Our Family Blog

African House Hotel

July 22nd, 2008 | Posted by Davey in 01-Egypt - (1 Comments)

Following the incident with the taxi driver on the first night, we made it to the hotel we originally booked in downtown Cairo – it was a breath of fresh air.  The African House Hotel is situated on the 3rd floor of an 800 year old building, the first to be built in the downtown area, apparently.

It is so beautiful is is almost indescribable – the height of the ceilings, the rooms, the wooden floors, the temperature – everything about this place we absolutely love and to top it all off the staff couldn’t be more friendly. 

It is always a good sign to see other travellers staying and from all walks of life.  Most evenings we chill out in the communal area, discuss the days events, surf the internet and drink black tea, can it get any better!

I hope the pictures below give you a sense of just how beautiful this building is.  Needless to say, we will be staying here throughout our stay in Cairo.  The hotel costs £10 per night inc. breakfast for the two of us – bargain.

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July 22nd, 2008 | Posted by Davey in 01-Egypt - (5 Comments)

A quick post to say thank you to everybody who has been keeping an eye on our travel journey.  We have been somewhat amazed at the numbers visiting our site, we are averaging 60-70 hits a day, wow.

We would also like to say thank you to those who have been commenting, we love opening up our email and reading the comments – and it keeps us motivated – keep it up!

You will have to bear with us for a while, we have some posts written but are unable to upload them.  They may be too large in file size due to the photos or it may be the dodgy internet connection. we will keep trying.

The oldest trick in the book

July 20th, 2008 | Posted by Davey in 01-Egypt - (2 Comments)

I’m slightly embarrassed to admit it so early in our journey, but we’ve already been taken for a ride, literally.  Having lost track of the days in Sharm, we though we had one more day remaining, but in fact we were to check out that day at 12pm.  It was all hands to the deck to pack, organise accommodation in Cairo and buy tickets for the 7hr trip.

The drive itself wasn’t bad, apart from the driving which was was a little crazy, we met and chatted to some lovely people.  The fun stated when we arrived in Cairo at 12am.  The Egyptian population is approximately 80 million and 85% live in Cairo, so you can imagine the scene – it was manic, dark and a little scary.  We hailed a taxi and negotiated our fair to our pre-booked hotel (via the net), only to be told en route that our hotel recently had some trouble and that it had to close down  Not to worry, the driver knew a similar graded hotel at a great price.  Being tired and overwhelmed by it all we went along with it.  Several hotels later, which were all booked out, and having had a tour of the city in a clapped out Lada, we eventually got a room.  We ended up paying well over the odds for the taxi and hotel room.

We have since learned that this is one of the oldest tricks in the book for conning tourists, the taxi drivers work on a commission basis for guests they bring to a hotel, which tend to be pretty grotty.  It was the worst we’ve ever seen, to the point where we would not walk on the floors with bare feet and the decor was like a scene from ‘Life on Mars’.  We felt very uncomfortable and got very little sleep. 

We woke early, hastily packed and got the F out of there.  Not trusting the taxis, we worked out where we were on our guidebook map and walked our way to the hotel we should have stayed at.  Thankfully, it was exactly what we expected – clean, tidy and ever so helpful.  We plan on staying here for the rest of the week. 

Lesson learned.  More on Cairo later.

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Day at the beach

July 18th, 2008 | Posted by Davey in 01-Egypt - (3 Comments)

Keen to get a bit of colour before we head for Cairo on Sunday, we headed to the beach just a stones through away from our hotel room.  Being so busy planning and moving etc. for the last few weeks, it was lovely to sit, relax, read, take the odd dip and watch the world go by.

The hotel staff suggested not to sitting out in the midday sun.  Taking their advice, we got up at 7am and had breakfast at 8 and were on the beach for 9.  Back in our hotel now and plan to head out again at around 4 for few hours.  Sam is doing what she does best, sleeping!

So far so good.  The local staff here are fantastic, everything is relatively cheap, the weather is scorching but not unbearable once you get used to it, the Red Sea is to die for providing the many snorklers and divers (like us :-))  with an amazing underwater world right next to the beach.  We would highly recommend a holiday to the Red Sea, but somewhere a little quieter that Na’ama Bay, it is very busy. 

Tonight we are heading out for dinner with a Norwegian family we have become friendly with over the past few days, trots permitting.  Know locally as the Faro curse and a topic a great conversation here, we have not met anybody yet who has not had a bout.  Sam and I both have it at the minute as does the Norwegian couple.  The locals say its a result of not drinking enough water – my backside (pardon the pun) – we’ve drank enough water in the last 5 days than we have in the last 5 months.

Probably no more posts now until we head to Cairo, as there is not much more to report – over and out!

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Qualified Open Water Divers

July 17th, 2008 | Posted by Davey in 01-Egypt - (6 Comments)

We’ve done it – we are now qualified open water divers.  We had a few problems along the way, Sam had trouble removing, replacing and emptying her mask  and was very nervous about having to complete this at 15m.  I literally shat my my pants when when I looked at my gauge and it read 15m, then looked up and saw nothing but the abyss, got into a bit of a panic.  Nonetheless, we practiced over and over again and overcame our fears and were ready for our open water dives.

Our dives were at Fiddle Garden and Temple, two pretty standard and somewhat boring dives according to other divers we met in the dive club bar.  To us, they were a dream, the visibility was amazing, approximately 30m or so – you will see from the selection of photos below.

We set off at 8:40 and headed for ‘Hooligan’ our dive boat. When we descended, all the nerves drifted away, literally, it was breathtaking.  The photos don’t do it any justice – the colours and reefs were so beautiful. 

Many of the divers we met over the past few days have all said that Egypt is one of the best dive locations in the world and is why many have competed over 100 dives in the red sea alone. 

Now qualified, we can schedule a dive on any of Oonas’s five dive boats.  Having completed the course, we decided to have a day of rest and take it from there.  Its funny, we’ve been here four days and today was our first trip to the beach, apart from walk down with our scuba equipment. The touts were trying to sell us all sorts – being so white and thinking it was our first day :-)

All the photos will be uploaded here once we find a half decent Internet connection.  Just in case, Sam is wearing the pink fins :-)

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