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Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Day 5: Aswan - Cairo

It was our last day on the cruise. On the way to airport, we visited the quarry and the dam before flying to Cairo.

Granite Quarry - The Unfinished Obelisk

The unfinished obelisk was made from one block of granite measuring 42m in length and weighed over 1000 tonnes. If it was not cracked, it should be the largest obelisk ever made. The crack made it possible for the experts to learn how the obelisk was made and transported it to the temples in Luxor.

High Dam
In the olden days, Egypt experienced annual flood from the Nile until the Old Dam was erected. But it was insufficient, so the second dam (High Dam) was built with the help from Soviet Union.

Lake Nasser - the third largest reservoir in the world.

Egyptian - Soviet Union friendship monument

Aswan Airport

Took EgyptAir from Aswan to Cairo.

Cairo Airport

Current airport

New airport

From the airport, the city looked quite well maintained. There are a lot of new buildings, big bungalows, and country clubs. But as we got nearer to the inner city, it was a different story altogether. We saw a lot of old buildings with dirty facade and rubbish piles everywhere. The traffic jam was quite bad too.

Very bad traffic jam

A lot of run down buildings

Cairo metro. Rubbish pile everywhere


Lunch at Hard Rock Cafe

Along the Nile river

Cairo Tower on the left.

A lot of famous hotels along the river.

Egyptian Museum
When we arrived, there were some black Mercedes Benz with Singapore flag parked in front of the museum. Then our tour guide said that President Nathan is in Cairo now. And it's true, he came out from the museum and got into the car. All of us were so excited and waiting for the cars to pass by. We were waving furiously and and someone even took out her Singapore passport and waved hehehe... The President waved back and we also saw some ministers in the other cars.

Photo taking is not allowed inside the museum, but the statues are amazing. They are quite well maintained than those at the temples. They don't look 3000 years old. The best part of the museum is the Tutankhamun's treasures. The sarcophagus, coffins, statues, jewelleries and his personal belongings are displayed. The most valuable item is his death mask made from 11 kg of gold.

The Royal Mummies section was closed. But we could still see some mummies outside this section, including animal mummies (dogs, crocodiles, birds, fish, etc).

Sofitel Le Sphinx Hotel
It is located in Giza area where the Pyramids are. A very nice resort style hotel.

A patio leading to the garden.

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