Friday, October 14, 2005

And another report from Himself...

And here is the next one so if you read this first you will be confused... go to the previous post and get the trip in chronological order or stay here and ........ Same rules apply about the italics...Next posting will be my adventures so far!!

Today, we stayed another day at this city by the sea, Marsa Matauh. Same nice sunshine and turquoise water. We headed to the bank this a.m. to exchange our remaining Libyan currancy. Bank wasn't open at 1000, so we waited under any shade that we could find. Once inside at 1035, TP & I pooled our Libyan notes and he stood in line for about 15 minutes only to be told that the National Bank of Egypt doesn't exchange Libyan currency! Now, what does that tell you about that international relationship? So, we went outside to wait for the other two to arrive, and a young Egyptian man approached us. He pointed to the Libyan currancy in Tony's hand and pulled out some Egyptian notes. We had 47 Lybyan Dinars and our rough calculation was that they were worth about 240 Egyptian Pounds. We agreed that we'd be happy, extatic actually, to retrieve 200 Egyptian Pounds, about $40.00 Can. The young man, who didn't appear to speak any English, too four 10 Dinar notes and offered 4 Egyptian 50 Pound notes. We looked at each other with surpressed glee. We took the Egyptian notes and gave him all the Libyan notes, being very happy to be rid of them! Our free-market currency exchange on the steps of the National Bank. Had another wonderful swim this afternoon. Cooler breeze today. We like Egypt, especially after spending 9 days in Libya. There are fewer cars here and the drivers are not nearly as insanely aggressive as in Libya. There is much less garbage and the buildings are better maintained and have more colour. We saw two street washing trucks this a.m., and grass being cut in a nearby park. I don't think we saw ANY grass in Libya. People are helpful as they were in both Libya and Tunisia. This is a tourist city and this far past the main season. We are the only ones in our medium-sized, very clean hotel ($30.00/night for a double room). The restaurant food is basic for westerners, but a reasonable meal of BBQ chicken for TP & me and vegetarian for Roy & Helena, last night, cost $10.00 total, and we were stuffed! Ramadan means that most of the shops are closed during the day and open late in the afternoon. Food sources are few in the day, but we have been surviving on the goodies found in small grocery and fruit shops. And, did mention that gasoline is about $0.25 Can / litre !! Tony is in Gasoline Heaven. Also, the internet connection is very good and I've mastered the key command to convert the keyboard from Arabic to English. Tomorrow we head South for about 3 to 4 hrs. to a small oasis, with, we read, dunes, lake(s) and palm trees. Likely an overnight camp in the desert. I expect that the landscape will be absolutely flat desert, as it has been since a very brief respite around Durna, in Libya. After that, we have to retrace the route back to here, and then head East towards Alexandria, stopping at the famous and significant WWII El Alamein battle ground. No doubt, much to look at there. Then to the Suez Canal, for a quick look, then to Cairo for the destination pyramids. Not enough time to go South to Luxor as I had hoped. Hope you all are well!

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