temporary).

Hopefully we'll be able to write more from Luxor. Until then, I'm curios what lies ahead and what new stories we'll be able to share with you later.

Cairo city.

Well, well, well, I'll try not to complain... too much :)

Cairo is CRAZY! Yes, you saw it right: CAPS and exclamation mark, because it can be that different (not necessarily in the good way); but it also has it's positive aspects as well.
We'll start with the negative ones, so that we can conclude on a positive note.

We've been warned about the "touts", the people trying to talk you into buying something from them, but we had no idea it can be that intensive. They search for you, they follow you (even for hundreds of meters), they constantly try to make you talk to them so that they can relate to something ("Romania great country", "Bucharest number one" and so on).
But that's nothing.. The problem is that most people here hope to gain something from you: "baksheesh" (the word sounds familiar, right?).
If you stop someone and ask for information, he might expect a few Egyptian pounds for the effort, or he will invite you to his shop to buy something, or he has a souvenir that you can buy from him - on the spot, or ...he knows the Pyramid's entrance and some Bedouins that can give you good prices for camel rides.
Ok, we fell for the last one, mostly because we had no idea where we were supposed to go.. and this "nice" old guy helped us with directions and in catching the right bus (this one is a lot harder than it sounds: in Cairo, most buses have no numbers/direction in English, and the route is yelled constantly by one guy sitting on the stairs, half-way out the bus).
Anyway, it was the second and the last time we decided to trust "friendly" locals, without double or triple checking the information.

Back to Cairo being a crazy city: imagine almost the entire population of Romania in one crowded, dirty, polluted, badly maintained city - with tourism as the main way of earning a living. I know it sounds harsh, but nothing here is exaggerated.
You, as a tourist, are a "walking euro coin" - as some friends put it.
Hospitality is almost non-existent. It can be bought though and it only comes after paying, ..before is just hassle.

Some other things that amazed us from the very first day:
- all the drivers use the horn as a second nature, especially the taxi drivers that use it every time they see you on the sidewalk, just to let you know they are there in case you need them. Also, they slow down, get near the sidewalk and ask if you need a taxi (50% of the time).

- people here stare at women all the time. I even got the customary "lucky man..lucky man" when seen together with Andra.

- almost the entire city looks like some of the worst districts in Bucharest: really dirty, with old badly maintained buildings. It's actually hard to find a safe-haven and the only one we found was at the Opera house. Also, me and Andra were the only ones looking (for 10 minutes or more) for a garbage disposal of any kind.. the other people just threw stuff everywhere.

- there are no new or nice looking cars, all of them look like they've been through many accidents and the fixing was done with the hammer. Also, most cars on the roads resemble the old Dacia model - and they look very very old.
We even witnessed an incident with an old car that was just driving normally and one wheel suddenly snapped and almost broke off from the car.

- most tourist attractions don't have direction signs on the roads. Also, in many cases we stopped and wondered if we were in the right place, since the area looked so bad or isolated.
You would expect that for the major attractions there's an infrastructure in place. Wrong. Even for the Pyramids, you have to take the metro and then walk for 25 minutes, or take a local bus that leaves you in front of a small street that has nothing special, not even asphalt in some areas.

There are other small things that could be mentioned here, but it's time to get to positive aspects :)

The culture is amazing and it's really interesting to learn about things directly on the spot. Especially as we learned: with examples and stories that our host Jenna was so kind to share with us.

The pyramids are impressive. Too bad that half the time spent there was lost with touts that constantly tried to sell something, from small souvenirs to horse or camel rides.
Even the policemen tried to earn a few Egyptian pounds by showing the best spot for a cliche picture with the sphinx (kissing, hugging, holding it etc).
Darn, I'm back to less pleasant facts, ..but that's Cairo: every positive aspect also has a negative side.

The Egyptian museum has a lot of impressive pieces inside. You can stay for a full day if you want to see everything. Now, I must mention that I wasn't that impressed because many expos did not have a description, so you looked but didn't learn/understand anything. Also, taking photos is not allowed, or you have to pay a lot of money for it (more than the price of the ticket - which was 10 euros). And a last thing: sadly the glass casings are full of fingerprints and some grease, probably because cleaners don't do their job or the museum authorities don't care that much about this aspect.
We found a funny description of the museum, in a guide, which seemed really fit: probably the most impressive collection in the world, gathered under the worst roof.

Food prices were quite normal for us, not expensive nor too cheap. You can try traditional food everywhere. But yes, there's a negative aspect here as well: many places don't look that clean and we had doubts about the safety factor in trying foods from such places. It was quite hard in finding a place that inspired thrust, where flies can not stay on the food, or where the food did not look like it was out in the sun for too many days.
It's a bit more expensive, but safer to eat inside restaurants.

To conclude this post:
In a nutshell, if you wish to see only the nice things in Egypt and fully relax for the entire period, then a complete tour booked through a travel agency can provide just that: hotel, nice resort, sightseeing, no hassling with touts, bus from and to each attraction - with not too much time spent in the dirty city..
The problem is that this is not Egypt.
If you wish to have the "full Egypt experience" then brace yourself for some tough, but interesting moments.

More photos here: http://picasaweb.google.com/IonRazvanCiuca/Cairo?feat=directlink