We moved to Abu Dhabi to save money and to travel. Before we got here we created a list of all the places we wanted to go. Since we've been here we've added to our list not only because we got a scratch off map, where you scratch off the places you visit, but because we've been intrigued by the world around us because we've lived in a box called America for so long. For the last week or so we have been talking about going out of town to see more of Abu Dhabi. In our conversation, the list of places we wanted to visit came up in conversation. I knew Mike really wanted to go to Egypt so I suggested we go there for a weekend getaway. After careful planning, I was able to create an affordable trip for us. (When I leave education I should definitely be a travel planner!)
WE SPENT OUR THANKSGIVING IN EGYPT!!!!!!
Note: If you plan on visiting Egypt, in this post I am going to share some advice that you'll definitely want.
I absolutely love Abu Dhabi. The buildings still amaze me! I took this on the way to the airport. This is the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. We toured it and it was so beautiful inside too!
Once we got to the airport we decided to get something to eat. (We forgot that Etihad Airways always has an inflight meal.) After we ate we exchanged currency so we could use Egyptian Dollars and then we were on our way to the plane. As soon as we were walking up to the gate, they were doing a final call for boarding so we had to do a little fast walking. We got to the gate and we directed to get on a bus that took us directly to our plane. We were on the plane and soon we were on our way!
We got on the plane and navigated ourselves to baggage. One thing I didn't know was we had to purchase a tourist VISA. VISAs are 25USD and can only be paid with cash. NO credit or debit. I would suggest purchasing one in advance. Ours was purchased for us by our hotel representative. Once we got our bags we were met by our tour guide. Yes, we had our own personal tour guide and I would STRONGLY suggest a tour guide for anyone who is not Egyptian. If we did not have a tour guide it would have been so hard for us to navigate on our own. We all introduced ourselves and we were off to our first adventure.
A buffet dinner cruise on the Nile. Yes, the actual Nile River! This is where we were introduced to Egyptian driving. So, you know when you are driving you stay in your own lane. Like if there are 3 lanes then there can only be 3 cars side by side at a time. Well, in Egypt, the lines are for decoration. On our way to the Nile River Cruise I counted 7 cars across on a 3 lane highway!
I had to look down for the remainder of the ride. Everyone was using their horns as if they were in a band. This is something you will have to see for yourself. Once we got to the cruise ship we had a small wait because we were early which I appreciated.
We realized our tour guide was THE MAN because we skipped the line and went right to our table. We had a window view of the Nile and we were right by the area for entertainment. There was a band, belly dancers, and tanoura dancers. One of the experiences that I will forever take with me was:
*Standing in line for the toilet with about 10-12 Indian women in front of me.*
Them: Keep turning around to look at me.
Me: Looking at them look at me.
Indian lady: Do you speak English?
Indian Lady: Where are you from?
Me: US - America
Them: Speaking Hindi and looking shocked
Indian Lady: Did you buy your hair from the beauty parlor?
Me: 👀😕😒😮 No, this is mine.
Indian lady: *Speaking louder* No, did you buy it at the beauty parlor?
Me: *Grabs hair* No, I grew this. It's mine.
Them: Speaking Hindi and looking at my hair
Indian Lady: How you get it like that?
Me: Twisting it.
Indian Lady: Ohhhh twist, so from beauty parlor?
Me: No. It's mine. I twist.
Indian Lady: Huh?
Once it was my turn to use the bathroom, finally...I saw that they were throwing their tissue on the floor! ON THE FLOOR!! I hurried up and ran out after washing my hands which many of them didn't! #SMH
I hurried up and left out of there and ran back to the table and shared my experience with Mike. Because of my long wait, the entertainment had already begun.
One thing that is great about traveling is seeing all of the different cultures. During dinner a pianist was playing music from his phone with his Aux cord to a speaker. Some men took his Aux cord plugged up their phone and played their own music so they could dance. Below is what transpired afterwards.
After the cruise, Mina, our tour guide took us back to our hotel and told us to meet him in the lobby at 9:30am. When we got to our room we were greeted by this message on the TV and one of was quite happy.
We checked in on Thursday, November 23 which is Thanksgiving. So we decided to have a small celebratory dinner.
This is the view from our room!
We woke up and we were still so pleased and happy with our view.
First on our agenda was breakfast and then Mina was going to whisk us away for an all day tour of Cairo, Egypt! Our first stop was to Giza to see the pyramids. Here is where a tour guide came in handy. He told us people would be trying to sell us things that could potentially be made in China and if we were interested in authentic Egypt souvenirs he would take us to a few places. He said it's best to not make eye contact and don't even respond. As soon as he parked the car and got out the human mosquitoes were on us asking us if we wanted to buy books, scarves, etc. We made no eye contact and kept our eyes on Mina. It wasn't rude. It was just so no conversation would spark! Mina gave us so much information about the pyramids and Mike was soaking it all up like a sponge. A few times Mina told him he must be Egyptian because he knew so much about Egypt's history
A short drive from the Giza Pyramids was the Sphinx. We had to jump out of the car quickly to get photos of the Sphinx because there was no parking and the best place for photos was on the side of it.
Once we left the Sphinx we stopped at a place that sells Papyrus. Papyrus is the oldest paper in the world. We were shown how they make it and we bought some art pieces. The people were very nice and very knowledgeable. I can't wait to hang our art in our home here in Abu Dhabi.
Seeing the pyramids on History Channel and Nat Geo is one thing but seeing them in person is something else. We stood in amazement at the base of the pyramids. The pyramids weren't built with any modern day technology. They were built by hand! AMAZING!
I know you've heard of Egyptian cotton. Well, that's real! We went to a place that sold 100% Egyptian cotton. The clothes and fabric was so soft. I was hoping they sold fabric so I could get some and make me a skirt when we go to the US but they didn't sell the fabric. I got a few abaya like pieces to wear to work and we got souvenirs for some our family members.
After the Egyptian Cotton store we went to the Step Pyramids which are the oldest pyramids. They look like it because they are currently being restored. They must be restored manually because a drill would make the pyramids collapse.
Next on our tour was to get cartouches made. Mina took us to a place and they had so many options. We made our choices and they made them in their shop next door. They allowed us to see where they were made which was cool. We got our names written in hieroglyphics and then we were on our way.
Our last and final stop was for Egyptian oils because that is something created by the Egyptians. I did not want or need any oils but we wanted to hear what she was going to tell us about oils and their affect on our bodies. We ended up getting some oils/cologne for Mike and then we were headed back to our hotel.
If you plan on visiting Egypt the people need money to help their economy but don't feel bad about saying No. They are very persistent because they have to be, but stand your ground and mind your budget. They will try to sweeten the deal but hold fast to your answer.
Once back at the hotel we grabbed dinner and we were fast asleep.
We had been out and about all day so we were tired.
Our wake up time for the next day was 7:30am. We both were ready to tell Mina we don't have to do anything but we did want to make the best of our trip so we went. The sunrise made us appreciate the early wake up call.
Our first stop was the Egyptian Museum which is where many of the King Tut artifacts are. When I was younger I was a true fan of King Tut and Queen Nerfititi so I was so happy to hear his artifacts were here. Since we had to be at the airport around 12-1pm we got the fast version of the tour. The museum opened at 9am and again Mina was the man so we skipped the line and we were the first 2 in the museum! In addition to a regular ticket, if you wanted to take pictures inside you had to purchase an extra ticket. We purchased the extra ticket and took so many pictures. You can see some of them below.
Our last and final stops were to the Hanging Church, the Oldest Church, and Jewish Synagogue. The Hanging Church is literally hanging. There is no foundation and we were able to see that. (We weren't allowed to take pictures in this church.)
The Oldest Church in Egypt is significant because in this church there is a room for the Holy Family for when they escaped Israel. It is said that Jesus Christ himself walked and slept on the same floor. Talk about humbling! Bring on the tears!
After seeing all of the places of worship we were back to our hotel to catch the shuttle to the airport. After this trip we appreciated our home of Abu Dhabi even more. There were no large beautiful sky scrapers. The streets were not clean. Some buildings looked unkept and I won't go on so you can see for yourself and form your own opinion. What I will say is you should definitely visit so you can see how others live. They perceive Americans to be rich so many people asked us for tips but when we told them no we had no money and that we lived in Abu Dhabi they were very confused.
I would visit Egypt again and I'd add Alexandra and Luxor to the list of places to see. If you plan on going, please use Mina as your tour guide. He is friendly and knowledgeable and when I return to Egypt I will definitely be asking him to be my tour guide again! Thanks, Mina! If you need Mina's info feel free to contact me and I'll pass it right to you!
I would also suggest visiting for more than a weekend. We just wanted a quick getaway.
Until next time...Be Kind to one Another and Be Uniquely You!
Hi! I'm Unique. Follow along with me as I try unique things and travel the world!