After 9 months of preparations, we have arrived at the starting line.`New bikes, updated gear (none the 4 tents we already had met the requirements), visas (2 trips to Ottawa to meet the all important gatekeepers of The Sudan and Ethiopia), vaccinations, insurance, exercise, packing, more vaccinations, repacking, 2nd guessing everything and on and on have come to an end. This adventure is about to get real, inshAllah.
We have 3 days to acclimatize here in Cairo. We gained entrance to our modern hotel in the Giza district after our airport transfer van was cleared by police sniffer dogs and our luggage and persons passed through airport style scanners. A taxi driver today explained that the AK-47’s seen everywhere here are the outcome of the “accident” in 2001 – the one with the planes – and that all of this is to make tourists feel more secure. They do anything but, instead serving as a constant reminder of the dangers lurking here according to Canada’s own travel advisory website and just about everyone else.
1st order of business in this city was to visit the Pyramids of Giza. My (Gerry’s) father had photographed them many years ago and I recall showing the 2 1/2 inch slides with an old style projector as a grade 8 geography project (every 2nd one inverted because they had to be inserted one at a time, upside down and backwards and I was a nervous one). I had been so impressed with these images of antiquity that when Miss Kajaks asked for background on the monuments on the screen I had little to add as it seemed to me that they spoke for themselves!
Having now visited the pyramid complex on our own – the Great Pyramid of Khufu together with those of his son and grandson, kept safe under the watchful gaze of the mighty Sphinx – and reflecting that these wondrous feats of architecture were imagined and realized while the rest of the world was hunting wild beasts and sheltering in caves, I would say that I am as much in awe as my earlier self.
The 1st official orientation meeting for tour participants was this morning at 9:00 AM. We awoke at the stroke of 10:00 and were the butts of the 1st communal jokes as we sauntered in late. A repeat performance on a riding day would mean that we would miss the luggage truck departure deadline and would each have to carry our 70 pounds or so of camping and daily kit on our bikes!
Time to get serious. Sleep. Thanks for following. Next news from the road.
السلام عليكم – “السلام عليكم” (Peace be upon you).